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Argyle pink diamonds on display in Melbourne

Monday, November 7th, 2022

The Melbourne Museum has put what is believed to be the world’s rarest pink diamond in on show: The Argyle Violet.

The Melbourne Museum has put what is believed to be the world’s rarest pink diamond in on show: The Argyle Violet.

The 2.83-carat Australian diamond comes from the now shuttered Argyle mine in the Kimberley region and will join the new Pink Diamonds exhibit at the museum.

The exhibit is the largest collection of Australian pink diamonds to be shown in the world.

The star of the show, the 2.83-carat gem, has been housed in New York with L.J. West Diamonds since 2016.

William Gant, Australian managing director for L.J. West, did not reveal how much the company paid for the diamond in 2016, but said the gem is now not technically for sale and would be “in the tens of millions”.

“The value is, ‘What is your price? And then we’ll think about it’,” he said. “It’s one of those things that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

“It’s a very unusual stone; we posit that [it] is perhaps the rarest diamond in the world because of its characteristics.

“Its colour, its size, just the amazing uniqueness of the origin of the colour as well.”

Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine closed in November 2020 and turned up some significant findings in its 38 years of operation.

When it closed, it was the fourth-biggest diamond-producing site in the world and, at one point, the Argyle mine produced 90 per cent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds.

The Argyle diamond mine

Museums Victoria director and chief executive Lynley Crosswell said the museum was staging the exhibition so the public could have access to the incredibly rare and precious gems.

“What makes them so special really is the colour, and the colour is only made possible due to specific occurrences in the earth,” she said. “The more of us who can enjoy colour and light and brilliance that’s produced by the earth, the better.”

Rehabilitation at the Argyle site is ongoing, after a historic agreement was reached between Rio Tinto and the Traditional Owners of the land was reached in 2005.

Crosswell said the museum acknowledged the Traditional Owners in the exhibition.

“The history there is a long and complex one, and the commitment of Museums Victoria is to continue to work with those Traditional Owners to tell their stories and to acknowledge the developing relationships that those communities are having with mining companies,” she said.

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