Rio Tinto puts rare rough diamonds on market

Rio Tinto's 74.48 carat Fancy yellow diamond, Diavik Helios. Image: Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto will tender a selection of rough diamonds from its Australian and Canadian mines in October and November this year.

Among the rough diamonds available at the company’s “specials” tender is a 74.48 carat Fancy yellow diamond named Diavik Helios, named after the yellow sunlight emitted by the Greek god of the sun.

The Fancy yellow diamond was found at Rio Tinto’s  Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which mainly produces high quality white diamonds.

According to Rio Tinto Diamonds general manager of sales Patrick Coppens,  Fancy yellow diamonds are a rare discovery at Diavik.

“Since the Diavik mine began production in 2003, it has produced on average only five large yellow diamonds each year, in effect less than 0.001 per cent of Diavik’s annual production,” he said.

“The Diavik Helios is an exceptional diamond in terms of its colour saturation and clarity and will be in strong demand from coloured diamond specialists around the world.”

The Specials tender will also include 28,399 carats of rough diamonds from the Argyle mine in the east Kimberly region of Australia, including a 26 carat white gem quality rough Argyle diamond.

General manager of the Argyle mine Andrew Wilson said the diamonds up for tender are the last from the mine before it closes at the end of the year.

“Since it began production in 1983, the Argyle mine has produced more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds. With the mine closing at the end of 2020 the Argyle rough diamonds presented at this tender are a final rare and collectible offering from one of the world’s greatest diamond mines.”

The tender is set to be physically showcased in Antwerp and Tel Aviv, along with virtual and online viewings in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

Bids for the diamonds close 9 November 2020.

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