Graeme Thompson, head of jewelry in Asia for British auction house Bonhams, handles beautiful diamonds on a daily basis. Yet even he has only held a red diamond once. In the 33 years that Rio Tinto has been showcasing stones from its Western Australian Argyle mine in Western Australia, less than 20 carats of Fancy Red certified diamonds have been sold. In the world of colored diamonds, “red diamonds are the rarest of them all and whoever gets to hold one in his hand is very lucky indeed,” said Thompson.
Rio Tinto unveiled its largest Fancy Red diamond yet last week. Known as the Argyle Everglow, the polished radiant cut diamond weighs 2.11 carats. It was revealed as part of the mining company’s annual tender of pink diamonds. The Argyle Everglow represents “rarity within rarity” said Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager Josephine Johnson. The stone is half the size of a one cent coin, but could sell for more than $10 million.
Significant red diamonds rarely appear at auctions. Christie’s has sold two in recent years – in 2013, a 1.92-carat Fancy Red rectangular-cut diamond, and a 2.09-carat heart-shaped Fancy Red diamond ring by jeweler Moussaieff in 2014. The color red is essentially a highly, highly saturated vivid pink, where the body color goes beyond the pink color range. There can be modifying color to that red, like pinkish red, orangey red, brownish red – all of these factors influence the value of the diamond.
At Rio Tinto’s annual tender this year, buyers will have a choice of 58 diamonds weighing a total of 49.39 carats. Included are the five “hero” diamonds shown below. They were selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds.
The Argyle Diamond Mine produces 90% of the world’s rare pink diamonds and is set to close by 2021, according to Robyn Ellison, communications manager for Rio Tinto. “It is unlikely that a diamond as rare as this will come out of the mine again,” Ellison said.
Sources: CNN, Argyle Diamonds, Rio Tinto Mining Company
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