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Pink Diamonds Came From One Of The Earth's Most Ancient Breakups

Explore the geological secrets of Argyle Diamonds and learn how pink diamonds came from one of the earth's most ancient breakups.

Sep 25, 2023201 Shares25K ViewsWritten By: Johnny K.Reviewed By: Luke Williams
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  1. Unearthing The Ancient Origins Of Argyle Diamonds
  2. The Sparkling Tale Of Argyle Diamonds - A Geological Marvel
  3. Rippling Currents And Continental Interiors
  4. Deciphering The Perfect Storm Of Conditions
  5. Unanswered Questions And Ongoing Inquiry
  6. The Complexity Of An Ancient System
  7. Cracking The Geological Puzzle - A Look Back At Earth's Troubled Past
  8. The End Of An Era - The Closure Of The Argyle Mine
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Final Words

Argyle diamondshave always attracted gem enthusiasts worldwide. People who know a lot about jewelryand like to collect it like these pieces because they are well-made and have interesting colors.

But, a recent study has unveiled the secret of the origin of these beautiful diamonds. This study provides us with crucial information about how nature formed these diamonds.

Researchers found that pink diamonds came from one of the earth's most ancient breakups. This is an interesting discovery.

Unearthing The Ancient Origins Of Argyle Diamonds

According to Scientific American, around 1.8 billion years ago, a portion of what is now Western Australia collided with the northern Australian plate, warping the region's geology. However, this just explains a portion of Argyle's genesis tale.

When the continents collided, the diamonds in the area were buried hundreds of kilometers below the Earth's surface in the mantle.

The carbon atoms in the crystalswould have been crushed into a different structure if they had been closer to the surface, changing them from sparkling diamonds to lumps of dark gray graphite.

To transport the molten diamonds up from our planet's mantle, a volcano was required.

"You need some sort of tectonic trigger to bring them up to the surface," explains Olierook. As the melt builds, carbon dioxide and steam expand, causing an eruption similar to popping a champagne cork, he says.

This eruption most likely occurred on a beach near Argyle, where sand and seawater reacted with volcanic rock known as lamproite.

The team chopped two tiny portions of Argyle's volcanic rock and polished them down to a minuscule width to determine when the eruption happened.

The researchers were able to identify sand grains from Argyle's old shoreline and date them using radioactive elements found in the sample by analyzing its mineral makeup under a microscope.

The scientists were able to estimate when the beach was submerged in lava by datingthe youngest sand grains. They also used tiny lasers to calculate the ages of titanite minerals, which formed in the rock when magma mixed with quartzin the beach sand.

The researchers estimated that the Argyle eruption occurred between 1.3 billion and 1.26 billion years ago by comparing the ages of the youngest sand grains and the oldest titanite crystals.

This age range astonished Olierook and his colleagues because it was older than earlier projections. "We had a betting pool going, and nobody got 1,300 [million years]," he explains. "That was one of those glass-shattering moments."

The Sparkling Tale Of Argyle Diamonds - A Geological Marvel

These rare and exquisite gems, with their unique characteristics, have a captivating story rooted in the depths of Earth's geological history.

Discovery Of Argyle Diamonds

  • The discovery of Argyle's diamonds dates back to 1979.
  • Geologists and prospectors initially stumbled upon them in Western Australia's remote East Kimberley region.

A Geological Treasure Unveiled

The revelation of Argyle diamonds marked a significant milestone in the world of gemology. These precious stones possess distinctive features that set them apart from other diamonds found across the globe.

  • Pink Elegance- Argyle diamonds are renowned for their exquisite pink hue, a rarity in the diamondworld. Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine are particularly prized for their delicate and enchanting shades, ranging from the faintest blush to deeper, more intense pinks.
  • Color Spectrum- While pink diamondsare the crown jewels of the Argyle mine, it is essential to note that it produces diamonds across the entire color spectrum. These diamonds span a breathtaking array of colors, including vivid reds, blues, and purples, among others.
  • Small but Mighty:- Argyle diamonds tend to be smaller in size compared to some of their counterparts, but their quality and rarity more than compensate for their diminutive stature.
A massive pink diamond
A massive pink diamond

Greggsy, a commenter from ycombinatorstated regarding the pink diamonds:

Quality diamonds are rare. This discovery relates to quality diamonds.- Greggsy | from ycombinator

The Geological Genesis

Understanding the formation of Argyle diamonds requires delving into the intricate geological processes that have shaped them over millions of years.

  • Volcanic Origins- Argyle diamonds emerged from volcanic activity that occurred over 1.3 billion years ago, as mentioned above. These diamonds are products of deep-seated volcanic eruptions that brought them to the Earth's surface.
  • Pressure and Heat- The journey of an Argyle diamond begins deep within the Earth's mantle, where carbon atoms are subjected to immense heat and pressure. These conditions force the carbon atoms to crystallize into the structure that defines a diamond.
  • Kimberlite Pipes- The diamonds found in the Argyle mine are associated with kimberlite pipes, narrow volcanic conduits that transport them from the mantle to the surface. These pipes acted as natural conveyors for these precious gems.

The Argyle Mine - An Iconic Source

  • Located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Argyle mine has been the exclusive source of Argyle diamonds for decades.
  • Operated by the Rio Tinto Group, this iconic mine played a pivotal role in introducing the world to the allure of colored diamonds, particularly pink diamonds.

The Rarity And Value Of Argyle Diamonds

The unique characteristics and limited availability of Argyle diamonds have catapulted them to the status of some of the world's most coveted gemstones.

  • Limited Supply- One of the factors contributing to the mystique of Argyle diamonds is their scarcity. The mine's output of pink diamonds, in particular, has dwindled significantly over the years, making them even more precious.
  • Investment Value- The rarity of Argyle diamonds has made them attractive investments. Collectors and investors alike have recognized their potential for long-term value appreciation.

Rippling Currents And Continental Interiors

One key revelation from this study is the role of subterranean currents in the creation of Argyle diamonds. These currents, it appears, play a vital role in shaping the gem-rich eruptions.

Interestingly, they seem to ripple inland over time, providing a crucial clue as to why most diamond-rich eruptions tend to occur in the heart of thick continental interiors.

However, Argyle diamonds, which erupted near the continental edge, offer a unique perspective. They may represent an early phase of this process, shedding light on the conditions preceding eruptions that eventually make their way inland.

Deciphering The Perfect Storm Of Conditions

Thomas Gernon, a geologist at the University of Southampton in England, emphasizes the significance of this study in deciphering the complex factors responsible for the creation of Argyle's vibrant gems.

He likens it to unraveling a "perfect storm of conditions" that culminates in the formation of these unique diamonds. Gernon's expertise in understanding how diamonds are shaped by supercontinent splits underscores the importance of this research in the broader context of geological studies.

Unanswered Questions And Ongoing Inquiry

Despite the valuable insights provided by this study, numerous questions linger. Steve Shirey, an isotope geochemist at Carnegie Science in Washington, D.C., who was not part of the research team, observes that there is still an elusive aspect to the Argyle diamond story.

He ponders why such a substantial concentration of carbon accumulated in the first place, paving the way for the abundance of diamonds found in Argyle.

David Phillips, a geochemist at the University of Melbourne, offers a perspective on the study's findings. While acknowledging the significance of the new age range for Argyle, he suggests that further refinement may be possible.

In his opinion, the conclusions reached in this study remain an open question, leaving room for continued exploration and discovery.

The conclusions of this study might be correct, but in my opinion, this remains an open question.- David Phillips

The Complexity Of An Ancient System

Dr. Gernon underscores the challenges inherent in comprehending an ancient geological system. The intricate interplay of factors that led to the formation of Argyle diamonds reflects the complexities of Earth's history.

One thing is certain: nature has a penchant for surprising us, and as our understanding deepens, the enigmatic origins of these magnificent gems may yet reveal more secrets waiting to be unearthed.

Cracking The Geological Puzzle - A Look Back At Earth's Troubled Past

Imagine Earth as a giant puzzle, and at that time, the pieces were coming together to form one huge landmass called Nuna. This process caused a lot of movement under the ground.

At the same time, deep underground in what is now Western Australia, something special was taking place. There was a big explosion of melted rock, and this event marked the beginning of Argyle diamonds.

Scientists believe that all this underground commotion might have cracked open a kind of seam in the ground where Argyle is now. This crack let out a lot of hot melted rock, and this is what brought the diamonds closer to the surface.

What makes Argyle diamonds unique is their colors, like soft pinks and browns. These colors happened because of all the heat and pressure deep underground. It's a bit like how some candies get their colors when they're made.

The important thing to know is that these new ideas about when Argyle diamonds were made help us understand better how they came to be. It's like fitting a piece into a puzzle that helps us see the bigger picture.

One scientist, Evan Smith, who knows a lot about rocks and diamonds but wasn't part of this new study, says that before, we didn't really know when these diamonds were formed. But now, with these new time estimates, it's like putting together more pieces of the puzzle.

The exciting part is that it shows us these diamond eruptions weren't just random events. They were connected to big things happening under the Earth's surface that affected entire continents. It's like finding out that a small splash in a pond is actually part of a much bigger wave.

This idea also makes us wonder if similar things happened in other places around the world. Normally, we find diamonds in the middle of big pieces of land where we can see rocks. But Argyle is different; it's like a surprise. People used to think looking for diamonds near where land plates meet, where there's often soil and sand, was a waste of time.

Even though it's tricky to dig for gems in these places, scientists like Olierook believe there might be more diamonds hiding there. They might not all be the pretty pink ones we love, but with a bit of luck, there could be some surprises waiting to be discovered.

I think all of them will host some sort of colored diamonds. They may all be brown, but with a little bit of luck, there could be a few pinks in there.- Olierook

So, when we think about Argyle diamonds, it's like discovering a part of Earth's history. It's a reminder that our planet has been through a lot of changes over billions of years, and sometimes, those changes create wonderful things like these colorful diamonds. And who knows, there might be more hidden treasures waiting for us to find beneath the Earth's surface.

The End Of An Era - The Closure Of The Argyle Mine

In a significant development for the diamond industry, the Argyle mine ceased its operations in November 2020. This event marked the end of an era for Argyle diamonds and brought about contemplation regarding their future availability and value.

The Argyle diamond location
The Argyle diamond location
  • The closure of the Argyle mine led to speculation about the potential impact on the prices of Argyle diamonds, especially pink diamonds, in the global market.
  • As the supply of new Argyle diamonds came to a halt, the remaining inventory of these gems gained added significance, with collectors and investors seeking to secure their share of this finite resource.

The Legacy Of Argyle Diamonds Lives On

While the Argyle mine may have closed its doors, the legacy of these extraordinary diamonds endures.

  • Jewelry designers and enthusiasts continue to celebrate the beauty and rarity of Argyle diamonds, incorporating them into bespoke creations that capture their unique charm.
  • Auction houses and collectors' circles closely monitor the market for Argyle diamonds, as these gems remain in high demand.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are Argyle Diamonds So Famous?

Argyle diamonds are famous for their stunning colors, particularly the beautiful pinks and browns. These colors are quite rare in the world of diamonds, making Argyle diamonds unique and highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

Can You Find Diamonds In Places Where Continents Meet?

Yes, you can, and Argyle is a great example. While most diamonds are found in the middle of landmasses where rocks are exposed, Argyle diamonds stand out because they were discovered near where land plates meet. This discovery challenged the belief that searching for diamonds at plate boundaries was not worth it.

Are There More Colored Diamonds Hidden Beneath The Earth's Surface?

Yes, there's a possibility that other regions near continental boundaries might also contain colored diamonds. While these diamonds may not all be pink, some could still be hidden treasures waiting to be discovered, adding to the world's fascination with these unique and beautiful gemstones.

Final Words

This discovery challenges conventional wisdom about where to find diamonds and opens the door to the possibility of more hidden treasures awaiting discovery beneath the Earth's surface. It's a reminder that our planet's history is a fascinating mosaic of dynamic forces and hidden wonders.

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