Diamonds are neither rare nor intrinsically valuable nor uniquely romantic. Those are ideas invented by the diamond industry. And no, of all the things the ads tell you, DIAMONDS ARE NOT FOREVER.
They are flammable and will burn brightly with a little help from a torch. This makes perfect sense when you consider that they are made of pure carbon, which reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide. Since diamonds, “reacts with oxygen” it is just another way of saying, “it burns”.
Yup, you can’t get a diamond burn under normal conditions, however, scientists aren’t limited to “just” normal conditions. And what’s less normal than burning a Nobel laureate’s engagement ring?
As you can see, it’s possible to get a diamond to burn by surrounding it with pure oxygen. this British Royal Institution experiment, scientist Peter Wothers shows that there is a pretty neat way to destroy diamond, and he plays a cool little prank on Nobel prize-winning chemist Sir Harry Kroto in the process.
In the set-up, Wothers recreates a pretty standard experiment for testing whether a material contains – carbon, which involves burning it in a chamber with pure oxygen. But he then adds an interesting twist, by collecting the gas that’s released in a tube and running it through limewater.
According to Science Alert, if the material being burnt contains carbon, the resulting smoke will contain carbon dioxide, and when this meets the limewater it’ll produce calcium carbonate and turn the whole thing milky white.
Wothers first demonstrates this with some graphite, but then takes things to the next level by performing the same experiment on a diamond taken from Kroto’s wife’s ring. Incredibly, the entire diamond sets alight, and, without producing any flames, glows like an mini-Sun. It’s beautiful, but pretty terrifying for Kroto.