Every year, investors, collectors and enthusiasts gather for a glittering display, hoping to secure one of only a literal handful of some of the rarest and most distinctive diamonds mined each year from the Rio Tinto mine in western Australia — Argyle pink diamonds.
Since 1984, the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender has offered the world a selection of unparalleled diamonds ranging from its rare pink diamonds, of which it mines a mere teacup’s worth annually, to ultra-rare blue and violet diamonds, which Rio Tinto produces a half teaspoon of in a typical year. Of those, Argyle handpicks only the most lustrous standouts for its tender, including the shining star of its 2016 offering, The Argyle Violet, a 2.83-carat oval diamond and the largest violet diamond ever mined in Australia.
The rarity and exclusivity of the fancy colored diamonds offered at Argyle’s tender has made them a coveted commodity and attracted the attention of bidders across the globe: though its final bid wasn’t disclosed, experts say The Argyle Violet likely sold for between $2.8 to $5.6 million, while smaller fancy colored pink diamonds regularly go for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Interest in rare fancy colored diamonds stems, in part, from their status as an investment — in the last 15 years, the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at tender have appreciated by more than 300 percent.
Michael King, director of trading at Paragon International Wealth Management, a Toronto-based colored diamond investment firm with more than seven decades of combined experience in the industry, said fancy colored diamonds represent a unique opportunity for those interested in cultivating hard assets, noting that fancy colored diamonds routinely outperform other hard assets, including gold and other gems, netting big returns on investment.
“Investing in fancy colored diamonds is one of the most tried-and-true ways of ensuring your investments retain their value and even result in returns upon their resale,” Paragon International Wealth Management’s King said. “Fancy colored diamonds are exceedingly rare, and prove time and again their worth in tenders and private sales, accruing value at a faster rate than many other hard assets.”
That value could only serve to increase as supply becomes scarce.
The Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender offers only a few dozen diamonds each year, from the 33 on display in its initial offering more than two decades ago to the 63 that were central to last year’s tender.
The Argyle diamond mine in Australia is expected to cease operations by 2020, and as the world’s only known significant source of fancy red and pink diamonds — it currently produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply — the loss of Rio Tinto could mean a steep drop in the number and quality of fancy red and pink diamonds available to those hoping to get their hands on one.
“Those interested in securing fancy colored diamonds, particularly red and pink varieties, need to think about how and when they want to invest,” King continued. “Needless to say, given the success of the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender in the past and the sheer quality of diamonds on display at past tenders, I think we’ll see some incredible diamonds at this year’s tender.”