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Rio Tinto gifts Australian diamonds to the Smithsonian Institution

Rio Tinto gifts Australian diamonds to the Smithsonian Institution

15 September 2014

Rio Tinto has announced a donation of a significant sample of Australian rough diamonds to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, the world’s largest museum and research complex and home to the most notable diamonds and diamond jewellery in the world.

Argyle rought diamonds donated to Smithsonian
Argyle rought diamonds donated to Smithsonian

At an event at the Australian Embassy hosted by The Honourable Kim Beazley, Australian Ambassador to the Unites States, the diamond donation was officially handed over to the Smithsonian Institution by Rio Tinto’s Chief executive, Sam Walsh AO.

Comprising 500 carats of rough diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the remote north west of Australia, Rio Tinto’s donation will be used by the Smithsonian for exhibiting and research purposes. 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, “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.”

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. Argyle pink diamonds are among the most intriguing, complex and highly valued gems in the world and the Smithsonian is particularly focused on researching the origin of the pink colour in Argyle diamonds.

Chief executive Sam Walsh said, “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.”

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