Considered some of the most important fancy color diamonds offered in the market each year, the Argyle Tender is also one of the most important annual events in the fancy color diamond world. I flew to New York the day before the exhibit of the 2017 Argyle Tender, “Custodians of Rare Beauty”, officially began. Last year I spoke with Josephine Johnson, the Argyle Pink Diamonds manager, during my viewing of the Argyle tender diamonds in Hong Kong during the September 2016 show, and I clearly remember our exchange. Josephine was as amazed by the collection as I was, and we agreed that her challenge in the coming years, would be to show an even more dazzling collection.
Custodians of Rare Beauty
Although the Argyle mine in Kimberley, Western Australia, is slowly nearing the end of its mining capabilities, Rio Tinto is still finding diamonds with high quality color characteristics. It is interesting to see how the mine’s diamonds’ sizes, weights and colors vary as the mine winds down. The 2017 tender collection has a total of 58 diamonds offered with a total of 49.39 carats in weight. In comparison, last year the total was 63 diamonds and they totaled 58.24 carats in weight (so this year there are 5 less diamonds showcased, a decrease of about 8%, and a decrease in total weight of 15%). This year, we are seeing four Fancy Red diamonds (compared to only three last year), four Fancy Purplish Red diamonds (compared to only one last year), two Violet diamonds and one Blue diamond. In total, there are five Hero diamonds.
The five hero diamonds of the 2017 Argyle tender:
The Argyle Kalina, the Argyle Avaline, the Argyle Everglow, the Argyle Isla, and the Argyle Liberte
Image credit: Rio Tinto
The 2017 Argyle Tender Hero Diamonds
The primary diamond find this year was the Argyle Everglow, the largest red diamond ever to be offered by Argyle. It was certified as a Fancy Red by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), with a VS2 clarity, and is cut in a beautiful radiant shape. Over the 33 years of Argyle Tenders, a total of only 20 carats of certified Red diamonds have ever been offered. It’s size and rare color are what makes this diamond the leader in the tender this year. For some perspective – in the diamond market, there are maybe 2-3 Fancy Red diamonds of 2+ carat size, and none of them are certified Argyle.
The 2.11 carat Fancy Red “Argyle Everglow” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
Hero #2 is the Argyle Isla, a 1.14 carat Fancy Red radiant shaped diamond. It is not the exact color saturation and look and as the Argyle Everglow, but its color and size are impressive. If an investor was looking to buy a 1+ carat Fancy Red diamond, there are less than 10 available on the entire market, and even these 10 are hard to find. Out of those 10, maybe 2 or 3 are of Argyle origin. That makes this diamond extremely rare in the diamond world, and it will probably undergo heavy bidding by buyers that are in the know.
The 1.14 carat Fancy Red “Argyle Isla” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
Hero #3, the Argyle Avaline, is a 2.42 carat Fancy Purple-Pink cushion shaped diamond. This diamond was chosen to be among the top 5 due to its rare size and color. Last year, there were only three diamonds in the Argyle tender above 2 carats. This year, there are two Hero diamonds above 2 carats, and soon enough when the entire Argyle tender catalog is released, we will know if there are any more diamonds in such rare sizes. Generally speaking, it is more difficult to find the rarer diamond colors in larger sizes (1 carat and above) because of the process in which these diamonds form underground. The natural circumstances that cause these colors are not as frequent and strong as those that cause the less rare colors, so the rough and polished diamonds are rather smaller on average. When a larger diamond in a rarer color is found, it is very celebrated (Argyle origin or otherwise).
The 2.42 carat Fancy Purple-Pink “Argyle Avaline” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
Hero #4, the Argyle Kalina, is a 1.50 carat Fancy Deep Pink oval shaped diamond. This oval shaped diamond reminds me of last year’s 1.18 carat Argyle Aurelia – not because of the color, but because of the shape, and the mesmerizing color.
The 1.50 carat Fancy Deep Pink “Argyle Kalina” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
Finally, Hero #5, is the Argyle Liberte, a 0.91 carat Fancy Deep Grey-Violet radiant shaped diamond. It features a beautiful balance between grey and violet, which is a rare combination of colors. Although its weight is not above a carat, which would have added significant value, it is nevertheless still rare. Last year there were 2 violet diamonds, which is the case this year as well.
The 0.91 carat Fancy Deep Gray-Violet “Argyle Liberte” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
Following New York, the collection will continue to be showcased in Hong Kong, at a time that will coincide with the September diamond show, and from there on to Perth. Last year, over 200 individuals were invited by Argyle to bid on the collection. This year, the due date for the invited bidders to submit a formal offer is October 11, 2017. I assume that within two days after the close of the bids, the winners will be advised.
Which of the hero diamonds do you think is the best investment? Got any questions about Argyle diamonds? Ask us in the comments!
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