Rio Tinto said it recovered Australia’s largest rough pink diamond, a 12.76-carat stone, at its Argyle open pit mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia.
The diamond, to be named the “Argyle Pink Jubilee,” is a light pink diamond and similar in color to the Williamson Pink that Queen Elizabeth received as a wedding gift and which was set in a brooch for her coronation.
“A diamond of this calibre 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.
The diamond will be cut and polished in Perth by Richard How Kim Kam. He has worked for Argyle for the past 25 years and spent the past two months assessing this pink diamond. He estimated that it will take 10 days to cut and polish it as a single stone.
“I’m going to take it very carefully. I know the world will be watching,” he said
Once the diamond has been cut, a team of international experts will grade it. Subsequently, it will be showcased and sold as part of the Argyle Pink Diamonds tender later this year.
Large pink diamonds generally go to museums, are gifted to royalty or end up at auction houses. Rio Tinto noted that Christie’s has only auctioned 18 polished pink diamonds over 10 carats in its 244 year history.