Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 112, Supplement 1, pp 275–289 | Cite as

The origin of Type II diamonds as inferred from Cullinan mineral inclusions

  • Nester KorolevEmail author
  • Maya Kopylova
  • John J. Gurney
  • Andy E. Moore
  • Jim Davidson
Original Paper


We studied a suite of Cullinan diamonds (<0.3 ct) with mineral inclusions, which comprised 266 Type I and 75 blank Type II (<20 ppm N) diamonds, as classified by infrared spectroscopy. More than 90% (n = 68) of Type II diamonds do not luminesce. In contrast, 51.9% (n = 177) of Type I diamonds luminesce, with blue colors of different intensity. Carbon isotopic compositions of Type I and II diamonds are similar, with δ13CVPDB ranging from −2.1 to −7.7‰ for Type I diamonds (n = 25), and from −1.3 to −7.8‰ for Type II diamonds (n = 20). The Type II diamonds are sourced from three parageneses, lithospheric lherzolitic (45%), lithospheric eclogitic (33%), and sublithospheric mafic (22%). The lherzolitic suite contains Cr-pyrope, forsterite, enstatite, clinopyroxene and Cr-spinel formed at 1090–1530 °C and P = 4.6–7.0 GPa. Lithospheric eclogitic diamonds containing garnet, omphacite, kyanite and coesite comprise 33% of Type II diamonds. The sublithospheric mafic paragenesis is mainly represented by Cr-free majorite, various CaSiO3 phases and omphacite equilibrated at 11.6–26 GPa, in the transition zone and the lower mantle. The lherzolitic paragenesis predominates in Type II diamonds, whereas 79% Type I diamonds are sourced from eclogites. The higher incidence of sublithospheric inclusions was found in Type II diamonds, 22% against 6% in Type I diamonds. The similarity of the mineral parageneses and C isotopic compositions in the small Cullinan Type II and Type I diamonds indicate the absence of distinct mantle processes and carbon sources for formation of studied Type II diamonds. The parent rocks and the carbon sources generally vary for Type II diamonds within a kimberlite and between kimberlites.


Type II diamonds Diamond inclusions Cullinan kimberlite Photoluminescence Diamond paragenesis Carbon isotopes 



We thank Yunbin Guan and Branko Deljanin for help with diamond analyses. We are indebted to Antony Burnham, an anonymous reviewer and handling editor Oded Navon for constructive comments that helped to improve the manuscript. This study was funded by the Dr. Eduard Gübelin Association through the 2015 Dr. Eduard Gübelin research scholarship to N.K. and by an NSERC Discovery Grant (04629) to M.K.

Supplementary material

710_2018_601_MOESM1_ESM.7z (2.2 mb)
ESM 1 (7Z 2286 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Precambrian Geology and Geochronology of the Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of GeologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  5. 5.School of Earth and Ocean SciencesUniversity of CardiffCardiffUK
  6. 6.Petra DiamondsJohannesburgSouth Africa

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