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article imageMost diamonds share a common point of origin

By Tim Sandle     Apr 14, 2016 in Science
A new study suggests older and younger diamonds are formed under similar conditions, located deep within Earth. This is based on chemical analysis of trapped carbonates.
Some diamonds are more "perfect" than others, although any diamond — even gem-quality diamonds — will contain at least one imperfection, even if not visible to the naked eye. Imperfections in diamonds are caused by carbonates. These carbonates can be used to trace the origins of particular diamonds.
Diamonds are metastable allotropes of carbon. A carbonate is a salt of carbonic acid. Carbonate can take the form of various minerals, and these appear to be involved in the formation of all diamonds.
Hitherto it was thought that gem quality diamonds contained no imperfections at all. However, advanced electron scanning has revealed microscopic traces of carbonates in every diamond that went through laboratory analysis. This is based on both flawed and gem quality diamonds containing the same carbonates from the same geological location.
The difference between "flawed’ diamonds and ‘gen quality’ diamonds is the speed at which the diamonds form, according to Hebrew University geochemists. The longer the process of formation, then the fewer the numbers of imperfections (inclusions) present.
The results also show that flawed and gem diamonds form in the same way, from the same points of origin. It had been thought that there were differences in diamond formation relating to the quality of the diamond.
All diamonds are formed in the same way. The sparkling rocks are composed from carbon atoms subjected to intense pressure and high temperature; a process that converts carbon atoms into a crystalline structure. At a point in time, the process of magma moving to the surface carries diamonds upwards. Thus the indication is that the Earth has been undertaking diamond formation, in the same way, since the planet was first formed.
Lead researcher Dr. Brooke Matat Jablon told Science News that “we’re coming full circle on the story. We can quiet a debate that has been raging in the field for a long time. Going forward, we can generally assume most diamonds crystalize the same way.”
The findings are reported in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters. The paper is titled “Most diamonds were created equal.”
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