Platelet development in cuboid diamonds: Insights from micro-FTIR mapping

D. Howell*, C. J. O'Neill, K. J. Grant, W. L. Griffin, S. Y. O'Reilly, N. J. Pearson, R. A. Stern, T. Stachel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Fourier transform infrared mapping of diamonds can reveal detailed information on impurities, with a spatial context. We apply this technique, combined with in situ isotopic analysis of carbon, to the study of cuboid diamond growth in a sample that exhibits some mixed-habit growth. While there has been some uncertainty in the literature regarding sectoral differences in nitrogen aggregation and subsequent platelet development, the data from this study appear far more conclusive. We show that despite nitrogen being concentrated in octahedral sectors, there is no detectable difference in the concentration-adjusted rate of nitrogen aggregation within octahedral and cuboid sectors. However, the resultant platelet development is significantly reduced in cuboid sectors compared to contemporaneously formed octahedral sectors. This finding has significant implications for the classification of diamonds using the relationship between their platelet intensity and the absorption caused by B centres. It means that cuboid diamonds naturally fall below the linear relationship that has been termed regular, which would lead to them being incorrectly interpreted as having experienced heating or deformation. The data also support earlier suggestions that large hydrogen concentrations in the diamond-forming fluid may be required for cuboid growth. We further suggest that high nitrogen and hydrogen concentrations are required for mixed-habit diamond growth, which might be the product of specific fluid chemistries that occur in reducing mantle environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1025
Number of pages15
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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