Rio Tinto has launched what’s likely to be one of its last annual pink-diamond tenders, as the company gears up to close its flagship Argyle mine.
The Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, which has run since 1984, comprises rare polished colored diamonds originating from the mine in Australia. This year’s edition, which Rio Tinto unveiled Friday at the mine site, features 64 stones weighing a combined 56.28 carats, including three fancy-red diamonds, it said.
The deposit is due to shut next year, having operated since 1983. It’s the world’s largest diamond mine by volume, producing 14.1 million carats in 2018. Most of its output is lower-quality white diamonds, but it’s more famous for its pink, red and purple goods. More than 90% of the world’s rare pink diamonds are from the mine, according to Rio Tinto.
“Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine is the first and only ongoing source of rare pink diamonds in history,” Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto’s CEO for copper and diamonds, said in a statement Friday. “With the life cycle of this extraordinary mine approaching its end, we have seen, and continue to see, unstoppable demand for these truly limited-edition diamonds, and strong value appreciation.”
The closure is likely to have a “dramatic” effect on the availability of pink diamonds, Soirat noted in an interview with Bloomberg on Friday. “You can imagine the laws of supply and demand will apply, and you can imagine the impact that will have on those very rare pink, red, blue and purple diamonds,” the news service quoted Soirat as saying.
The top items at this year’s sale include a modified radiant, 1.75-carat, fancy-red diamond, named the Enigma, and a heart-shaped, 1.48-carat, fancy-vivid-purplish-pink diamond called Amari. The company has named the 2019 collection “The Quest for the Absolute.” It will showcase the diamonds in Hong Kong, New York and Perth, Australia, with bids closing on October 9.
The top six lots — the “hero diamonds” — are as follows:
Lot 1: The Argyle Enigma, a modified radiant, 1.75-carat, fancy-red diamond
Lot 2: The Argyle Amari, a heart-shaped, 1.48-carat fancy-vivid-purplish-pink diamond
Lot 3: The Argyle Elysian, a modified cushion-shaped, 1.20-carat, fancy-vivid-pink diamond
Lot 4: The Argyle Verity, an oval-shaped, 1.37-carat, fancy-vivid-purplish-pink diamond
Lot 5: The Argyle Opus, a round-shaped, 2.01-carat, fancy-intense-pink diamond
Lot 6: The Argyle Avenoir, an oval-shaped, 1.07-carat, fancy-red diamond
Image: The “hero diamonds” from the 2019 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. (Rio Tinto)