An “impossibly rare” violet diamond, plucked deep from a remote mine in the north of Western Australia, will go on tour later this week, with an estimated value of nearly $4 million.
The gemstone, originally 9.17 carats, was the largest jewel of its kind ever discovered when found last summer at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine. It has since been polished down to a 2.83 carat oval-shaped beauty.
“Rio Tinto said that the jewel had been assessed by the Gemological Institute of America, and while they said it would be the centerpiece of their upcoming show, they would not disclose its estimated value,” according to the website Red Orbit. “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.”
The diamond has been assessed by the Gemological Institute of America as a “notable diamond with the color grade of Fancy Deep Greyish Bluish Violet.”
“It is not known how diamonds acquire their colored tinge but it is thought to come from a molecular structure distortion as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust or makes its way to the surface,” according to Agence France-Presse.
The Argyle Violet is the largest such diamond Rio Tinto had ever recovered from the mine.
London-based Rio Tinto said that violet diamonds are extremely rare, and that only 12 carats of such polished stone have been produced during the 32 years the Argyle mine has been in operation.
Other unusually colored diamonds, including those that are pink or red, are typically worth 50 times more than regular white diamonds, the firm told the Daily Mail. Some of them have even sold for as much as $1.95 million per carat, it said.
The Argyle Violet gem was polished in Western Australia by one of Argyle’s master polishers, according to a Rio Tinto press release. The diamond’s tour will take it to Copenhagen, Hong Kong and New York, the company added.
(Top: The Argyle Violet diamond – the big, purty one – next to smaller diamonds.)