A new study published in the journal Nature Communications has provided significant insights into the formation of pink diamonds, renowned for their rarity and beauty. These precious gems, considered some of the most expensive in the world, have been abundant in the now-closed Argyle mine in Australia. However, the reasons behind the high concentration of pink diamonds in this particular location have long been a mystery.

According to Australian researchers, the pink diamonds from Argyle were brought to the Earth’s surface over 1.3 billion years ago. Their formation is attributed to a combination of three key ingredients. The first is carbon, which must be buried deeply beneath the Earth, below 150 km. The second ingredient is a specific amount of pressure that causes transparent diamonds to turn pink. Insufficient pressure would result in brown diamonds that are less valuable.

The third ingredient, discovered by scientists, is a volcanic event that brought the diamonds to the surface and made them accessible to humans. By analyzing small crystals in a rock sample from the Argyle mine, researchers were able to determine the age of the diamonds and establish a more precise timeline. They found that the diamonds were propelled upwards during the fragmentation of the world’s first supercontinent, known as Nuna or Columbia, 1.3 billion years ago.

This discovery has important implications for the search for future diamonds. It is now known that pink diamonds can be found near the edges of continents, in ancient mountain belts that mark the fragmentation of ancient supercontinents. Possible locations for future discoveries include Canada, Russia, southern Africa, and Australia.

While the closure of the Argyle mine has contributed to the scarcity of pink diamonds, their value is expected to continue increasing. The recent understanding of their formation process could guide future efforts to find these rare gems, although it will not be an easy or quick process.

In conclusion, the discovery of the “missing ingredient” for pink diamonds opens up new possibilities for locating these valuable gems. Scientists now have a clearer understanding of the necessary conditions for their formation, which could aid in future searches for pink diamonds in other regions of the world.

– Nature Communications
– Curtin University
– University of Adelaide