Billed as the “world’s most exclusive diamond sale” featuring the “world’s rarest pink diamonds” from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Australia, the sale attracted approximately 100 dealers who personally viewed the diamonds during an international tour with stops in Perth, New York, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney, Rio Tinto said in a statement.
“The Argyle pink diamonds selected for the 2008 Tender attracted substantial interest from an increasing number of investors and is evidence that the increasing rarity of these stones is becoming more valuable and sought after over time,” said Josephine Archer, Argyle Pink Diamonds Sales and Marketing manager.
Investors, diamantaires, jewelry manufacturers, and luxury retailers across all major markets have placed successful bids at this year’s tender, Rio Tinto said. The ultimate consumer for these diamonds is likely to be collectors, celebrities, and high net worth individuals.
This year’s tender contained a record number of round diamonds, including a matching pair, along with the first heart shaped diamond in seven years and three rare violets. This year is also the first year that Rio Tinto has placed reserve prices on the collection, driven by the increasing rarity of these diamonds.
Production of pink diamonds from the Argyle mine will be declining as the mine transitions to an underground operation over the next couple of years and eventually closes in 2018. As Ms Archer explains,
“The upper end of this unique product category is akin to that of rare art and, as supply declines, their value is set to escalate accordingly,” Archer said. “Given this, and the current turmoil in financial markets around the world, we felt very comfortable introducing a reserve price mechanism.”
Added, Raj Kandiah, Argyle Pink Diamonds general manager, “All the diamonds received a significant level of interest and competition in what can only be described as a difficult economic market. Whilst the pink diamond market is not completely insulated from the current global economic crisis, our Tender results point to a market that recognizes both the beauty and the ongoing value of this product.”
Rio Tinto also used its pink diamond Tender to re-launch the Argyle pink diamond brand and its new distribution strategy. With just over a decade of Argyle production remaining, 15 authorized partners have been selected to receive polished pink diamonds directly from the mine, with a number of select ateliers chosen to use the brand, but not buy directly from the mine.