Sourcing

Scientists Found This New Deep-Earth Mineral Trapped in a Diamond

SourcingNov 18, 2021

Scientists Found This New Deep-Earth Mineral Trapped in a Diamond

Davemaoite isn’t found in nature because it can’t survive outside the high-pressure environment of Earth’s mantle.

Geochemists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas discovered a new mineral that was carried to Earth’s surface in this diamond. (Photo credit: Aaron Celestian, Los Angeles County Natural History Museum)
Las Vegas—Inclusions are important not only in the study of their host gemstones but also for other scientific disciplines, and one recent discovery shows how much scientists rely on these imperfections to further their understanding.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas said in a statement that its geochemists recently discovered a mineral never observed in nature thanks to a diamond that carried it to the surface.

The mineral—a calcium silicate perovskite dubbed “davemaoite”—was found trapped in a diamond and traveled up to the Earth’s surface from at least 410 miles deep in the lower mantle, located between the planet’s core and crust.

The mineral was theorized to exist but hadn’t ever been observed before since many lower-mantle minerals can only exist in a high-pressure environment; they “fall apart” before reaching the surface, UNLV said.

The strength of its host diamond—a greenish, octahedral-shaped stone—allowed the davemaoite to survive and make it to the top, where UNLV’s geochemists could study it.

UNLV mineralogist Oliver Tschauner, who studies “super-deep diamonds” to see what they can teach us about the Earth’s interior and led the study published in Science this month, believes davemaoite formed between 410 and 560 miles below the Earth’s surface.

The recently discovered specimen appears as “infinitesimal small dark specks” in the diamond, where it was secure.

But, “When we broke open the diamond, the [mineral] stayed intact for about a second, then we saw it expand and bulge under the microscope and basically turn into glass,” Tschauner is quoted as saying in New Scientist.

 Related stories will be right here … 

The inclusions are only 5-10 micron in diameter, so Tschauner and his team analyzed its interior using X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and infrared transmission spectrometry, finishing with laser-ablation ICP-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) for a full chemical analysis.

He said the material analyzed by LA-ICP-MS is gone, but added they scanned the sample by micro-X-ray diffraction afterward and found a weak signal of davemaoite, thereby noting there was still some material left inside.

The diamond was recovered from Botswana’s Orapa mine in the 1980s. The specimen was originally part of the California Institute of Technology mineral collection, which acquired it from a diamond dealer in 1987.   

Davemaoite is one of three main minerals in Earth’s lower mantle and makes up about 5-7 percent of the material there, Tschauner told Nature. Importantly, it can host three of the major elements that affect heat production in Earth’s lower mantle.

The International Mineralogical Association (IMA) has officially approved davemaoite as a new natural mineral. 

It was named in honor of Ho-Kwang “Dave” Mao, an experimental geophysicist who created many of the techniques still used by scientists like Tschauner and his colleagues today. 

The specimen studied by UNLV is now in the collection of the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

MajorsJun 27, 2022
George Holmes, Longtime Head Editor of JCK Magazine, Dies at 93

He first took a job at then Philadelphia-based Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone in 1963 and retired in 1996.

MajorsJun 27, 2022
Mayors, Analog:Shift Team Up With Goop

The lifestyle platform will stock fine jewelry and watches from the retailers on its website and in store.

CrimeJun 27, 2022
JSA Warns of ‘Pandemic’ of Distraction Thefts Nationwide

It cited two recent cases in California, plus incidents in Florida, Kansas, and Illinois.

Brought to you by
Preparing for Proposal Season with High-Quality, A.I.-Graded Natural Diamonds

Rare & Forever is helping to create an enjoyable diamond buying experience for the millions of newly-engaged couples.

IndependentsJun 27, 2022
Lewis Jewelers Set to Open New Ann Arbor Store This Summer

The 10,000-square-foot location allows for expanded collections from design partners while continuing custom design and other services.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
CollectionsJun 27, 2022
This Designer Has Found a New Way to Bring Gemstones to Life

Svetlana Lazar’s “Wishing Well” collection utilizes an innovative component to mimic the movement of water beneath them.

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

EditorsJun 23, 2022
Antique Show Observations From a First-Time Attendee

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow shares her impressions of the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and a few of her favorite finds.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

AuctionsJun 23, 2022
Auction House Freeman’s Appoints First Rep in Florida

Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.

Lab-GrownJun 22, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures Sinks Money Into Lab-Grown Diamond Start-Up

LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.

AuctionsJun 22, 2022
Here’s How Two 100-Plus-Carat Diamonds Did at Auction

Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.

CrimeJun 22, 2022
Leviev Diamonds Launches Bracelet to Help ‘Tinder Swindler’ Victims

Profits will help them recoup financial losses.

MajorsJun 22, 2022
Swarovski Names First Non-Family CEO

Retail veteran Alexis Nasard will step in as CEO on July 4.

ColumnistsJun 21, 2022
State of the Majors 2022: Reflections on Resilience

After suffering a professional setback, columnist Peter Smith reflects on our ability to bounce back even when the hits keep on coming.

IndependentsJun 21, 2022
Jeweler Tommy Glatz, Known for Being Creative and Kind, Dies at 68

Glatz owned and operated Glatz Jewelers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.

Events & AwardsJun 21, 2022
24 Karat Club of Southern California Will Honor These Industry Leaders

The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.

MajorsJun 21, 2022
David Yurman Hires Chief of People, Strategy

Former McKinsey partner Emily Yueh marks new president Evan Yurman’s first hire.

TrendsJun 17, 2022
Britney Spears Wore Over $500K of Stephanie Gottlieb Diamonds at Her Wedding

The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.

AuctionsJun 17, 2022
5-Carat Paraiba Tourmaline Ring to Hit the Auction Block

It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.

Events & AwardsJun 17, 2022
WJA Foundation to Offer Tech Scholarships for Women of Color

The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.

CollectionsJun 17, 2022
Piece of the Week: Gemella’s ‘Stella’ Necklace

It’s as versatile as it is glamorous.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy