Rare purple diamond found in Australia fit for a king... or Prince

Bidding on the diamond begins in June. © riotinto.com
Prince may be gone, but Mother Nature has gifted us with a rare purple diamond to fill the void.

The beautiful gem is one of few colored diamonds discovered in recent years, but unfortunately it is now in the hands of Rio Tinto, a mining group heavily criticized for its damage to the environment and human rights practices.

Estimated to fetch more than US$3 million at auction according to The Australian, the 2.83 carat diamond known as the “Argyle Violet” is the biggest ever of its kind discovered at the company's mine in Western Australia.

Only 12 carats of violet diamonds have been produced over the last 32 years, according to Rio Tinto.

The stone will be transported between Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and New York for private viewings in June, prompting jewel thieves to plot out what could be the ultimate heist.

Security will be on the lookout for Prince’s ghost, the Purple Pieman, a big dinosaur named Barney, and a panther with a new paint job.

It is unknown how exactly the rarer colored diamonds acquire their pigment, with most attributing it to molecular distortion as the jewel forms in the crust, but as we all know, it’s most likely Prince reincarnated.

Rumor has it that if you hold the diamond to your ear, you can hear him sing "Purple Rain".

Unfortunately most of us will never behold the true beauty of the Argyle Violet in person as it is likely destined for the neck of a hedge fund manager’s "mistress".

The diamond will be part of Rio Tinto’s 2016 Pink diamonds tender, a showcase of their colored diamonds, 90 percent of which come from their mine in Australia.

The company, which posted profits of $4.5 billion in 2015, came under fire in April from MPs in the country who accused them of “corporate bullying” when they forced an extension of payment terms onto their suppliers.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, MP Brendon Grylls said that suppliers were too afraid to complain to the mining juggernaut, saying “it's very difficult to complain when you've only got one customer."

In Mongolia, the company has also been criticized by native herders who claim waste material from a $5 billion expansion of their copper and gold mine in the Gobi desert leaked into the water supply and decimated their livelihood.

A New York Times investigation in the Indonesian province of Papau uncovered similar contamination issues, with operations leading to rivers and wetlands in the area becoming “unsuitable for aquatic life.”

The paper uncovered millions in payments to the Indonesian military and police for allegedly assisting Rio Tinto avoid costly laws and regulations.

Rio Tinto was accused of genocide in Papau New Guinea between the 1980s and 1990s when the closure of their copper and gold mine in Bougainville allegedly forced native workers to live in “slave like” conditions.

Residents accused the company of conspiring with the government to impose a blockade the led to 10,000 civilian deaths by 1997. The case was dismissed by the US Court of Appeals in 2011.