Rio Tinto has showcased one of its last collections of rare Argyle pink, red, violet and blue diamonds to a select group of collectors, jewellers and investors.
The 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender was previewed virtually by the exclusive group of buyers due to COVID-19, with viewings planned for later in the year at the Argyle mine, Perth, Singapore and Antwerp.
The yearly tender is a collection of the rarest diamonds from a year’s production at the Argyle mine in the remote east Kimberley region of WA.
One Lifetime, One Encounter is the title of this year’s historic collection and comprises 62 lots of single diamonds, weighing 57.23 carats, with an additional 12 lots known as The Petite Suites, weighing 13.90 carats in total.
The headline is Lot Number 1, the Argyle Eternity, the largest Fancy Vivid round brilliant diamond ever offered at tender.
Weighing in at 2.24 carats, the Argyle Eternity diamond has the colour classification Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink and the potential to fetch millions of dollars per carat.
Six ‘hero’ diamonds have been selected for this year’s tender:
- Lot 1: Argyle Eternity, 2.24 carat round brilliant Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond
- Lot 2: Argyle Ethereal, 2.45 carat square radiant shaped Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond
- Lot 3: Argyle Sakura, 1.84 carat pear shaped Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond
- Lot 4: Argyle Emrys, 0.43 carat princess shaped Fancy Deep Grayish Violetish Blue diamond
- Lot 5: Argyle Skylar, 0.33 carat heart shaped Fancy Dark Gray-Violet diamond
- Lot 6: Argyle Infinité, 0.70 carat oval shaped Fancy Dark Violet-Gray diamond
The Petite Suites collection comprises sets of miniature rare Argyle pink, red, blue and violet diamonds that have been meticulously collected over a five-year period to provide a range of size, shape, colour and clarity for collectors.
Rio Tinto chief executive of copper and diamonds Arnaud Soirat said the Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink, red and violet diamonds in the world.
“We have seen, and continue to see, strong demand for these highly coveted diamonds, which together with extremely limited global supply, supports the significant value appreciation for Argyle pink diamonds,” he said.
Rio Tinto general manager of diamonds sales and marketing, Patrick Coppens, says the Argyle pink diamond story continues to enthral throughout the years following the discovery of the mine in 1979.
“The 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is a collection of rare earthly treasures, intricate works of art and with a potency of colour that will be keenly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world,” he said.
The Argyle diamond mine is the main source of the world’s supply of pink diamonds.
The iconic mine closes at the end of 2020, after almost four decades of production, with one more tender in 2021, based on the best of the 2020 production.
A spokesperson for Rio Tinto says the company is offering a programme called “Life After Argyle” to assist Argyle employees in preparing for transition to alternative employment, inside or outside Rio Tinto.
“Following the last production from the Argyle mine, we anticipate it will take five years to decommission and dismantle the mine and undertake rehabilitation, followed by a further period of time for monitoring,” the spokesperson said.
“Argyle will continue to employ a diverse workforce post mining, to undertake rehabilitation and monitoring, continuing to pay wages and contributing to the local economy.”
Since 1984, Argyle’s pink diamonds have been sold by tender, with bids for this year’s tender closing on December 2.