An extremely rare pink Argyle diamond ring worth more than $575,000 was stolen from an Australian auction in broad daylight over the weekend.
$575,000 is actually just the insurance value. According to Australia's 9News, the ring was expected to bring in less than that -- about $300,000 at auction. Still a lot of dough, though, which is why the auction house is pleading for its return "no questions asked."
IBN Live reports police are facing a difficult investigation. An estimated 100 people passed through the auction during the time of the theft, and no security footage has been acquired.
However, the diamonds were laser-inscribed with a serial number beforehand.
News Limited estimates 90 percent of the world's pink diamonds are mined from the Argyle mine in the eastern part of the Kimberley region.
Earlier in September, the Financial Times reported the Argyle mine said it would operate until 2020 but would not comment beyond that.
With African and Brazilian mines far less reliable in terms of quantity, fears of huge demand depleting the supply benefits the thief and could raise his or her asking price.
And the presence of the serial number could prove to be meaningless if the thief cuts the diamonds into smaller pieces, even though this will lower its value.
The president of the Jewelers Security Alliance says selling stolen diamonds is like laundering money. "First it goes to someone a little dirty, then less dirty and less dirty until it gets into the pipeline of the industry."
This practice allows the thief to greatly distance him or herself, which is easier said than done, as evidenced by the daring robbery at Brussels Airport last year.
Eight masked thieves stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a departing plane in under five minutes, leaving only a burned-out van. (Video by ABC)
Although the robbery was a tremendous success, the New York Times reports the second stage of selling the score was frantic, leading to the arrests of more than 30 people.
Police are currently asking any witnesses to come forward in the Australian theft.
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