Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

The Rough in the Diamond

cullinan-diamond-mine.jpg
The Cullinan Mine in South Africa

We all know that diamonds are precious treasures…but did you know that they can also carry even rarer treasures within themselves? This is precisely what was discovered by Graham Pearson, a professor from the University of Alberta, during his time spent in the already-famous Cullinan Mine.

Calcium silicate perovskite, while seemingly abundant as the world’s fourth-most-common mineral, was actually only proven to positively exist when discovered trapped within a single diamond discovered by Pearson. The mineral, perovskite, is so amazingly delicate that it cannot withstand conditions above ground. According to Pearson, “Nobody has ever managed to keep this mineral stable at the Earth’s surface. The only possible way of preserving this mineral at the Earth’s surface is when it’s trapped in an unyielding container like a diamond.”

The Cullinan mine, which produced a pair of some of the most famous diamonds in the world that currently reside in the British Crown Jewels, has now become known as a place of great scientific significance. Pearson’s find “provides fundamental proof of what happens to the fate of oceanic plates as they descend into the depths of the Earth.” The formation of the perovskite within the diamond indicates this, and also the fact that this diamond formed over 400 miles beneath the surface of the earth (most diamonds form only 100 miles down)! …Talk about performing under pressure.

Advertisements