Does Diamond Conduct Electricity? [5 Diamond FAQs Revealed]

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Why is diamond so hard? Why does diamond sparkle? Do diamonds conduct electricity? These are some of the questions people frequently ask about diamonds. There are lots of elements that occur deep beneath the earth due to extreme heat and pressure but diamonds stand out amongst them having one of the most unique sets of physical properties. Due to its uniqueness, a lot of people are curious about this element and as we all know, curiosity births questions. That’s why, in today’s blog post, I’ll be answering 5 FAQs about diamonds.

5 diamonds FAQs

1. Do diamonds conduct electricity?

Diamonds are very hard, they are much harder than metals. They are so hard that on the mohs scale, they have a rating of 10. Metals are hard, but diamonds are harder, so it’s not surprising that people would think that diamonds conduct electricity. So, do diamonds conduct electricity or not? The answer is no. Diamonds don’t conduct electricity even though they are good thermal conductors. The reason for that is, diamonds do not have any delocalized free electrons in the outermost shell of their carbon atom. For example, in the case of metals, metals have or contain free moving delocalized electrons and when an electric voltage is applied, it produces an electric field within the metal which in turn triggers the free delocalized electrons to move from one end of the conductor to another. That’s why metals are good electrical conductors and diamonds are not—it’s all because all their delocalized electrons are bonded covalently.

2. Can diamonds be doped to conduct electricity?

The straightforward answer is yes. Even though pure diamonds are good insulators rather than electrical conductors, they can actually be doped to conduct electricity. To do this, they’ll have to manipulate the physical properties of diamonds artificially. By adding an element like boron to the lattice of the diamonds at higher concentrations makes diamonds behave like metals and if you get diamonds to behave like metals, it simply means that they can now conduct electricity. 

But how is it possible? What does boron do to the diamond lattice? Since boron is not part of the natural makeup of diamond, it is considered an impurity. The boron impurities do the work of donating a hole in the valence shell and the hole donated allows current to flow easily.

The only naturally occurring diamond that conducts electricity is the blue diamond and the reason it’s able to do so is still because of the presence of boron impurities. The blue colour is also achieved or gotten from the boron impurities within the diamond.

3. What are diamond inclusions?

Inclusions on diamonds are tiny air bubbles, dots, or markings inside a diamond. Diamonds with smaller or fewer markings have more clarity than those with larger markings. 

It’s for that reason that when you go shopping for diamond bracelets or rings you’ll be told to look for the ones with fewer inclusions and if possible purchase one without inclusions. Although the possibility of obtaining one without inclusions are extremely rare.

4. What’s more important, a diamond’s size or quality?

This is a very tricky question and the answer to this question depends on who is purchasing the diamond and what they are purchasing it for. Before I go ahead to explain that, know that a diamond’s value is partly determined by its quality and partly determined by its size. 

If you are a diamond collector it’s obvious that quality would matter more to you and it doesn’t matter if it’s small or large, as long as it has the qualities you need or the qualities you are searching for they’ll be more important to you than a larger one without those qualities going for the same price.

On the other hand, if you want to buy a diamond gift for your spouse or someone dear to you, in that scenario, if you are given the option of choosing between a mid-quality diamond that’s big and a high-quality diamond that’s very small, it’ll be better to go for the mid-range quality diamond because no one would want to start checking the quality of the diamond when it’s given to them as a gift and secondly when it’s small and of high quality, they may not appreciate it (since they are diamond experts) and might even believe that you are a cheapskate. This goes to say even though the quality is very important, size is just as important as well. So when next you buy a diamond as a gift do well to properly weigh the quality against the size before buying one.

Do all diamonds sparkle?

The answer is no. Even though diamonds sparkle, not all diamonds sparkle and that doesn’t mean that they are fake either. The reason is that not all diamonds reflect light the same way and because of that reason, some may sparkle and others may not. 

The shape of the diamond also plays a major role in determining whether a diamond will sparkle or not.

  • Diamonds with round cuts sparkle the most.
  • Marquise, heart, princess, pear and oval cuts are the second most sparkly shapes.
  • Baguette, emerald, and cushion cuts do not sparkle rather they give off long flashes of light.