This Is the World's First Diamond Within a Diamond

Jennifer Leman
Photo credit: ALROSA

From Popular Mechanics

  • A Matryoshka diamond, the first of its kind, was discovered in a diamond mine in Russia.
  • An air pocket nestled inside the diamond contains an even tinier diamond that rattles when shook.
  • Scientists believe the diamond to be about 800 million years old.

Russian miners unearthed a gemological oddity—a type of rare diamond called a Matryoshka diamond. It is thought to be the only one on the planet and the first of its kind, but has not yet been assigned a monetary value, according to a statement.

Named for the famed Russian nesting doll toys, the Matryoshka diamond is a tiny, tabular-shaped diamond encased within a larger diamond. Incredibly, there is enough space within the larger diamond, that the smaller specimen rattles inside, the report said. The outer gem is roughly .62 carats, but the inner gem is much smaller, weighing only about .02 carats.

It was pulled from the depths of the Nyurba mine in Yakutia, Russia. The diamond was discovered only later as it was being assessed in Yakutsk—often referred to as Russia’s diamond capital—by specialists at the Yakutsk Diamond Trade Enterprise. It was then given to the Research and Development Geological Enterprise of ALROSA, who used raman and infrared spectroscopic imagery and x-ray microtomography to get a closer look at the gem.

"The most interesting thing for us was to find out how the air space between the inner and outer diamonds was formed,” Oleg Kovalchuk, Deputy Director for innovations at ALROSA's Research and Development Geological Enterprise said in a statement.

Photo credit: ALROSA

According to the statement, scientists believe the diamond to be around 800 million years old and suspect that either the smaller diamond formed first and was surrounded by the larger diamond or a layer of crystal within the larger diamond dissolved to reveal a cavity.

Diamonds form deep below Earth’s surface in the upper mantle at depths of around to 100 miles. Some rare types of diamond, like the Hope diamond, are formed even farther below the surface, as deep as 1,800 miles. The combination of high pressure and temperature creates the perfect conditions for the crystals to grow. All of Earth’s diamonds are formed under these high pressure and temperature conditions and are thought to be brought up to the surface during an explosive type of deep-rooted volcanic eruption.

A spokesperson for the mining company said the diamond will be sent to the Gemological Institute of America for further testing. Hopefully it gets there in one piece.

Source: ALROSA

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