An Australian mining company says it has found a 12.76-carat pink diamond, the largest rough diamond found in the country.
The rare diamond was found at Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia’s East Kimberly region.
Large stones like the Jubilee usually go to museums or wind up in high-profile auction houses like Christie’s. Christie’s has auctioned 18 painted pink diamonds greater than 10 carats in its 244-year existence. The Jubilee was supposed to travel globally before being sold at an invitation-only auction.
Estimated to be worth millions, it has been named the Argyle Pink Jubilee, and is being cut and polished in Perth.
More than 90% of the pink diamonds in the world come from the Argyle mine, a Rio Tinto statement said.
The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a light pink diamond, the company said. It is similar in colour to The Williamson Pink – the diamond found in Tanzania that Queen Elizabeth II received as a wedding gift and which was subsequently set into a brooch for her coronation.
A Rio Tinto spokesperson said that a diamond of this calibre was ”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 Manager Josephine Johnson.
The Argyle Pink Jubilee – Australia’s largest pink diamond – has been donated by Rio Tinto to Melbourne Museum, home to the nation’s most comprehensive natural science display.
In 2010, a rare 24.78-carat “fancy intense pink” diamond was sold for a record-breaking $46 million (£29m), the highest price ever paid for a jewel, to a well-known British dealer at an auction in Geneva.
That diamond had been in a private collection for 60 years.