Siberian scientists found and studied the most ancient diamond on Earth

Image of a scientist in a laboratory. Credit: Likoper/

What is believed to be the oldest diamond ever discovered on Earth was found and studied by scientists from Siberia.


As part of an international team of researchers, Siberian scientists have been involved in studying a diamond that was found in Yakutia in the Republic of Sakha. The stone is believed to be approximately 3.6 billion years old, according to the latest publication of ‘Science in Siberia‘ from the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
It specified that the jewel was found in the rocks of the Udachnaya kimberlite pipe, which is one of the largest diamond deposits in Russia. Samples of rocks and minerals of the lithospheric mantle brought to the Earth’s surface in this region have been of interest to Russian and foreign scientists since the late 1960s, as reported by
For more than half a century, geologists have been collecting and studying diamonds that were brought from depths of up to 250km millions of years ago. In one of these collections, a sample unique in age and education was found, an article about which was published in the authoritative journal Minerals.
“The diamond we discovered is apparently the oldest one studied to date. The age of the sulfide inclusion syngenetic to this diamond is estimated at approximately 3.6 billion years”, wrote academician Nikolai Pokhilenko, the scientific director of the V.S. Sobolev Institute of Geology and Mineralogy of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“According to our results, it was captured by growing olivine at sufficiently high temperatures – more than 1400 degrees Celsius and pressures of more than 5.5 hectopascals. This corresponds to depths of about 180km”, he added.
Kimberlites are the most common rocks that carry diamonds from the depths of the lithospheric mantle to the earth’s surface. The diamond crystal in question grew out of a silicate or sulfide melt. It was brought to the surface from refractory rocks that form the lithospheric mantle, included in a one-and-a-half-centimetre grain of the olivine mineral. The size of the diamond itself is only about 0.3 millimetres, Pokhilenko explained.
“In general, this find and its study confirmed earlier speculative assumptions about the time and parameters of the formation of the lower horizons of the lithosphere, reaching the pressures and temperatures of the diamond stability region, and, accordingly, the period of the appearance of the very first diamonds on the planet in them”, he continued.
Pokhilenko noted: “Crystal from Udachnaya today, apparently, the oldest on Earth: at least among those that were held in the hands and studied by man”.
Scientists also managed to show that the conditions for the formation of diamonds in that era differed significantly from the characteristics of the later processes of formation of the bulk of currently mined crystals. Both the environment and the range of temperatures and pressures changed they claimed, and, accordingly, the depths of formation of later diamonds in a more powerful and cooled lithosphere.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at