Diamond from the Guaniamo area, Venezuela

F. V. Kaminsky*, O. D. Zakharchenko, W. L. Griffin, D. M D Channer, G. K. Khachatryan-Blinova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


More than 5,000 diamond crystals (or fragments) from kimberlite sills and placer deposits in the Guaniamo area of Venezuela have been characterized in terms of morphology, internal structure, carbon isotopic composition, syngenetic mineral inclusions, and the abundance and aggregation state of nitrogen. Ours is the first comprehensive mineralogical study of diamond from the Guaniamo area. About 50% of the crystals are resorbed dodecahedral forms; octahedra are the next most common form. In most cases, the diamond is colorless; 55-90% show radiation-induced pigmentation. About 20% of the stones have very low N contents (Type II); the remainder belong to the transitional IaAB type, with B > A. Ninety-three mineral inclusions were extracted from 77 crystals or fragments of diamond and analyzed by electron microprobe and LAM-ICP-MS to establish their traceelement compositions and the pressures and temperatures of diamond crystallization. In all, 86% of the diamond samples contain inclusions of the eclogitic paragenesis, represented by garnet, omphacite, rutile, ilmenite, pyrrhotite, and probable coesite. Inclusions indicative of the peridotite paragenesis are pyrope, chromian spinel and olivine. One inclusion of ferroan periclase may indicate a lower-mantle origin. The δ13C of 108 diamond samples ranges from -3.2‰ to -28.7‰, but most stones have δ13C ≤10‰. We contend that in large part, the diamond in placers in the Guaniamo area was derived from the Guaniamo kimberlite sills. P-T estimates on mineral inclusions suggest that most originated near the base of the lithosphere (T 1200-1300°C); this zone may contain a substantial proportion of eclogite formed by subduction of crustal material. The very high proportion of diamond derived from an eclogitic association in the Guaniamo deposits, and several features of the mineral inclusions trapped in diamond, show striking parallels to the Argyle deposit of Australia. Both deposits occur within cratons that have experienced extensive Protarozoic tectonothermal activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1370
Number of pages24
JournalCanadian Mineralogist
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Carbon isotope
  • Diamond
  • Eclogitic association
  • Guaniamo
  • Mineral inclusions
  • Nitrogen
  • Venezuela


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