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The Diamond Plant

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

January 13, 2020

The Pandanus Candelabrum. The what now? This name probably doesn’t ring a bell. As you know, we generally do not write about plants. Yet I want to share this plant story with you. Because - as you might have guessed - this plant story is related to diamonds.

The Pandanus Candelabrum

The plant itself is actually not that remarkable. Botanists never paid much attention to this palm tree. At least until people found out diamonds “grew” under the roots of these plants.

Pandanus Candelabrum plant drawing and close-up The Pandanus Candelabrum is also known as the diamond plant

The diamond plant

A Pandanus Candelabrum is very important to people who look for new locations for diamond mines. According to geologists, diamond hunters go nuts when they find this plant. It looks like diamonds grew under these plants, but actually it is the other way around. This plant thrives perfectly on Kimberley rock. And where is kimberlite, there are often diamonds.

Kimberlite ground

Diamonds are formed at hundreds of kilometers deep and under intense heat and pressure. Sometimes a load of lava decides to surface. The lava takes surrounding rocks and layers with it. In that surrounding rock, the Kimberlite, has diamonds locked up inside it. This is how they come to the surface.

a rough diamond inside kimberlite A rough diamond inside Kimberlite

It can easily be centuries ago that these eruptions happened. Or even longer for that matter. The fire of the eruption has eroded and became part of the surface. The Pandanus Candelabrum plants feel at home in a soil that is rich in magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Coincidental, the Kimberlite is very rich of these substances.

Stephen Haggerty

Stephen Haggerty was a mineralogist at Florida International University. He and his team made the discovery of the unlikely combination of the palm tree and the diamonds under it. He described their discovery in the Journal of Economic Geology.

diamond ring on a plant leave

First known plant that unveils the presence of diamonds

There are plants that indicate the presence of certain metals and minerals in the ground. For example, plants that unveil the presence of copper. But because of Haggerty’s discovery, geologists and mineralogists found a new and easy way to find these beloved sparkling beauties, for me to polish.

More interesting diamond facts

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