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Diamonds are Pollution's Best Friend

Andy Coghlan writes in New Scientist magazine about a marvelous way to clean up carbon dioxide?turn it into diamonds. "We are changing a waste gas into gems," says Chinese researcher Qianwang Chen.

It's even cheaper than the current method of creating manmade diamonds, which requires up five million atmospheres of pressure and ultra-high temperatures. Chen makes diamonds in only 12 hours by reacting CO2 with metallic sodium in a pressurized oven at a lower temperature and pressure.

The first diamonds created by Chen's team were too tiny to use in jewelry, but can still be used for industrial cutting tools. But now they've improved the process. "We can grow diamonds as large as 1.2 millimeters," Chen says. "They are transparent and colorless, and so could be used as gems."

Will we someday be wearing jewelry made from pollution? De Beers, the world?s largest diamond-mining company, says, "We hope that any organization involved in diamond synthesis would openly and transparently declare any such product as being synthetic and clearly distinct from natural gem diamonds."

Will we all be decked in diamonds at the end?

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