The five “hero” stones include the largest fancy intense pink in the tender’s history.
PHOTO These are the final five “hero” diamonds from the Argyle mine; at center is the Eclipse, a 3.47-carat diamond that’s the largest fancy intense pink ever offered at the tender.
PHOTO Alongside the reds, pinks and purples, Rio Tinto is selling 41 lots of blue and violet diamonds totaling nearly 25 carats. It’s calling the collection “Once in a Blue Moon.”
View Slideshow Sydney—After 38 years, the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is on its last lots.
The mine that produced the tender’s increasingly sought-after red, pink, purple, and blue stones closed at the end of 2020, bringing to an end the annual invitation-only sale of some of the world’s rarest diamonds.
One U.S. diamond dealer who’s been buying Argyle diamonds since the late ‘80s likened the closing of the mine to the loss of a great artist.
“It is very special, especially to the people who are experts,” Larry West, president of L.J. West Diamonds Inc., said in an interview with National Jeweler last year.
“It’s a sad moment. It’s the equivalent of a great artist dying, as far as I’m concerned.”
The 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender consists of 70 diamonds weighing a total of 81.63 carats and, Rio Tinto said, a record number of diamonds larger than 1 carat.
As it does each year, Rio Tinto is highlighting a handful of the biggest and most beautiful diamonds in the sale.
Dubbed “hero” stones, they are: the Argyle Eclipse, a 3.47-carat fancy intense pink; Argyle Stella, a 1.79-carat fancy vivid purplish pink; Argyle Lumiere, a 2.03-carat fancy deep pink; Argyle Solaris, a 2.05-carat fancy intense pink; and the Argyle Bohème, a 1.01-carat fancy red diamond.
Being offered alongside the tender are 41 lots of blue and violet diamonds totaling 24.88 carats. The group is called “Once in a Blue Moon.”
Alluvial mining began at Argyle, which is located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, in 1983 and open-pit mining in 1985. The mine went fully underground in 2013.
Over the years, prices for the rare natural color diamonds the mine produces have climbed continuously.
Rio Tinto never releases prices paid for individual stones or the tender total, but it has provided some information on the rising value of the diamonds over the years.
Last year, Rio Tinto said the value of Argyle pink diamonds has appreciated more than 500 percent in the past 20 years, outperforming all major equity markets.
On Wednesday, Joseph Namdar, managing director of Namdar Inc., which specializes in colored diamonds, said he expects this final sale to set new record prices across the board, surpassing any of Rio Tinto’s past pink tenders.
“There is very strong global demand for their pink and red diamonds that is far greater than the supply, which is now said [by Rio Tinto] to be coming to an end,” he said.
Rio Tinto will showcase the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender in Perth and Sydney, Australia; Antwerp; and Singapore, with viewings subject to COVID-19 protocols in each location.
Bids close Sept 1.