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Biggest Australian pink at 12.76 carats
Biggest Australian pink at 12.76 carats

Australia’s $20 million, 12 carat pink diamond

A 12.76 carat pink diamond has been unearthed at the Argyle mine and is expected to sell for an estimated $20 million.

Dubbed the Argyle Pink Jubilee, the rare stone is the largest stone ever of its nature unearthed in Australia. Found at Rio Tinto's pink diamond operations in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, experts believe the illustrious stone will fetch between USD$10-20 million if auctioned.

In a company statement, Rio’s Argyle Pink Diamonds manager, Josephine Johnson, said it would take approximately 10 days to cut and polish the stone, which is likely to be auctioned at the annual Rio Pink Diamonds Tender held later this year.

“A diamond of this calibre is unprecedented and generating incredible excitement,” Johnson said. “It’s taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again.”

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.

Largest Australian pink diamond
Regular Argyle Pink Diamond bidder, John Calleija of Calleija Jewellers, said the stone’s high value stems from the stone’s clarity, colour and incredible size.

“This is very historic because it’s the biggest pink ever found in Australia,” Calleija told Jeweller. “It seems an ambitious amount at the outset, but it’ll end up about 5-6 carats once it’s cut and with pinks, you just never know how much people are willing to pay for it.”

Diamond jeweller Olivar Musson of Sydney-based Musson Jewellers said the discovery was bound to spark an increased interest in Argyle’s pinks especially with people who previously knew little about pink diamonds.

“News like this is bound to create fabulous hype in the market and for those who know pinks, well they want more,” Musson told Jeweller. “For those who don’t know, well now they have an insight into the amazing world of ultimate luxury and rarity.”

Traditionally large pinks were mined outside Australia, particularly stones in excess of 10 carats according to Musson. But he said the biggest difference between Argyle pink diamonds and foreign pinks was colour and clarity.

Australian pinks world’s best
“Argyle produces the pure pink diamonds with purple hues and deeper intensities,” Musson added. “The Australian product always outperforms the foreign pink in per carat prices achieved.”

Calleija said the Argyle Pink’s attract the wealthiest of diamond enthusiasts from all over the world and usually Rio’s bidders are willing to pay top dollar for the preferred stones.

“Argyle Pinks are the most famous pink diamonds in the world because of where they come from,” Calleija said. “If it’s an Argyle Pink Diamond people know its popularity and value so they [Argyle pinks] are always preferred.”

Traditionally large stones of this magnitude either went to museums, were gifted to royalty or auctioned off at world-renowned auction houses like Christie’s.

“It’s hard to determine what they [Rio] will do at this point, it’s too early to call,” Calleija said. “It’s a very important diamond so they may want to keep it to tender.”

British billionaire jeweller, Laurence Graff, spent a whopping 29 million pounds for a rare pink weighing 24.78 carats at a 2010 auction, the record for the most money spent on a diamond.  

Bidding for over 20 years, Calleija is one of the few Australian bidders invited to the annual Rio tenders. Last year’s tender, held in Hong Kong, saw keen interest from Asian bidders, particularly China and Japan.

When the Jubilee has been cut and polished international diamond experts will grade the stone before it's showcased and sold by invitation-only tender later this year.

More reading:
Rio announces winning bids for rare diamonds
Pink diamond sets Asian auction record

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