Said to be a gemstone that comes along only once in a generation, a 12.76-carat pink diamond – now called the Argyle Pink Jubilee – was unearthed in the famous Argyle Mine located in the far northeast area of Western Australia.
Mining group Rio Tinto is entrusting diamond polisher Richard How Kim Kam with the task of transforming the rough stone into a faceted masterpiece, according to Reuters. Kam has studied the diamond for two months and has started the 10-day process of cutting and polishing the rare gem. Reported to be the largest uncut pink diamond ever discovered in Australia, the stone may lose half its weight during the cutting process.
“I’m going to take it very carefully,” Kam told Reuters. “I know the world will be watching.” Putting the rarity of the diamond into historical perspective, Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager Josephine Johnson said: “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.” The Argyle mine is responsible for more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds.
Though representatives of Rio Tinto would not speculate on how much the Jubilee was worth, high-quality pink diamonds can fetch in excess of $1 million per carat. Depending on the final weight of the polished diamond, the Jubilee could sell for as much as $10 million.
The Jubilee, which has a pale pink color, is reminiscent of The Williamson Pink, a flawless 54-carat uncut diamond that was received as a wedding gift by Britain’s Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947. It was later faceted and set into the center of a flower brooch for Elizabeth’s Coronation in 1952. The Williamson was discovered in Tanzania and is ranked among the finest pink diamonds in existence.
The Jubilee was named in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, as she celebrates 60 years since her accession to the British throne.
Here’s a little trivia: The Williamson Pink (worn by the Queen in the photo above) is said to be the inspiration for the Pink Panther diamond featured in the 1963 film of the same name.
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