Rio Tinto has unveiled the collection of diamonds on sale at what may be one of its last tenders of the world's rarest pink and red diamonds, as the life of the Argyle mine in Western Australia is winding down. The mine produces more than 90 percent of Australia's diamonds, and is one of the only known sources of pink diamonds in the world.
The Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is an annual event, which is so exlusive and the diamond so rare they never reach the open market. This is the first time in the 35-year history of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender - the first edition of which was in 1984 - that the collection has been launched on Country, in what's considered to be one of the most exclusive diamond sales in the world. that the collection has been launched on Country, in what's considered to be one of the most exclusive diamond sales in the world. This year's collection features 64 diamonds weighing in at 56.28 carats in total, including three fancy red diamonds. The most coveted of those diamonds is the Argyle "Enigma" (pictured), a 1.75-carat fancy red diamond, only one of three of its kind weighing more than 1.5 carats to be produced from the mine in 40 years.
Rio Tinto copper and diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat said with fewer than 150 of these extremely rare tender stones left, it was a historic moment for collectors, the company, and its employees. "Only one per cent of Argyle production is made of colored diamonds every year," he said. "And out of this we are taking the top 50–65 colored diamonds, putting them together in the tender." Over the past 20 years the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at the tender have appreciated 500%, outperforming all major equity markets. Mr. Soirat said these results were a reflection of the supply of these extremely rare diamonds becoming even more scarce and more valuable. "If you want to have an idea of the price you can look at the reserves of auctions every year; the best diamonds are sold in Geneva so typically of this quality from Argyle they would attract several million dollars per carat," he said.
While Rio Tinto does not release the prices achieved at each year's tender is kept secret, the company said the collection in 2018 reached double-digit price growth - including the sale of the most valuable diamond in the tender's history. The Argyle Muse, a 2.28-carat fancy purplish-red diamond, was sold to an anonymous buyer, with an estimated price of anywhere between $14–21 million.
The 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender collection, titled “The Quest for the Absolute” comprises six hero diamonds:
Lot 1: Argyle Enigma™,1.75 carat modified radiant Fancy Red diamond
Lot 2: Argyle Amari™, 1.48 carat heart shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond
Lot 3: Argyle Elysian™, 1.20 carat modified cushion shaped Fancy Vivid Pink diamond
Lot 4: Argyle Verity™,1.37 carat oval shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond
Lot 5: Argyle Opus™, 2.01 carat round shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond
Lot 6: Argyle Avenoir™, 1.07 carat oval shaped Fancy Red diamond
The 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased in Perth, Hong Kong and New York, with bids closing on 9 October 2019.