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This coveted 2.24-carat fancy-vivid-purplish-pink Argyle Eternity pink diamond was sold to Kunming Diamonds. Rio Tinto reported that the Argyle Eternity now ranks as the most valuable fancy-vivid diamond in the event’s 37-year history. Image: Rio Tinto
This coveted 2.24-carat fancy-vivid-purplish-pink Argyle Eternity pink diamond was sold to Kunming Diamonds. Rio Tinto reported that the Argyle Eternity now ranks as the most valuable fancy-vivid diamond in the event’s 37-year history. Image: Rio Tinto

Argyle tender breaks records during pandemic following pink diamond mine closure

Rio Tinto's recent Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender delivered a record-breaking result amidst the global pandemic, and included the sale of a 2.24-carat stone named the Argyle Eternity - the most valuable purplish-pink diamond in the tender's history.

The collection consisted of 62 rare pink, red, blue and violet diamonds from its Argyle mine in West Australia. The mine ceased production last month following 37 years of production. It’s said that the Argle Mine was responsible for more than 90% per cent of the world’s annual natural pink diamond supply

Harsh Maheshwari, director Kunming Diamonds
Harsh Maheshwari, director Kunming Diamonds
“It is an extraordinary opportunity and a privilege to be part of the history-making Argyle diamond mine. We are humbled to be the custodians of these iconic rare jewels and are delighted to be part of their enduring legacy.”
HARSH MAHESHWARI, KUNMING DIAMONDS

The 2020 tender, which had to be conducted under COVID ‘conditions’, allowed participants to view the stones using live streaming and a virtual portal at locations in Antwerp, Singapore and Perth, Australia, due to travel restrictions. Technology that enabled exacting colour calibration and magnification of the diamonds was also used during the event.

Hong Kong-based Kunming Diamonds was the successful bidder for 35 lots, including the coveted Argyle Eternity. The 2.24-carat fancy-vivid-purplish-pink, which Rio Tinto representatives say, is “the most valuable diamond in the collection and the most valuable Fancy Vivid diamond in the Tender’s 37-year history.”

Harsh Maheshwari, director of Kunming Diamonds said, “It is an extraordinary opportunity and a privilege to be part of the history-making Argyle diamond mine. We are humbled to be the custodians of these iconic rare jewels and are delighted to be part of their enduring legacy.”

He told Jeweller that he doesn't have plans for the Argyle Eternity as yet:  “We will see in 2021, but it could be part of a museum or at an art gallery exhibit. It’s meant for a connoisseur, collector, someone who appreciates and respects such a rare diamond.”

Other record-breaking diamonds from the tender included the Argyle Infinite, a 0.70-carat oval fancy dark violet-grey diamond which now becomes the most valuable diamond in this colour category ever produced at the mine.

John Calleija, Calleija Jewellers
John Calleija, Calleija Jewellers
“I am thrilled with my success at this year’s Tender and the exciting design possibilities unleashed by these colourful and uniquely Australian jewels.”
JOHN CALLEIJA, CALLEIJA JEWELLERS

Patrick Coppens, Rio Tinto’s general manager sales and marketing said, “We are delighted with the results of the 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, a testament to the unique Argyle ore body and its place in the history of the world’s most famous diamonds.”

Also included in the 2020 offering were 12 additional lots of “carefully curated and never to be repeated sets of miniature rare Argyle pink, red, blue and violet diamonds”, named The Petite Suites.

They weighed 13.90 carats in total and were collected over a five-year period, with each parcel designed to strike a balance between size, shape, colour and clarity.

The Petite Suites were of particular interest to high-end designers. Local Sydney jeweller, John Calleija, successfully bid on several lots. He has a long tradition in securing and working with Argyle pinks.

“I am thrilled with my success at this year’s Tender and the exciting design possibilities unleashed by these colourful and uniquely Australian jewels,” Calleija said.

Schmulik Polnauer, Leibish & Co
Schmulik Polnauer, Leibish & Co
“As next year will be the last Argyle tender, we will bid on all stones, [since] the goods [will] become super rare, in [high] demand, and expensive.”
Shmulik Polnauer, Leibish & Co

In October 2018 he unveiled the ‘Argyle Dreaming’ jewellery set, and which debuted in New York City. The necklace and ring featured 673 pink, white, yellow, blue and champagne diamonds from the Argyle Mine in Western Australia, set in gold mined from the Rio Tinto’s Kennecott site in Utah, USA. The pieces are valued at $US1.1 million ($AU1.63 million).

Rio Tinto will hold its final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender from the last remaining ore production next year.

According to Shmulik Polnauer from Leibish & Co, an Israel-based trader specialising in colored diamonds, the 2020 tender asking prices were 15 per cent higher than last year and that Leibish added “20 per cent and more” to its bids to ensure the company secured lots.

He told Rapaport, “As next year will be the last Argyle tender, we will bid on all stones, [since] the goods [will] become super rare, in [high] demand, and expensive.”

 

REVIEW THE 2020 Argyle Tender ‘Hero’ Stones

Nearly the entire world’s supply of rare pink, red and violet diamonds come from Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine which recently ceased its 37 years of production on 3 November, 2020.

The 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender collection comprised of six rare hero diamonds which have been marked by Rio Tinto as some of the world’s most important diamonds:

Lot 1: Argyle Eternity™
2.24 carat round brilliant
Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink

Lot 2: Argyle Ethereal™
2.45 carat square radiant
Fancy Intense Purple-Pink

Lot 3: Argyle Sakura™
1.84 carat pear
Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink

Lot 4: Argyle Emrys™
0.43 carat princess
Fancy Deep Grayish Violetish Blue

Lot 5: Argyle Skylar™
0.33 carat heart
Fancy Dark Gray-Violet



Lot 6: Argyle Infinité™
0.70 carat oval
Fancy Dark Violet-Gray

NOTE: Stone sizes above are not to scale. Images: Rio Tinto
 

2020 Argyle Tender Petite Suites

 

Le Rouge suite
Six purplish red diamonds

Omega suite
Five round brilliant diamonds of highest intensity on the colour spectrum

Petite Oiseau suite
13 blue and red diamonds

Gisele suite
Trio of fancy violet diamonds

 

More reading
2020 Argyle Tender diamonds revealed
Calleija unveils $1 million Argyle diamond necklace and ring


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