Category Archives: Australia

Merlin Mines has just unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond


Merlin Diamonds (ASX:MED) has unearthed Australia’s fifth largest diamond from its namesake mine in Australia’s Northern Territory, currently in the ramp up phase.

The company said the 35.26 carat brown diamond was among a number of rough gems found at its Merlin mine, including a 14.6 carat brown rock as well as a number of smaller white diamonds.

Shares in the company jumped 7% to $0.015 after the announcement.

Last month, the company found a very rare blue coloured diamond, believed to be the first blue gem produced at Merlin.


The blue diamond found last month. (Image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds)

Blue diamonds are even more unusual than pink ones, normally found at Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

In June last year, a massive intense blue diamond, known as The Cullinan Dream, fetched $25.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

Australia’s largest diamond, a 104.73 carat stone, was discovered at Merlin, which was run by Rio Tinto and Ashton Mining between 1999-2003, before being acquired in 2014 by Merlin Diamonds, formerly North Australian Diamonds.


Henry Sapiecha

Massive diamond unearthed in Russia


A massive 78.02 carat diamond, worth more than half a million dollars, has been unearthed on the Mirny Mir (Peaceful World) mine in Russia.

The regular shaped stone measures 28.5 by 28.3 by 24.2 millimetres, according to documents secured by infomine, and has only minor technogenic damages and small inclusions

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The rock has been described at transparent, with a yellowish and greenish hue.

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The largest stone ever extracted from the mine was found in 1980, weighed in at 342.5 carats, and was dubbed the XXVI Communist Party Congress, with another 145 carat diamond found in 2013.

Last year Petra Diamonds found a 232.08 carat diamond worth $22 million at its Cullinan mine in South Africa, while Australian miner Gem Diamonds found two 160 carat diamonds at their Letseng mine in February 2014.

However, one of the most impressive Australian finds in recent times was a 753 carat sapphire found by a fossicker, who reportedly simply found it on the ground.


Henry Sapiecha


British tourist jailed for four years over $250,000 diamond theft in Cairns in far north Queensland


A 31-year-old British national who stole a diamond worth $250,000 in Cairns last year has been sentenced to four years in jail by a far north Queensland court.

The District Court heard Matthew Mark Luke John Osborne ran from the Cairns jewellery store with the rare pink argyle diamond in February last year, after asking to see the gem up close.

Police used security camera footage and fingerprints to track Osborne.

He was arrested at a Melbourne airport as he was about to board a flight to New Zealand several days after the theft.

When Osborne was arrested he told police he swallowed the gem, but it was never recovered.

Today, his lawyer said the diamond had actually been lost during a camping trip and that Osborne’s decision to steal it had been spontaneous.



Henry Sapiecha


Scientists reveal diamond bearing rocks more common than originally thought


A team of Australian scientists have unveiled a ground-breaking study that identifies, for the first time, the exact source of diamond-bearing rocks known as orangeites.

The paper reveals that orangeites —until now believed to be common only to South Africa— may be present in much higher abundance worldwide

Published Monday in the April edition of Nature Communications, the paper reveals that orangeites —until now believed to be common only to South Africa— may be present in much higher abundance worldwide, especially in Australia.

Rough on the outside, these rocks contain not only treasured diamonds but also tiny fragments of mantle and crustal rocks. By using highly sophisticated geochemical and isotopic analytical techniques, the scientists were able to link those fragments to the source of the orangeites, deep in the interior of the planet.

“We found strong evidence that orangeites are sourced from MARID (Mica-Amphibole-Rutile-Ilmenite-Diopside) mantle, which up until recently had only been recognised in South Africa,” leading author, Professor Fiorentini — from The University of Western Australia — said in a statement.  “However, ongoing studies suggest that MARID mantle may occur in other continents, including here in Australia.”

The group also found evidence that suggests orangeites were formed from lava produced by massive volcanic eruptions several tens of millions of years ago. Until now, the common belief was that diamonds were formed about 990 million years ago.

Tourist charged over pink diamond theft in Cairns Australia yet to see fate

The missing diamond.

A British tourist charged over the theft of a rare pink diamond in Cairns will learn his fate next month.

Detectives allege Matthew Mark Luke John Osborne, 30, stole the Argyle diamond, worth more than $100,000, from a Cairns jeweller in February last year.

He was arrested at Melbourne Airport five days later as he prepared to board a flight to the UK via New Zealand.

The diamond has never been found.

Osborne’s case was mentioned briefly in the Cairns District Court on Tuesday when a sentencing date was set down for April 30. He has entered no plea.

His lawyer, Vicki Toong, asked for the delay to allow mental health reports to arrive from the UK.

Osborne has been in custody since his arrest.



Henry Sapiecha

This pink diamond gold coin is set to make history

This pink diamond gold coin is set to make history

The Perth Mint unveiled Tuesday a gold coin worth over US$6,000 (almost A$9,000), which features a rare Argyle pink diamond to depict a Kimberley sunset over a boab tree in the northwest wilderness region of Western Australia.

Struck in two ounces (56 grams) of 22-karat gold to proof quality, the 2015 Kimberly Sunset Pink Gold High Relief coin comes at a special moment, says the Mint, as the end of mining at Rio Tinto’s (LON:RIO) Argyle mine is around the corner.

This pink diamond gold coin is set to make history

Reports estimate the Argyle open-pit mine, where the coin’s gem is from, will remain open about five more years.

The reverse side of the piece, the first Australian legal tender gold coin to include a rare Argyle pink diamond, features an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II and the monetary denomination.

This pink diamond gold coin is set to make history


Henry Sapiecha

Argyle champagne diamond raises money for Women in Mining internship


A champagne diamond from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine has been used to raise funds to sponsor a female mining intern from London’s Imperial College.

The Rio Tinto internship was announced at a Women in Mining event on the side-lines of Europe’s leading mining investment and capital raising conference, the Mines and Money conference in London.

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Rio Tinto’s Diamonds and Minerals vice president of Human Resources, Gina Jardine said “we are delighted to support Women in Mining and look forward to providing the successful intern with a rich experience and exposure to Rio Tinto’s global business.”

Ms Jardine also spoke about the links between Argyle diamonds and women’s empowerment including the location of the Argyle Diamond Mine on a sacred women’s site and their participation in the economic benefits of diamond mining, along with having a voice in the mining decisions that affect their interests.

Henry Sapiecha


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Police appeal after diamond ring worth $577,000 stolen – Alexandria

Attention sign image

Sunday, 28 September 2014 04:06:38 PM

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Police are appealing for public assistance after a unique diamond ring worth more than half a million dollars was stolen from an auction centre at Alexandria yesterday.

Between 12.30pm and 1.25pm (Saturday 27 September 2014), a pink argyle and white diamond ring valued at $577,000 was stolen from a display counter at an auction centre on Ralph Street.

An attendant discovered the ring missing and contacted police.

Officers from Redfern Local Area Command commenced an investigation into the theft and are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

It’s estimated about 100 people walked through the auction centre during the time it was stolen.

Each of the diamonds in the ring is laser inscribed with a serial number.

Police are urging anyone with information about this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

A unique pink Argyle and white diamond ring valued at $577,000 has been stolen from an auction centre in Sydney, Australia.

The piece of jewellery ring was snatched from a display counter around noon on Saturday and police have been unable to find it so far.

Each of the diamonds in the ring is laser inscribed with a serial number, New South West Police said in a statement Sunday.

Henry Sapiecha

This $2 million cardinal red diamond is the hero in Rio’s annual tender


A suitably named hero diamond, the “Argyle Cardinal,” is the main piece of Rio Tinto’s annual tender of ­Argyle’s rare coloured diamonds being held in Sydney, Australia, between Tuesday and Friday.

The 1.21-carat radiant cut rock, expected to fetch over US$2 million, is one of the only 13 Fancy red diamonds included in the annual display in the last 30 years.  It was named after a small red northern American bird.

The 1.21-carat radiant cut Argyle Cardina diamond expected to fetch over US$2 million image

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

“These are all one-of-a-kind gems that will take their place in the history of great collectible diamonds,” Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said in a statement.

There are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.image

Last year a precious rock like this one set a record at auction at Christies’ in New York of $1.6 million per carat.

Increasingly rare

Diamonds are becoming an increasingly rare item as fewer mines remain in operation and new discoveries dwindle.

Polished diamond prices increased 4.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a study published Tuesday by EY, and further upside is expected for the second half of the year, driven mainly by rising demand, recent transactions and availability of financing.

Since the 1870’s, when the first kimberlite was found, another 6,800 kimberlites have been discovered worldwide. Of those, only about 1,000 contained diamonds, and of those only 60 actually contained diamonds on an economic level.

Rio Tinto controls the market for pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. Around 65% of the world’s diamond supplies come from the Cullinan mine in South Africa.

Tender viewings will be held in Sydney, New York, Hong Kong and Perth with bids closing on October 8, 2014.

Henry Sapiecha