By Erika Winters
Rio Tinto has donated 500 carats of Argyle rough diamonds to the Smithsonian Institution. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.
Rio Tinto has donated 500 carats of rough diamonds from its Argyle mine to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The donation, which will be exhibited and used for research, is the first Argyle diamond collection ever at the Smithsonian.
“Rio Tinto’s generous donation is a significant addition to our gem collection and will allow us to study in more detail the unique properties of diamonds from one of the world’s great ore bodies,” said Dr. Jeff Post, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Gem and Mineral Collection.
The Argyle diamond mine is the world’s largest producer of natural colored diamonds and is the largest source of pink diamonds. Over 90% of the world’s pink diamonds originate from the Argyle mine. Rio Tinto stated that the Smithsonian is focused on researching how Argyle pink diamonds get their distinctive color.
“We are honoured to partner with such an esteemed scientific institution as the Smithsonian, and we are proud to share Rio Tinto’s story of our unique Argyle diamonds. 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,” said Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh.