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Cathodoluminescence of Natural, Plastically Deformed Pink Diamonds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 December 2012

E. Gaillou*
Department of Mineral Sciences, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA 90007, USA
J.E. Post
Department of Mineral Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA
T. Rose
Department of Mineral Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA
J.E. Butler
Department of Mineral Sciences, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560, USA Retired—Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC 20375, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
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The 49 type I natural pink diamonds examined exhibit color restricted to lamellae or bands oriented along {111} that are created by plastic deformation. Pink diamonds fall into two groups: (1) diamonds from Argyle in Australia and Santa Elena in Venezuela are heavily strained throughout and exhibit pink bands alternating with colorless areas, and (2) diamonds from other localities have strain localized near the discrete pink lamellae. Growth zones are highlighted by a blue cathodoluminescence (CL) and crosscut by the pink lamellae that emit yellowish-green CL that originates from the H3 center. This center probably forms by the recombination of nitrogen-related centers (A-aggregates) and vacancies mobilized by natural annealing in the Earth's mantle. Twinning is the most likely mechanism through which plastic deformation is accommodated for the two groups of diamonds. The plastic deformation creates new centers visible through spectroscopic methods, including the one responsible for the pink color, which remains unidentified. The differences in the plastic deformation features, and resulting CL properties, for the two groups might correlate to the particular geologic conditions under which the diamonds formed; those from Argyle and Santa Elena are deposits located within Proterozoic cratons, whereas most diamonds originate from Archean cratons.

Special Section: Cathodoluminescence
Copyright © Microscopy Society of America 2012

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