Pink Diamonds Emerged Out of One of Earth’s Most Ancient Breakups

Pink diamonds take the Barbiecore craze to another level, but the rosy color comes at a cost. These gems are among the most rare and valuable diamonds around. And they’re far from perfect.

“They’re actually damaged diamonds,” said Hugo Olierook, a geoscientist at Curtin University in Perth, Australia.

The color comes from the warping of the gem’s crystal lattice under intense pressure. While all diamonds form under pressure, even more force turns once clear diamonds colorful. A slight extra squeeze turns a diamond pink, and a hard squash turns it brown.

More than 90 percent of the pink stones ever found came from the Argyle mine in Western Australia, which was one of the world’s most productive diamond deposits until it ceased operations in November 2020. Many of Argyle’s diamonds have a chocolatey brown or tawny hue. But out of every thousand gems, a couple would pop up in the rarer and more valuable pink.

But Dr. Pidgeon had long questioned his own findings. The eruption that generated Argyle’s diamond haul blasted through an ancient lake, which altered the rocks, potentially affecting the accuracy of the dating estimate. He mentioned the concern in a casual hallway conversation with another author of the study, Denis Fougerouse of Curtin University, who assembled a team to take a closer look.

Yet some questions remain. “This is the last part of the story,” said Steve Shirey, an isotope geochemist at Carnegie Science in Washington, D.C., who was not part of the study team. For example, he wonders why so much carbon had collected to create Argyle’s abundance of diamonds in the first place.

David Phillips, a geochemist at the University of Melbourne, points out that the new age range for Argyle could be further narrowed. “The conclusions of this study might be correct, but in my opinion, this remains an open question,” he said.

Dr. Gernon emphasized that understanding such an ancient system is no simple undertaking. And one thing is for sure, he said: “Nature always throws up surprises.”

Sahred From Source link Science

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *