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Jason Withers
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Jason Withers Interviewed for SBS Radio Broadcast

22/2/2012 05:52:52

Expert diamond cutter Richard How Kim Kam examines the 12.76 carat pink diamond.Australia’s biggest pink rough diamond has been unearthed in the East Kimberley.

The 12.76 carat stone which was discovered at the Rio Tinto Argyle mine is among the largest and most valuable pink diamonds in the world. Rio estimates they have a further 10-year supply from this mine, and hope that even larger diamonds are yet to come.

The rarest of rare, pink diamonds are known to fetch about $1 million per carat on the market.

The diamond will be known as the Argyle Pink Jubilee, Rio Tinto said in a statement.

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

Master Jewellery Designer and Diamond Grader Jason Withers says "Something with like that with the intensity of colour is highly saturated... It is of a deep hue and the beauty and scintillation and look of the stone is magnificent. It could be worth four or five millions dollars per carat."

Expert diamond polisher Richard How Kim Kam, who has been at Argyle for 25 years, started the work to begin polishing the pink diamond, Rio Tinto said. After two months of assessment and planning, it will take about 10 days to cut and polish the diamond as a single stone.

“I’m going to take it very carefully,” he said. “I know the world will be watching.”

When the diamond has been cut and polished it will be graded by a team of international experts and showcased to the world before being sold as part of the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender later this year. The best Argyle pink diamonds are shown in major cities around the world to a select group of diamond dealers where they view the diamonds and place silent bids on the ones that catch their eye. They find out months later if their bids have won.

“A diamond of this caliber is unprecedented—it has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again,” said Josephine Johnson, Argyle Pink Diamonds manager.

More than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine.

Large pink diamonds tend to go to museums, are gifted to royalty or end up at auction houses. Christie’s auction house has only sold 18 polished pink diamonds over 10 carats in its 244 year history.

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