Miners Down Under may be on the cusp of a new source of coloured diamonds following an extremely rare discovery.
Australian junior diamond mining group India Bore Diamond Holdings (IBDH) has unearthed a deposit at its Ellendale site containing fancy yellow diamonds that display a purple fluorescence when placed under ultraviolet (UV) light.
The finding, the group says, may form part of an undiscovered population of diamonds that could be extremely valuable.
“The purple colour came as a complete surprise and may indicate that a new primary source of diamonds is nearby,” says IBDH spokesperson, Patrick Stringer. “So far, we know these special diamonds are contained within a specific area, known as the L-Channel. We have a very detailed understanding of the L-Channel deposit, but we never expected to discover that brilliant fancy yellow diamonds would fluoresce purple.”
According to IBDH, natural fluorescence occurs in about 30 per cent of diamonds and more than 95 per cent of these fluoresce blue, with yellow and green representing a small percentage.
Perth-based Delta Diamond Laboratory is investigating the nature of the purple fluorescence and the signature pure yellow colour of the Ellendale diamonds.
“Violet or purple fluorescence is normally associated with blue diamonds, so the fluorescence of these Ellendale fancy yellow diamonds is quite rare,” says John Chapman, a diamond scientist with Delta.
The L-Channel Diamond Project is a newly identified alluvial diamond resource within the Ellendale diamond field and is estimated to contain at least 1.3 million carats of gem-quality diamonds, including fancy yellows, IBDH says. The project value is estimated at more than AUD 1.5 billion.