The largest pink diamond ever uncovered in Australia has found a permanent home, after Rio Tinto donated the stone to the Melbourne Museum.

 

The much-hyped diamond was unearthed by Rio Tinto 2011 in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and was initially predicted to sell at auction for between $10-20 million.

The 12.76-carat pink diamond was larger than the legendary 12.04-carat ‘Martian Pink’, which sold for over $17 million at a Christie’s auction in May 2012. However, the diamond that was dubbed the ‘Argyle Pink Jubilee’ could only be partially cut and polished, meaning it was degraded to 8.01-carats.

Rio donated the gem to the Melbourne Museum, and it is now part of the Dynamic Earth Exhibition, which features displays of more than 3,000 minerals and gems.

“As the largest pink diamond found in Australia, this is an important and spectacular piece of Australia’s mining history,” Museum Victoria public engagement director Tim Hart said. “We are very appreciative of Rio Tinto for donating the diamond and are excited to be able to share its story at Melbourne Museum.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Museum Victoria to have a permanent record of an important piece of Australian mining history,” he added.

Rio Tinto Australia managing director David Peever said the donation continued the company’s “long tradition of gifting important mineral collections to Museum Victoria,” and hoped that the diamond would be “enjoyed by many generations to come”.

Rio’s Argyle mine accounts for 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds and supply is expected to come to an end in 2019 – adding rarity to the stone’s value.

“A diamond of this caliber is unprecedented and generating incredible excitement,” Rio Tinto Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said after the discovery. “It’s taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again.”