‘Impossibly rare violet diamond’ discovered in Australia

An “impossibly rare” gemstone discovered in the remote Argyle mine of Australia will be featured at London-based mining company Rio Tinto’s annual pink diamonds showcase later on this week, according to reports published by the AFP and Daily Mail Australia.

The gemstone in question is a rare violet diamond that, at 9.17 carats, was the largest jewel of its kind ever discovered, the media outlets said. It was originally unearthed in August 2015 and after several weeks of assessment, it was polished down to a 2.83 carat oval-shaped diamond.

Rio Tinto said that the jewel had been assessed by the Geomological Institute of America, and while they said it would be the centerpiece of their upcoming show, they would not disclose its estimated value. However, the firm noted that they expected to receive a significant amount of interest from potential buyers, and some figures suggest it could bring in $3.96 million.

“Impossibly rare and limited by nature, the Argyle Violet will be highly sought after for its beauty, size and provenance,” Patrick Coppens, the company’s general manager of sales, said in a statement. “This stunning violet diamond will capture the imagination of the world’s leading collectors and connoisseurs,” added Argyle pink diamonds manager Josephine Johnson.


The mine where the diamond was discovered.

So how did this rare violet diamond come to be, anyway?

Unfortunately, specific details about how and why the gemstone acquired its unusual coloring are unknown, according to the AFP. However, experts believe that it may be due to a distortion to its molecular structure that occurs as the gem forms in the crust or comes to the surface.

The company said that violet diamonds are extremely rare, and that only 12 carats of polished stone has been produced over the last three decades. The newfound jewel is the largest Rio Tinto had ever recovered from the Argyle mine, making it a unique offering in its showcase.

Other unusually colored diamonds, including those that are pink or red, are typically worth 50 times more than regular white diamonds, the firm told Daily Mail Australia. Some of them have even sold for as much as $1.95 million (AUD$2.6million) per carat, they said.

The Argyle Violet gem was polished in Western Australia master polisher Richard How Kim Kam, according to a Rio Tinto press release. It has been given the color grade of Fancy Deep Greyish Bluish Violet, and private viewings for the violet diamond will begin next month. The diamond’s tour will travel to Copenhagen, Hong Kong and New York, the company added.


Image credit: AFP