Rio Tinto is the parent company of Argyle Diamonds Limited. Previously CRA Ltd, the company was created to develop, mine and market the fancy coloured diamonds which have been mined in a remote area of Western Australia since the early 1980’s. the Argyle mine has produced a limited but steady supply of fancy coloured diamonds and is particularly famed for its production of exceptional quality pink diamonds which are renowned for their hue and colour.
Mining pink diamonds takes a year’s worth of earth shifting to expose a minute amount of diamonds which can be held in the palm of one’s hand. So it’s hardly surprising that this amount of work means that the diamonds are so rare that they can fetch $1 million per carat. Argyle fancy coloured diamonds are particularly valuable given their rich colour and hue determined by the level of white or black diamond shade present.
Rio Tinto have been curating an annual collection of only the best examples of their diamonds for the exhibition since 1985. This process enables a select group of around 100 collectors, experts and jewellers to view these exquisite fancy coloured diamonds. It is their opportunity to take part in the exclusive bidding process and place a sealed bid on the diamonds.
Bidding is completely confidential and the names of the bidders are never revealed nor the prices per carat of pink diamond paid. Rio Tinto have more recently placed reserve prices on the diamonds which has also led to prices being driven ever higher and increasing their rarity. The exact location of the tender is only revealed at the last minute due to the security issues.
Collectors, investors, jewellers and their customers look forward with great anticipation to the Rio Tinto Argyle Diamond Tender. Tender stones are one in a million simply because for every million rough carats of diamonds mined, only 1 carat of polished diamond is offered for sale at tender.
With these exceptional quality diamonds in high demand for investors and connoisseurs alike, it is important to note the timing of the annual Rio Tinto Argyle pink diamond tender. This invitation only event occurs only once per year. Since the beginning of the Argyle mine in the early 1980s the Argyle pink diamonds tender has seen appreciation of 300% over 15 years.
Argyle pink diamonds are so rare that as manager Patrick Johnson explains “we are lucky to produce just ten 1 carat pink diamond brilliants per year”. It’s not surprising that sophisticated investors are keen to get an invitation to the Rio Tinto Argyle Pink Diamond Tender each year. In the 2016 tender, just 63 diamonds between 100 bidders it takes a cool head to enter the secret bidding process at the exclusive tender event.
Diamantaires are no doubt mesmerised and seduced by the rarity, quality and lustre of the pink diamonds but must keep a cool head when placing their bids. When you consider the 365 day a year round the clock demands of producing a handful of diamonds in a mine the size of a city in north western Australia running to 45 km of underground tunnels, it’s not hard to see where the costs arise from. With Argyle Pink diamonds due to cease mining in 2021, there is no doubt that this year’s Rio Tinto Argyle Pink Diamond Tender will be a richly sought after invitation.