Thought I would pass this along for those interested in the diamond
gem world. Formed by a meteor strike, these 'impact diamonds' are
twice as hard as normal diamonds.
Russia reveals shiny state secret: It's awash in diamonds
Russia has just declassified news that will shake world gem
markets to their coRe: the discovery of a vast new diamond field
containing "trillions of carats," enough to supply global
markets for another 3,000 years.
The Soviets discovered the bonanza back in the 1970s beneath a
35-million-year-old, 62-mile diameter asteroid crater in eastern
Siberia known as Popigai Astroblem.
They decided to keep it secret, and not to exploit it,
apparently because the USSR's huge diamond operations at Mirny,
in Yakutia, were already producing immense profits in what was
then a tightly controlled world market.
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The Soviets were also producing a range of artificial diamonds
for industry, into which they had invested heavily.
The veil of secrecy was finally lifted over the weekend, and
Moscow permitted scientists from the nearby Novosibirsk
Institute of Geology and Mineralogy to talk about it with
According to the official news agency, ITAR-Tass, the diamonds
at Popigai are "twice as hard" as the usual making
them ideal for industrial and scientific uses.
The institute's director, Nikolai Pokhilenko, told the agency
that news of what's in the new field could be enough to
"overturn" global diamond markets.
"The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the
Popigai crypto-explosion structure, are by a factor of ten
bigger than the world's all known reserves," Mr. Pokhilenko
said. "We are speaking about trillions of carats. By comparison,
present-day known reserves in Yakutia are estimated at one
The type of stones at Popigai are known as "impact diamonds,"
which theoretically result when something like a meteor plows
into an existing diamond deposit at high velocity. The Russians
say most such diamonds found in the past have been "space
diamonds" of extraterrestrial origin found in meteor craters.
They claim the Popigai site is unique in the world, thus making
Russia the monopoly proprietor of a resource that's likely to
become increasingly important in high-precision scientific and
"The value of impact diamonds is added by their unusual abrasive
features and large grain size," Pokhilenko told Tass. "This
expands significantly the scope of their industrial use and
makes them more valuable for industrial purposes."
Russian scientists say the news is likely to change the shape of
global diamond markets, although the main customers for the
super-hard gems will probably be big corporations and scientific