Before they’re cut and polished, diamonds look like hazy pebbles. For centuries, their chemical makeup and structure remained unknown. Diamonds were initially discovered to be made up of carbon, the fourth most abundant element, thanks to Isaac Newton’s investigations in the 1600s.

Carbon, it turns out, exists in two common forms, both of which have crystalline structures at the atomic level. Graphite is a honeycomb-like two-dimensional form with layers that stack on top of each other. Carbon may also form a tetrahedron, a repeating three-dimensional shape, which becomes your diamond.

Diamonds are nothing more than carbon atoms that have crystallised. The eventual product is determined by the exact arrangement of atoms.