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In the 20th century, experts in gemology developed methods of grading diamonds and other gemstones based on the characteristics most important to their value as a gem.
These conditions are met in two places on Earth; in the lithospheric mantle below relatively stable continental plates, and at the site of a meteorite strike.
The conditions for diamond formation to happen in the lithospheric mantle occur at considerable depth corresponding to the requirements of temperature and pressure.
) is a metastable allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice.
Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at standard conditions.
Special gemological techniques have been developed to distinguish natural diamonds, synthetic diamonds, and diamond simulants.