TECH

Reddit Just Proved That No, Diamonds Aren't Forever

17/05/2015 11:14 BST | Updated 17/05/2015 11:20 BST

If there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that Reddit will ask the questions you never thought of.

In this case, intrepid user 'my_own_thoughts' posted the question that we've been wondering since Shirley Bassey first warbled those dulcet notes: Does a diamond really last forever?

reddit diamond

Well thanks to the help of some scientifically-minded users and a number of studies that have taken place in the last ten years the mystery has finally been solved: No, a diamond won't last forever.

While it seems logical to think that the diamond's demise would be a high-velocity impact in space, the truth is that its real enemy is light.

diamond

Associate Professor Richard Mildren and his colleagues from the Macquarie University Photonics Research Centre discovered that when a diamond is exposed the intense light pulses in the UV-C band, tiny holes started to appear in the surface.

There's good news for Bassey, the UV-C band is actually filtered out by the ozone layer, so on Earth it would take around 10 billion years (around the age of the universe) for us to even notice any change. So in the human sense, yes a diamond is forever in that they're almost certainly going to outlive us as a species.

Take it out into the unprotected vastness of space however and UV-C will start to break it down.

So there you have it, the diamond might be one of the strongest materials on the planet, but nothing is forever, not even diamonds.