The Origin of Black Diamonds
Where do black diamonds come from? This question has only increased the mystery surrounding these amazing gemstones, and the answer to the question of origin is even more alluring than their unique appearance. Black diamonds are less commonly known as
carbonado, and scientists believe that outer space may actually be the birthplace of these particular stones.
Colorless diamonds are formed deep within the Earth’s mantle, and gradually make their way up near the surface by way of volcanic eruptions and the resulting magma. Upon close examination, scientists found that the carbon isotopes of black diamonds are
characteristic of surface carbons and not those that are found in the depths of the Earth.
By the time a white diamond reaches the surface of the Earth, it will be about 1 billion to 3.3 billion years old.
These colorless diamonds are mined in a variety of countries all over the world, including several states in the US. Black diamonds, however, are found in only two places on Earth. They were first found in Brazil in the 1800s, and have since been found
in central Africa. To this day, these two countries remain the only sources of natural fancy color black diamonds.
From the Cosmos
The high content of hydrogen suggests that these stones originate from a star-like environment, such as that of hydrogen-rich interstellar space. The theory that space is, in fact, the birthplace of black diamonds is widely accepted in the scientific
community. The fact that these diamonds have differing carbon isotopes, are rich in hydrogen, and just simply do not adhere to the rules of diamond mineralogy all point to a cosmic origin. Intensive study of these diamonds shows them to be most closely
matched to other diamonds that are found only in outer space. However, the exact origin and the manner in which black diamonds made their way to Earth are very much matters of debate.
Supernova: Some scientists believe that large asteroids were formed by stellar supernova explosions which then traveled through space, landing on the earth some 2.3 billion years ago.
Meteorite: Another theory is that carbon atoms or grains of meteoritic black graphite within a hurtling meteorite transformed into diamond instantly during the intense heat and incredible shock of impact with the Earth.
Red Giant: Dr. Stephen Haggerty
offers what is currently believed to be the most likely explanation of black diamond origin.
He believes that the shock waves from exploding red giant stars crushed carbon into dense aggregations of black diamond. The resulting mass was sent careening through space. Eons later, the sun’s gravity drew them to be a product of carbon that has
been crushed into dense aggregations of black diamond and sent careening through space, created by the shock waves from exploding red giant stars. Then, the sun’s gravity drew some of these diamonds to our solar system, at which time they crashed
into our atmosphere and shattered into the fragments that are found today.
How Old? Older Than Time
Black Diamond Meteorite
credit: Steve Haggerty
Black diamonds are born in dying stars, later falling to earth either in fragments or within meteorites. Studied under infrared radiation, black diamonds have been shown to have a chemical spectrum that indicates they originate from a time before the
formation of the earth, putting these diamonds at an incredible age of about 4.5 billion years. Recent atomic measurements place the origin of black diamonds on earth at nearly four billion years ago.
This was a time when Earth was under a constant barrage of meteor collisions. It’s also theorized that black diamonds came to earth during an asteroid event that struck when Brazil and Africa were still one continent, which explains their presence
in these two countries and nowhere else on the planet.