Japan’s First Lady dazzled by Rio Tinto’s pink diamonds

Japan’s First Lady has been given an exclusive preview of Rio Tinto’s Argyle pink diamond collection before the cluster go on official tender in August.

Akie Abe is one of few people to see the Argle’s 2014 tender collection which comprises of around 50 of the rarest and most valuable pink diamonds in the world.

The visit comes after Abe’s husband, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, visited Rio’s West Angelas mine in the Pilbara.

Rio Tinto Diamonds managing director Jean-Marc Lieberherr said the company was thrilled to have Japan’s first lady view its rare collection.

“We were delighted to welcome Mrs Abe and show her at first hand these beautiful gems, the pinnacle of Australia’s mineral wealth and symbolic of our enduring relationship with Japan.”

Abe was the first to view a hero of the collection, a 1.59 carat Emerald cut Fancy Intense Purplish Pink named Argyle Toki.

The name, depicting the delicate pink underwings of a rare Japanese bird, highlights the importance of Japan as the premier export market for rare pink diamonds.

Rio sells around 30 per cent of its Argyle pink diamonds into Japan and said the country’s jewellery market has been critical to the development of its diamond business.

The pink diamonds tender collection will be officially launched in August and will tour the world until October.

Rio said prices for the diamonds are expected to fetch more than US$1million per carat.

Argyle mine produces more than 90 per cent of the world's pink diamonds.

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