Earlier this month, Russian miners announced that they had unearthed an amazing gemological oddity – a rare Matryoshka diamond. Named for the traditional toy, this Russian Nesting Doll diamond is the first in the history of global diamond mining to ever be found. The stone has not yet been given a monetary value.
The rare gemstone was discovered in the Nyurba mine in Yakutia, Russia, and is a tabular-shaped diamond encased within a larger diamond. What makes the discovery even more remarkable is that the smaller, inner specimen rattles within an open cavity of space within the larger, outer diamond. The outer gem measures 4.8 x 4.9 x 2.8 mm, and is reported to weigh about .62 carats, with the inner gem weighing in at about .02 carats.
The oddity was discovered as it was being sorted and assessed by specialists at the Yakutsk Diamond Trade Enterprise, located in Russia’s “diamond capital.” Once its unique qualities were revealed, the rare stone was sent to scientists at the Research and Development Geological Enterprise of ALROSA, who used raman and infrared spectroscopic imagery plus x-ray microtomography to examine it further.
According a statement, the ALROSA scientists believe the stone is about 800 million years old. They theorize that the inner diamond was formed first and was later surrounded by the larger diamond. A second theory is that a layer of crystal within the outer gem dissolved to create the opening within, while the small inner stone remained intact.
“The most interesting thing for us was to find out how the air space between the inner and outer diamonds was formed,” said Oleg Kovalchuk, Deputy Director for Innovation at ALROSA’s Research and Development Geological Enterprise. He continued, “This is really a unique creation of nature, especially since nature does not like emptiness. Usually, some minerals are replaced by others without cavity formation.”
All Diamonds are formed below Earth’s surface, deep in the upper mantle at depths of about 100 miles, with some types forming as deep as 1,800 miles. High pressure and temperature combine to create optimum Diamond-forming conditions which cause the crystals to grow. Rare geologic conditions are required to form diamond crystals, which are then pushed up, closer to the Earth’s surface during explosive volcanic eruptions, making the Matryoshka Diamond the rarest of the rare.