When we picture the Australian Outback, we may think of red sands and green bush, but occasionally it throws up something violet – and rare.
This week, the largest ever violet diamond found in Australia goes up for sale, with an expected price of as much as $5 million.
The 2.83 carat stone, pulled from the dirt at the Argyle Mine in remote Western Australia last year, took more than 80 hours to polish.
The stunning violet colour is thought to come from a molecular structure distortion as the jewel forms in the earth's crust and then makes its way to the surface.
“Impossibly rare and limited by nature, the Argyle Violet will be highly sought after for its beauty, size and provenance,” said Rio Tinto sales manager Patrick Coppens.
In 32 years of operation, Argyle has only produced 12 carats of polished violet diamonds for its annual tender.
The mine is the world’s only current source of hydrogen-rich violet diamonds and unearths more than 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds.
[Image: Rio Tinto]