The ‘Matryoshka Diamond’: A Diamond Inside Another Diamond
In 2019, a groundbreaking discovery was made at the Nyurba mining and processing division of ALROSA in Yakutia, Russia. An extraordinary diamond, unlike any other, was unearthed, featuring another diamond moving freely inside of it, resembling a traditional Russian Matryoshka doll. Experts who have extensively studied this rare find have confirmed that this is the first of only two such diamond ever discovered in the history of global diamond mining.
The Diamond’s Structure and Formation
Despite its complex structure, the diamond weighs only 0.62 carats and has maximum dimensions of 4.8 x 4.9 x 2.8 mm. The internal cavity volume is 6 cubic mm, and the internal crystal volume is 1.6 cubic mm, with an estimated weight of 0.02 carats. The inner diamond has a tabular shape with dimensions of 1.9×2.1×0.6 mm. Scientists believe that this diamond may be over 800 million years old.
The diamond was discovered by the specialists of the Yakutsk Diamond Trade Enterprise during a sorting process. They handed it over to the Research and Development Geological Enterprise of ALROSA, where it was studied using several methods, including Raman and infrared spectroscopies, as well as X-ray microtomography. Based on the results of the study, the scientists made a hypothesis about how the crystal was formed.
Formation of the Diamond
According to the scientists, there was an internal diamond at first, and the external one was formed around it during the subsequent stages of growth. The air space between the inner and outer diamonds was the most exciting thing for the researchers to study. They have two main hypotheses on how it was formed.
The first version suggests that a mantle mineral captured a diamond during its growth, and later it was dissolved in the Earth’s surface.
The second version suggests that a layer of porous polycrystalline diamond substance was formed inside the diamond due to ultra-fast growth, and more aggressive mantle processes subsequently dissolved it. Due to the presence of the dissolved zone, one diamond began to move freely inside another, just like a matryoshka nesting doll.
One-of-a-kind Marvel of Nature
Oleg Kovalchuk, Deputy Director for innovations at ALROSA’s Research and Development Geological Enterprise, said, “As far as we know, there were no such diamonds in the history of global diamond mining yet. This is really a unique creation of nature, especially since nature does not like emptiness. Usually, some minerals are replaced by others without cavity formation.”
The discovery of this unusual diamond with a diamond inside is a significant moment in the history of diamond mining. This remarkable and unique creation of nature has the potential to shed new light on the process of diamond formation and the conditions under which they’re formed. The diamond is also a testament to the beauty and complexity of nature, which never ceases to surprise and amaze us.
The second “Matryoshka Diamond” was found two years after the ALROSA diamond was discovered. It was found by India Bore Diamond Holdings (IBDH) in the southern part of the Ellendale alluvial deposit, in Western Australia.
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