Argyle goes out with a bang

Rio Tinto

Pink diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia (2019 Tender) Image courtesy of Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto has captivated diamond collectors, connoisseurs and jewellers from across the world with record-breaking results from its 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender and Once in a Blue Moon Tender.

The 70 rare pink and red diamonds that comprised Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender delivered alarming price performances across the board, with individual diamonds and larger collections drawing fierce interest in a series of virtual and face to face viewings.

The 2021 collection, titled The Journey Beyond, is a historical collection showcasing the pinnacle of Argyle’s production, with the diamonds mined in its final year of operations before the East Kimberley mine in Western Australia closed in November 2020.

Hong Kong fancy coloured diamond specialist Kunming Diamonds made a history-making bid to acquire Rio Tinto’s 2021 Once in a Blue Moon Tender collection of Argyle blue and violet diamonds, taking home all 41 lots of the 24.88 carats of final “beyond rare” blue jewels.

Kunming Diamonds executive director Harsh Maheshwari was beyond excited to come out on top.

“We are delighted to be part of Argyle’s legacy in this historical moment, acquiring the Once in a Blue Moon collection,” he said.

“We cherish becoming the custodians of the final Australian treasures from this iconic and industry-defining mine, and look forward to unearthing the incredible possibilities in the years to come.”

Rio Tinto’s 2021 Once in a Blue Moon Tender collection

The Argyle mine became known for sporadically producing small blue and violet diamonds that showcased the inimitable beauty of these jewels.

With Argyle’s closure and the rareness of its diamonds, it is unlikely there will ever be another collective offering of iconic gems in this colour spectrum from a single mine.

Rio Tinto Minerals chief executive Sinead Kaufman honoured Kunming Diamonds for this once-in-a-lifetime achievement.

“The rarity and beauty of the Once in a Blue Moon diamonds speaks volumes. They are highly coveted, the ultimate limited edition and we congratulate Kunming Diamonds on their global bid,” Kaufman said.

The 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender drew 19 successful bidders from nine countries.

Lot number one, the 3.47 carat Argyle Eclipse, a radiant shaped Fancy Intense Pink diamond, was won by famed Australian jeweller and Argyle Pink Diamonds select atelier, Calleija.

Calleija was also the successful bidder for the 1.01 carat radiant shaped Fancy Red diamond Argyle Bohème.

Almost the entire world’s supply of rare pink, red, blue and violet diamonds come from Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine.

With 37 years of Argyle pink diamond production in global markets, Rio Tinto has made the decision to maintain and manage the Argyle Pink Diamonds brand through secondary market platforms, certification processes and creative collaborations with its trusted partners going forward.

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