Rio Tinto donates $12 million biggest pink diamond to a museum

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Largest pink diamond donated to Smithsonian

Mining company Rio Tinto has donated a 14.83-carat pink diamond to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Valued at $12 million, the pink diamond is one of the largest of its kind known and will be featured in a new exhibition about diamonds at the museum.

“Pink diamonds are among the rarest and most prized colored diamonds, so donating a spectacular 14.83-carat pink diamond to the Smithsonian helps ensure that future generations will be able to view and appreciate its dazzling beauty,” said Karen Walker, portfolio manager, Rio Tinto Iron & Titanium.

Pink diamonds form when carbon crystals are exposed to pressures of about 50,000 bar (725,000 psi) at high temperatures, forcing the crystals to rearrange into a pinkish-red hue. The “Type IIa” diamond donated by Rio Tinto is considered top quality, with a very even pink hue and high clarity that sparkles brilliantly.

A natural national treasure

“This pink diamond is a natural national treasure and a rare gem that few people will ever get the chance to see up close in its size and quality,” said Garrick Davis, Smithsonian mineral curator. “Diamonds are one of humanity’s most prized natural resources, and this donation helps bring the story of how these natural resources form deep within the Earth to life in a stunning way for museum visitors.”

The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a light pink diamond, similar in colour to The Williamson Pink, which is the diamond that Queen Victoria received as a wedding gift and was subsequently set into a brooch for her Coronation.

Initially estimated to be worth around $12 million, the cutting process has highlighted a number of internal flaws in the rock, which have severely affected its value. That would be the reason, The West argues, Rio is donating the diamond to Museum Victoria.

“The individual who gets to wear this remarkable pink diamond will be incredibly lucky indeed,” Argyle pink diamonds manager Josephine Johnson stated, according to Diamond News.

She went on to say that it is unprecedented in the company’s history.

“It has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again.”

Rio Tinto operates three diamond mines, the 100%-owned Argyle in Australia, 60%-owned Diavik in northern Canada, and Murowa in Zimbabwe, of which it has a 78% interest. Rio also has an advanced diamond project in India.

Last year Rio Tinto’s diamond business lost $76 million, including over $300 million in net impairments relating to capital costs needed to complete the Argyle underground project.

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