Today is the final day to place bids for each Argyle 2017 tender diamond, and the winners will be announced in private. No bidder will know what others have bid as this information is kept private by Rio Tinto. All we know for certain is that records will be broken as Argyle diamonds are becoming ever rarer due to the mine’s imminent closure in just a few short years.
Red diamonds became center stage at auction back in 1987 when a 0.95 carat round brilliant red diamond was sold for a total of $880,000 in New York. Ever since, the world has been obsessed with red diamonds, and justifiably so.
The 0.95 carat Fancy Red “Hancock Red” diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The largest red diamond ever to be produced by the Argyle mine is the 2.11 carat Fancy Red diamond that has been nicknamed the Argyle Everglow. It is the top lot of this year’s tender, and everybody is trying to guess how much it will fetch. We hear from the top diamond suppliers that the price can number in the tens of millions. The one thing we know one thing for sure is that no other similar diamond exists on the face of the earth!
The 2.11 carat Fancy Red radiant “Argyle Everglow” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
The Rarest of Everything Rare
The 2.11 carat Fancy Red radiant Everglow diamond is the largest red diamond ever to be produced by the Argyle mine since its inception in 1984. Rio Tinto claims that the previous record holder of the largest red diamond to be produced by the mine was the 1.56 carat Fancy Red round brilliant diamond known as the Argyle Phoenix, which was the #1 diamond lot in the 2013 tender. Reports claim that it was sold for a record price of $2 million, or $1.3 million per carat.
The 1.56 carat Fancy Red round brilliant “Argyle Phoenix” diamond Image credit: Rio Tinto
A year later, in 2014, a 2.09 carat Fancy Red heart shaped diamond that was previously owned by famous jewelers Moussaieff was sold at an auction in Hong Kong. It broke the world record paid for a red diamond at auction when it sold for $5.1 million total, or $2.44 million per carat. Not many know that this 2.09 was lot #49 in the 1992 Argyle Tender, but back then, the GIA classified it as a Fancy Purple-Pink (proving that even the GIA has had to push for its own education and improve its own grading for fancy color diamonds).
The 2.09 crat Fancy Red heart shaped Moussaeiff diamond Image credit: Christie’s
Prior to that record, a 2.26 carat Fancy Purplish Red diamond was sold on November 15, 2007 at a Christie’s Geneva auction for $1.18 million per carat. It did not break any records at that point, but it was the largest red diamond to ever be sold at auction.
The 2.26 carat Fancy Purplish Red diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The previous per carat price record for a red diamond was for a 1.92 carat Fancy Red diamond that was sold on May 15, 2013, also at Christie’s in Geneva. That red diamond was sold for $1.694 million per carat. The same diamond was previously sold 12 years earlier, on October 24, 2001 at a Christie’s auction for $860k per carat, half of the value per carat that it earned 12 years later.
The 1.92 carat Fancy Red diamond Image credit: Christie’s
The 2.26 carat diamond and the 2.09 carat red heart diamond are the only 2 red diamonds over 2 carats in size to ever sell at auction. It is even more interesting that over 30 years have passed since the first red diamond was sold at auction. It reinforces that large red diamonds are extremely difficult to find, and large in the world of red diamonds is not as large as in some other colors because red diamonds are so very rare.
This year, the Argyle Tender contains 8 red diamonds in total (4 Fancy Red diamonds, and 4 Fancy Purplish Red diamonds). Prior to that, the most ever red diamonds at the Argyle Tender appeared in 2014 when 4 Fancy Red diamonds and 2 Fancy Purplish Red diamonds were offered.
If red diamonds are being extracted from the mine, why is the mine closing in just a few short years? There is already a full crew of people are already on the ground there, preparing for the closing!
What price the 2.11 carat Fancy Red Argyle Everglow realize? Who knows… the sky is the limit. What do you think? Will the price ever be made public like the Argyle Phoenix? Will it be revealed at all? Will it break the world record per carat ever paid for a diamond or gem? What do you think? Tell us in the comments!