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Surprising Science

Diamonds — Lots Of Them — Are Russia’s Best Friends

The Russian government has revealed the existence of a field containing enough diamonds to turn the country into a much greater player in the gem industry.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Technically, the discovery itself is not new: Back in the 1970s, a huge diamond field was found beneath a 62-mile-diameter crater in Siberia. What’s new is that, after years of keeping this information secret, the Russian government let the world know about it today, sending shock waves through the international gem market. The gems, classified as “impact diamonds,” are the result of an asteroid slamming into an existing diamond field. They are also twice as hard as typical diamonds, which makes them ideal for high-precision industrial and scientific applications. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The Soviets kept the existence of this field secret for so long because of its already profitable diamond industry as well as its heavy investment in the production of artificial diamonds. Now that the veil has been lifted, revealing enough diamonds “to supply global markets for another 3,000 years,” Russia is considered the “monopoly proprietor” of a resource that’s becoming more and more valuable. “The resources of super-hard diamonds [found in the crater] are by a factor of ten bigger than the world’s all known reserves…The value of impact diamonds is added by their unusual abrasive features and large grain size.

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