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Use of Laser technology to identify Argyle Pinks

BY: John Jeffay

“An Australian professor is using laser technology to identify “stray” Argyle pink diamonds.

John Watling, a former Argle physicist and Professor of Forensic and Analytical Chemistry at University of Western Australia has set up a lab in Perth that “fingerprints” diamonds.

It allows him to trace them back to their original source – not just the mine, but the individual kimberlite pipe, using what he calls “inorganic DNA”.

He specializes in super-rare pink diamonds. They have been in ever greater demand since the iconic Argyle mine, in Western Australia – which supplied 90 per cent of the world’s supply – closed in November 2020 after almost four decades.

“We are looking for particular emissions from the stones that uniquely identify them as being Argyle,” Mr Chapman told ABC News.

He said his bread and butter was people who suspected their diamond might be an Argyle pink. One man bought a stone from Cash Converters – the pawnbroker and second hand store – and was delighted to discover it was indeed an Argyle pink.

Many genuine Argyle pinks don’t have mine-issued certificates of authenticity. From 1985, when it opened, until 2016, Argyle only certified stones over 0.50-cts. In addition, there are many cases when the stone and the certificate have been separated over the years.”