Diamond may be formed by direct conversion of graphite with explosion-produced shock waves. Alternatively, the explosive can itself provide the carbon source to form diamond. In this case, the dynamite may decompose to form carbon and compressed gas. Due to the presence of instantaneous pressure and temperature, the carbon network in dynamite may rearrange to form diamond. The nano-sized diamond core may be covered by non-diamond carbon residues that may resemble bucky balls or carbon onions. The surface may also be adhered with carbon soot that may shed the light of the dynamite origin. Nanodiamond particles may form clusters or agglomerates to become much larger collectives. The former may be due to the surface charges that are opposite to one another. The latter can be produced by milling of shock wave compacted aggregates. The nanodiamond particles derived from dynamite have very high specific surface areas.