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Researchers find missing clue to find pink diamonds

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Have you ever wondered why pink diamonds are so rare and valuable? Well, researchers may have just discovered the missing clue that explains their unique color. In a groundbreaking study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists have found that pink diamonds acquire their hue through the intense forces generated by colliding tectonic plates.

Unlike other diamond mines, the Argyle mine, known for its abundance of pink gems, is located on the edge of a continent rather than in its core. Until now, this peculiar arrangement has puzzled experts. Lead researcher Dr. Hugo Olierook from Curtin’s John de Laeter Centre explains that the answer lies in the stretching of landmasses during the breakup of an ancient supercontinent hundreds of millions of years ago.

By using advanced laser technology and studying rocks provided by Rio Tinto, the researchers discovered that Argyle likely formed as a result of the separation of the supercontinent Nuna. While the continent that would become Australia remained intact, the area where Argyle sits experienced stretching and created gaps in the Earth’s crust. Through these gaps, diamond-carrying magma rose to the surface, bringing with it the coveted pink diamonds.

Rio Tinto puts last diamonds mined at iconic Argyle up for sale
Some of the last diamonds mined at the iconic Argyle mine. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.)

The significance of this discovery cannot be overstated. Argyle has been responsible for more than 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, making it an unparalleled source of these rare and exquisite gems. The mine has not only contributed to Australia’s diamond industry but also revolutionized technology and exploration methods in the search for diamonds across the rugged and remote Kimberley landscape.

After 37 years of operation, the Argyle mine closed its doors in 2020, marking the end of an era. However, its legacy as the largest producer of diamonds by volume and a treasure trove of pink diamonds will forever be remembered in the world of gemstones.

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