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The Argyle Pink Jubilee Diamond

A while back I posted a blog, Mining for Pink Diamonds, about the discovery in 2011 of a rough pink diamond weighing 12.76 carats at the Argyle Mine in Western Australia. It was the largest pink diamond ever found in the country. Estimated to be worth millions, the diamond was named the Argyle Pink Jubilee and was to be cut and polished in Perth, before being sold in late 2012.


Then there was silence. There was no mention of this astonishing find again and it failed to turn up in the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender, an exclusive, annual, invitation only sale of pink diamonds which forms the highlight of the coloured diamond industry’s calendar. Then, suddenly, it appeared in a news clip from the Australian Broadcasting Company saying that it was being donated to the Melbourne Museum. A press release stated that,

“The pink beauty was recovered at the Argyle Diamond Mine in August 2011, and after undergoing a painstaking cutting process to achieve 8.01 carats, a gletz prevented the Argyle Pink Jubilee from making the grade for the 2012 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.”

A gletz?

A gletz then! A gletz is a ‘feather’, a visible flaw inside a diamond which can seriously affect its clarity grade and, hence, its value. Faced with the decision to change the plan and cut several, much smaller stones, or to try to preserve one substantial pink diamond, the owners chose the latter. Too flawed now to make the grade for tender, the diamond was donated to the Melbourne Museum.

Donated to a museum

“Preserving its special legacy, Rio Tinto has donated the extraordinary gem to the Melbourne Museum, where it will be on permanent display alongside other notable artefacts.” As Josephine Johnson, manager of Argyle Pink Diamonds explains, “The Argyle Pink Jubilee is an outstanding example of the unique challenges inherent in pink diamonds which, unlike white diamonds, make them incredibly difficult to cut.”

"Priceless gem"

David Peever, Managing director of Rio Tinto Australia, went on, “The journey of the Argyle Pink Jubilee is a remarkable story of buried treasure, global excitement and the mysterious geology of the most concentrated form of wealth on earth. Over 1.8 billion years in the making, the Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond is truly a priceless gem, which will become a permanent record of an important part of Australian mining history.”

Always flawed?

So there you have it. Even the precise and highly technical art of diamond cutting must sometimes bow its head to Mother Nature. Whether the gletz had been there prior to cutting and wasn’t noticed until the process began, or whether it had occurred during the cutting process itself was never really revealed. But visitors to the Melbourne Museum can now see the half finished stone and marvel at what might have been.

If you have any diamonds that you wish to have valued then please contact Simon Rufus, diamond grader at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.