diamonds from the argyle mine

Owned in full by Rio Tinto and located in the remote East Kimberley Region of Western Australia, the diamond mine has to date produced more than 800 million carats of diamonds. It is the world’s largest producer of natural champagne and cognac diamonds, as well as the very rare pink diamond, which has become the signature stone and is coveted by diamond experts and collectors globally.

The lease tenants the traditional lands of the Gija and Mirriuwung people. In 2005, an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and Participation Agreement was set up between the mine and the Traditional Owners of the mining lease area. It was an important step towards sustainability goals and put in place a formal relationship that will help deliver long- term economic benefits to Aboriginal communities in the East Kimberley region.

Further downstream, the mine adds value to jewellery designers, manufacturers and retailers. With its transition from open pit to underground mining to extend its life until 2020, the mine continued to deliver enormous value to Rio Tinto and the wider diamond world. In November 2020 mining ceased, after 37 years of operations and producing more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds.

We continue to employ people post-mining to work on rehabilitation and monitoring, continuing to pay wages and contributing to the local economy. They target 14% of their closure budget to be spent with Traditional Owners and local providers. Rio Tinto are committed to respectfully closing and rehabilitating the mine, and returning the land to its traditional custodians.


The mine was discovered by Ewen Tyler in the 1970s though his interest was piqued much earlier than that.
In the 1940s Tyler was a student at the University of Western Australia. During his time there, he studied under geology professor Rex Prider. Prider believed that lamproitic minerals found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia bore a strong resemblance to those accompanying diamond discoveries in South Africa.

After a decade working in mining exploration in Africa and Europe, Tyler returned to Australia eager to test his professor’s theory. He founded the Kalamburu Joint Venture, comprised of five companies. Together, they began commercial exploration for diamonds in the Kimberley on a budget of AUD$100,000.

By early 1974, indicator minerals and diamonds had been found in samples from the north, east and west Kimberley. At this point, the Kalamburu Joint Venture group set out to secure more resources to intensify exploration.

Flash forward to December 1985: open pit mining began. The diamonds unearthed were of much lower value than the global average, however, the volumes were considerable. More than that, the grade was of a richness that would change geological standards.
It became one of the world’s largest producers of diamonds and the biggest supplier of natural coloured diamonds, including white, champagne, cognac, blue and the highly-coveted rare pink diamonds.

In 2013, after nearly 30 years of open pit mining, the mine went underground. On June 21, 2015, after more than 11 years and 42 kilometres of tunnelling, the underground block cave development was officially completed. The block mining alone has generated 20 million carats annually.


Diamonds, like all other minerals, are finite. Rio Tinto announced that the mines will have finally exhausted its supply of economically viable stones by late 2020. Once the mining site is closed, rehabilitation of the site will begin.
The likelihood of any future mine discovery recreating the properties of the mine are extremely slim. For collectors, this means the diamonds will become even more highly sought after as the years pass.

The likelihood of any future mine discovery recreating the properties of the mine are extremely slim. For collectors, this means the diamonds will become even more highly sought after as the years pass.

Each Dreamtime Australian diamond originates from the diamond mine, made with shades of brown diamonds, providing our customers with their own piece of this historic Australian site. Our collection of jewellery is unique and resonates with the Australian environment, its stories and legends. Every diamond is tracked so you can be assured your Dreamtime jewellery contains Australian diamonds that are natural and untreated.

As distinct as the landscape, as treasured as our history.