Pink Diamonds: The Most Sought-After Gemstones in the World
A Coveted Gem
There is no denying the allure of pink diamonds. These precious stones command exorbitant prices, reaching several tens of millions for the highest-quality stones. But what makes them so special? Unlike most diamonds, which are found at relatively shallow depths, pink diamonds are exceptionally rare and possess a uniquely curved crystal structure. While yellow or blue diamonds get their color from other elements, pink diamonds are as chemically pure as their white counterparts.
As a fascinating fact, more than 90% of all pink diamonds discovered on the planet were found in the recently closed Argyle mine in the remote northwest of Australia. The question remains: why is this the case?
The Formation of Pink Diamonds
Scientists have long pondered the origin of pink diamonds, and now they believe they have found the missing piece of the puzzle. A team of researchers has made a groundbreaking discovery that could lead to the identification of more of these rare and precious stones. The Argyle mine, unlike most diamond deposits, is located on the edge of a continent rather than in the middle. By analyzing minerals and rocks extracted from the Argyle deposit using lasers, the researchers concluded that the site rich in pink diamonds formed during the breakup of an ancient supercontinent called Nuna around 1.3 billion years ago.
The discovery corrected a previous misconception, revealing that Argyle is 1.3 billion years old, a hundred million years older than previously estimated.
The Rupture of the Nuna Supercontinent
Around 1.8 billion years ago, the northern and western continents collided, causing the Argyle deposits located at their junction to collide as well. This collision resulted in the pink coloration of diamonds. The stretching of Nuna as it divided could be a vital component in bringing pink diamonds to the surface. The researchers believe that the formation of diamonds during continental breakup may be more common than previously recognized. This chain of events suggests that ancient continental junctions could guide the exploration of other pink diamond deposits.
The Recipe for Creating a Pink Diamond
Creating a pink diamond requires three key ingredients. First, there must be an abundance of carbon deep within the Earth. Second, there must be just the right amount of pressure to alter the diamonds’ transparency. Finally, a volcanic event is needed to bring the diamonds to the Earth’s surface.
Hugo K. H. Olierook, Denis Fougerouse, Luc S. Doucet, Yebo Liu, Murray J. Rayner, Martin Danišík, Daniel J. Condon, Brent I. A. McInnes, A. Lynton Jaques, Noreen J. Evans, Bradley J. McDonald, Zheng-Xiang Li, Christopher L. Kirkland, Celia Mayers, Michael T. D. Wingate. Emplacement of the Argyle diamond deposit into an ancient rift zone triggered by supercontinent breakup. Nature Communications, 2023; 14 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-40904-8 Tsai, T., & D’Haenens-Johansson, U. (2021). Rapid gemstone screening and identification using fluorescence spectroscopy.. Applied optics, 60 12, 3412-3421 D., Aulbach, S., Korsakov, A., Golovin, A., Malygina, E., Gerdes, A., Stepanov, A., & Xu, Y. (2021). ORIGIN OF GRAPHITE-DIAMOND-BEARING ECLOGITES FROM UDACHNAYA KIMBERLITE PIPE. Journal of Petrology. J., Liu, W., & Wang, B. (2021). Prediction of theoretical strength of diamond under complex loadings. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 44, 101233.