In February of this year, Australian miners unearthed the world’s largest pink diamond. Discovered at the Argyle diamond mine in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia (the source of over 90% of the world’s pink diamonds), the 12.76 carat diamond was predicted to be worth at least $10 million. Mining industry giant and owner of Argyle mines, Rio Tinto, named the precious stone the Argyle Pink Jubilee and immediately sent it out for cutting and polishing.
According to Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson, “A diamond of this caliber is unprecedented. It has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone, and we may never see one like this again.” So of course, finding the diamond’s home was a topic of interest around the world. As large pink diamonds typically end up in the hands of museums, royalty, or auction houses, many wealthy investors have had their ears perked for pink for some time.
Five months later, in the sunny middle of July, the world’s largest pink diamond has finally found a home. The winner of the pink diamond race: the Melbourne Museum, via generous donation from the Rio Tinto company. Of the donation, David Peever, director of Rio Tinto’s Australian operations, has said, “This diamond is an incredible legacy… one we want to be on display for the public.”
The Argyle Pink Jubilee stands proud in the Melbourne Museum’s science and life gallery, as part of the “Dynamic Earth” exhibit. The diamond, without question, is the rarest find among its neighbors of over 3,000 precious gems and minerals – especially considering that pink diamonds take 1.8 billion years to form and make up only 0.03% of global diamond production.
The pink diamond is long renowned for its rarity and value. The Williamson Pink diamond gained worldwide attention when presented to Queen Elizabeth II as a wedding gift and later refashioned as a brooch for her coronation. The 24.78-carat Graff Pink diamond set the world auction record for both diamonds and gemstones in 2010. At a Sotheby’s Geneva auction, the glittering pink gem earned $46.2 million dollars, beating out the previous record of $10.7 million for the five-carat Vivid Pink Diamond at the Christie’s Hong Kong auction in 2009. Just this year, the very same auction sold the 12-carat Martian Pink diamond for $17.4 million, but the Argyle Pink has yet to be outshined.
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