The Pink Panther Comes to Life: A Rare Diamond is Stolen

March 13th, 2014 by Noam Flint

The theft of a valuable pink diamond is at the center of the plot of the popular “Pink Panther” films, and apparently, life imitates art.

Recently, a British tourist was arrested on suspicions of stealing a precious diamond of the same hue. It’s the way in which he went about supposedly swiping the stone from the jewelry store in Cairns, though, that’s garnered substantial media attention.

The alleged thief, 29-year-old Matthew Mark Luke John Osborne, didn’t just put the gem in his pocket. Police had Osborne undergo an X-ray to determine whether or not he swallowed the pink diamond, which is valued at more than $200,000.

Stolen Argyle Pink Diamond IllustrationStolen Argyle Pink Diamond Illustration

Tracking the evidence

Osborne was looking at the stone in question at the Diamond Gallery Jeweler in Northern Queensland just last month. According to the Global Post, store owner Keith Bird told authorities that the man asked for a closer look at the diamond, snatched it from his hands and escaped on a mountain bike.

Senior Sergeant Greg Giles of the Melbourne police explained that authorities found Osborne by using his fingerprints and CCTV images. They waited until the suspect attempted to flee the country before arresting him as he was about to board a flight to New Zealand at the Tullamarine Airport. While Osborne reportedly admitted swallowed the gemstone right before his flight, Bird was doubtful that this was the case.

Unfortunately, the results of the X-rays proved to be inconclusive, meaning police will have to pursue follow-up investigations and inquiries in hopes of recovering the diamond. Clearly Osborne didn’t ingest the gemstone, but did he hide it elsewhere? Or is he lying altogether about stealing the stunning stone?

We’re hoping he realizes it’ll obviously be in his best interests if he co-operates with us so we are hoping to get it back,” said Giles, as quoted by The Daily Mail.

According to The Guardian, Osborne has been transferred from Melbourne back to Cains and charged with theft.

Putting the pink diamond in perspective

The missing diamond may only be 0.31 carats and 4.3 millimeters in diameter, but the value is still substantial – mainly because of its unusual color. According to Rio Tinto’s website, the value of pink diamonds found at the Argyle Mine in Australia is nearly 20 times the average price of comparable white diamonds. For every million carats of rough diamonds produced at this mine, only one carat is suitable for sale.

SEE ALSO: Actual Pink Diamond Prices

Argyle Red DiamondExtremely Rare Argyle Red Diamond.
Image Credit

The Guardian revealed that Bird asserted the odds of seeing this diamond, which he called “rare as hen’s teeth,” are slim. The pink stone had been on display at the store for nine years, and it has drawn significant interest from customers lately, with one local in particular ready to purchase.

“We had a lady in tears a few days ago because she said she’d always wanted to buy the stone,” he said, as quoted by the news outlet.

According to the Global Post, Bird emphasized that demand is surging for pink diamonds because of their increasing rarity and worth.