Posted 17/08/2022
Dr R John Watling

Source Certain Chief Scientist Dr R John Watling joined ABC host Sinéad Mangan to contribute to her podcast Expanse: Pink Diamond Heist.

Forensic and analytical chemist John Watling says, through laser technology, scientists can “fingerprint” exactly where a diamond originates from, right down to which kimberlite pipe it was created in.

Professor Watling says the process of creation leaves a unique fingerprint on each diamond, not unlike a human fingerprint, which enables the precious stone to be traced back to its source.

“Think of it as inorganic DNA, if you like,” he says.

“Because there is no such thing as, obviously, DNA in non-life form. This is the equivalent of that.”

In the 1980s and 90s, Professor Watling worked with WA police to crack the spate of gold and diamond thefts happening at the time.

In the early 90s, Argyle discovered diamonds were being stolen from the mine when pink diamonds — that were unaccounted-for — popped up in Europe.

“It fortuitously happened that the case of theft from Argyle came about and we were involved in that case, quite obviously from the start,” Professor Watling says.

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