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Small amounts of defects or impurities (about one per million of lattice atoms) color diamond blue (boron), yellow (nitrogen), brown (lattice defects), green (radiation exposure), purple, pink, orange or red.
Diamond also has relatively high optical dispersion (ability to disperse light of different colors).
Long residence in the cratonic lithosphere allows diamond crystals to grow larger.
Through studies of carbon isotope ratios (similar to the methodology used in carbon dating, except with the stable isotopes C-12 and C-13), it has been shown that the carbon found in diamonds comes from both inorganic and organic sources.
Some diamonds, known as harzburgitic, are formed from inorganic carbon originally found deep in the Earth's mantle.
In contrast, eclogitic diamonds contain organic carbon from organic detritus that has been pushed down from the surface of the Earth's crust through subduction (see plate tectonics) before transforming into diamond.
These two different source of carbon have measurably different —150 km (93 mi) or more (three times or more the depth of source magma for most volcanoes). These typically small surface volcanic craters extend downward in formations known as volcanic pipes.
The pipes contain material that was transported toward the surface by volcanic action, but was not ejected before the volcanic activity ceased.
Several non-diamond materials, which include cubic zirconia and silicon carbide and are often called diamond simulants, resemble diamond in appearance and many properties.Those properties determine the major industrial application of diamond in cutting and polishing tools and the scientific applications in diamond knives and diamond anvil cells.Because of its extremely rigid lattice, it can be contaminated by very few types of impurities, such as boron and nitrogen.Diamond is renowned as a material with superlative physical qualities, most of which originate from the strong covalent bonding between its atoms.In particular, diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any bulk material.