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ALROSA Unearths Rare Rock Containing 30,000 Diamonds

If diamonds are a girls best friend, this diamond is the matron of honor.On Monday, mining company ALROSA uncovered a rare rock containing an astonishin...

|Dec 17|magazine5 min read

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this diamond is the matron of honor.

On Monday, mining company ALROSA uncovered a rare rock containing an astonishing 30,000 diamonds at its Udachny diamond mine in Russia. The strange red and green stone measures 30 millimeters (the size of an ornament) and has a concentration one million times higher than normal.

Despite the discovery, the diamonds in the rock are too small to be used as gems and instead have been donated to the Russian Academy of Sciences for research.

"The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond," said Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who presented the findings. "It's like they formed instantaneously."

After the initial scanning of the rock with X-rays, scientists found the diamonds inside the rock measure just 1mm and are octahedral in shape. The red and green coloring signifies it comes from larger crystals of garnet, olivine and pyroxene.

The findings will help provide scientists with important clues to Earth’s geologic history as well as the origin of these prized gemstones.

"The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed," Taylor told Live Science.

"The [chemical] reactions in which diamonds occur still remain an enigma.”

X-rays from the rock suggest the diamonds crystallized from fluids that escaped from subducted oceanic crust, likely composed of a dense rock called periodtite.

The average diamond ore average one to six carats per ton. A carat is measured by weight (not size) and is roughly equal to one-fifth of a gram, or 0.007 ounces. 

Based in Russia, ALROSA is comprised of a group of diamond mining companies and is currently the largest diamond mining company in the world.