2017 marks the 33rd anniversary of the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, which debuted in 1982 with a collection of 33 stones from the not yet fully operational Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. This year, as the mine is approaching the twilight of its life, the collection includes 58 diamonds, with the centerpiece being a stunning 2.11-carat gem called the Argyle Everglow, which is said by the company to be the largest fancy red diamond ever to feature in the history of the enterprise.
Unprecedented in terms of its size, color and clarity, the Argyle Everglow was examined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) prior to the tender being issued. It described the stone as “a notable diamond with a grade of Fancy Red VS2.”
“The Argyle Everglow represents rarity within rarity,” said Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson, “and will drive global demand from collectors and connoisseurs in search of the incomparable.”
The five named ‘hero’ diamonds in the 2017 Argyle Pink Tender, from left: the 1.50-carat Argyle Kalina,the 2.42-carat Argyle Avaline, the 2.11-carat Argyle Everglow, the 1.14-carat Argyle Isla, and the 0.91-carat Argyle Liberté.
The Argyle Diamond Mine, which is located in a remote desert region of Western Australia, 500 kilometers southwest of Darwin and more than 2,200 km northeast of Perth, traces its roots back to in 1969, following the discovery of a few alluvial diamonds in the area. What was unusual about the mine was that, while diamonds typically are found in a host ore called kimberlite, at Argyle the host rock was a material called lamproite.
When the facility became fully operational in late 1985, it quickly was transformed into one of the world’s largest producing diamond mines, although its output is dominated by generally inexpensive near-colorless to brown material. But right from the very beginning there was a small but consistent supply of valuable pinks and reds, comprising less than 0.1 percent of the mine’s total annual production. Nonetheless that made up about 90 percent of the production of these fancy colored diamonds in the marketplace. No other source was known to produce these goods in quantity on such a regular basis.
For the first 25 years of its life, mining at Argyle took place in a large open pit, but it moved underground in 2013, and is expected to continue through to at least 2020.
The Argyle Everglow is not the only spectacular stone in this year’s tender, which in total weighs 49.39 carats and has been dubbed “Custodians of Rare Beauty.” In addition to 47 pink stones, also included are another three fancy red diamonds, four purplish red diamonds, two violet diamonds, and one blue diamond.
Five “hero” diamonds, one of which is the Argyle Everglow, were named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds. The others include the Argyle Isla, a 1.14-carat radiant shaped fancy red diamond; the Argyle Avaline, 2.42-carat cushion-shaped fancy purple-pink diamond; the Argyle Kalina, 1.50-carat oval shaped fancy deep pink diamond; and the Argyle Liberté, 0.91-carat radiant shaped fancy deep gray-violet diamond.
The 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender will be go on display in New York, Hong Kong and Perth before bids close on October 11.
MID House of Diamonds is of the world’s preeminent suppliers of loose fancy-colored diamonds, with a large and varied stock. Because it is a world of which many diamond buyers are less familiar, with different pricing patterns and grading standards, MID invites you to speak with one of the fancy color experts on its team.