Australia’s biggest pink rough diamond has been discovered at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, the world’s largest producer of rare pink diamonds. The 12.76-carat pink diamond, discovered in the Argyle open pit, will be known as The Argyle Pink Jubilee, Rio Tinto said in a statement. Australian mining company expects that after two months of assessment and planning, it will take ten days to cut and polish the diamond into a single stone.
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, said Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager Josephine Johnson in a statement.
Rio produces more than 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds from the Argyle mine, and said large stones like the Jubilee typically went to museums, were gifted to royalty or end up at prestigious auction houses like Christie’s. Christie’s had only auctioned 18 polished pink diamonds larger than 10 carats in its 244-year history, Rio added.
Diamond polisher Richard How Kim Kam, who has worked for Argyle for 25 years, has started work on polishing the diamond in Perth, Australia. I’m going to take it very carefully. I know the world will be watching, Richard said. When the diamond has been cut and polished it will be graded by a team of experts and promoted internationally before being sold as part of the Argyle pink diamonds tender later this year.
Rio Tinto said diamonds in its special collection regularly sold for $1 million per carat. He cited as a benchmark the 24.78-carat fancy intense pink diamond sold by Sotheby’s Geneva office in November, 2010 for more than $46 million, which set the world’s auction record for any diamond and jewel at $1.86 million per carat.