Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine has given the US Smithsonian Institute 500 carats of rough diamonds as a gift.
The miner announced the gift of the diamonds at an Australian embassy event earlier this week, with Rio CEO Sam Walsh officially handing over the gift.
The donation of diamonds will be used by the Smithsonian for both exhibition and research purposes, and is the first collection of Argyle diamonds at the institution.
"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," Jeff post, the Smithsonian’s national gem and mineral collection curator, said.
“Rio Tinto’s generous donation fills a significant gap in the National Gem and Mineral Collection while giving scientists an unprecedented opportunity to study the unique properties of Australian diamonds," Post 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,” Walsh added.