The donation includes 500 carats of rough diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine and will be used by the Smithsonian for exhibiting and research purposes, particularly on researching the origin of the pink colour in Argyle diamonds. It is the first collection of Argyle diamonds at the Smithsonian Institution.
Dr Jeff Post, Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection said the donation, “will allow us to study in more detail, the unique properties of diamonds from one of the world’s great ore bodies.” Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine is the world’s largest producer of natural coloured diamonds and was instrumental in developing the US market for champagne and cognac coloured diamonds in the early 1990s. The Argyle mine is also the first and only ongoing source of pink diamonds in the world.
Chief executive Sam Walsh said, “This donation of Argyle diamonds represents an important piece of Australian mining history and we hope that it will be enjoyed by millions of people for many years to come.”