Turns out the world's 'oldest diamonds' are just polishing compound
For years they were known as the oldest geological materials ever found: 4.3 billion-year-old diamonds.
But thanks to a new study, we now know these diamonds are just polishing grit.
In 2007, Nature published a report in which researchers claimed to have "unearthed diamonds more than 4 billion years old and trapped inside crystals of zircon in the Jack Hills region in Western Australia," LiveScience wrote.
A team of three researchers has now discovered that the 'diamonds' are actually just a 'contamination' – "broken fragments of a diamond-polishing compound that got embedded when the zircon specimen was prepared for analysis by the authors of the Nature papers," URC Today (from the University of California, Riverside where two of the researchers are from) writes.
Authors of the original study provided URC researchers with the original diamond-bearing specimens.
"We confirm the presence of diamonds in their zircons but the diamonds we find are fragments of polishing compound," the study abstract reads.
"There can be no doubt of the images we show," Harry Green, a UCR research geophysicist and study co-author told LiveScience. "Polishing the specimens with grinding compound that was made of diamonds was a terrible mistake."