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The five “hero”diamonds, which highlight the final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender (Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto).




An era in the diamond trade is about to draw to an end, as Rio Tinto brings its final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender to Antwerp, Belgium, for the last time in almost four decades. The by-invitation-only event this year will feature 70 rare pink, red, blue and violet diamonds, with a total weight of 81.63 carats, and a record number of stones larger than one carat.

The tender includes fancy-colored diamonds from the final year of operations at the renowned Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. Actual mining at the site ceased November 3, 2020, 35 years after the mine’s opening at the end of 1985. During that period, Argyle became the world’s single largest producer of rough diamonds. Most were of low quality, but at the same time it was the world’s most significant supplier of natural-colored diamonds.

“The first Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender was held in Antwerp in 1984 and I am delighted to host the final epic collection in Antwerp,” said Patrick Coppens, General manager, Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto’s diamonds business. “Over the past 38 years Argyle pink diamonds have pushed the boundaries of rarity and value appreciation to new extremes.

“When you consider the number of diamonds presented at the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender since 1984 would barely fill two champagne flutes, you begin to grasp the rarity and the tremendous gravitas of this final collection. Many of the invitees have participated in the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender for more than three decades and across generations, so it is an emotional moment in the history of Rio Tinto’s  Argyle Pink Diamonds business and the natural fancy coloured diamond industry,”  Coppens stated.


Titled “The Journey Beyond,” the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender takes its reference from the 1.5 billion year journey from creation to discovery and their remarkable impact on the world diamond and jewellery history.

The collection features five “hero”diamonds selected for their unique beauty and named to ensure there is a permanent record of their contribution to the history of the world’s most important diamonds:

This year’s collection is headlined by Lot Number 1. Called the Argyle Eclipse, it is a 3.47-carat diamond that is the largest fancy intense pink diamond ever offered at the Tender.

Lot 2 and the second hero diamond is called  Argyle Stella, 1.79-carat, square radiant shaped fancy vivid purplish pink diamond.

A selection of fancy color blue diamonds, from the “Once in a Blue Moon” section of the final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender (Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto).

The next three hero diamonds make up lots 3 trough 5, and they include the Argyle Lumiere, a 2.03-carat, square radiant shaped fancy deep pink diamond; the Argyle Solaris, a 2.05-carat, radiant shaped fancy intense pink diamond; and the Argyle Bohème, a 1.01-carat, radiant shaped fancy red diamond

Also on offer are 41 lots of carefully curated Argyle blue diamonds, weighing 24.88 carats in total. Titled “Once in a Blue Moon,” they  are the very last blue and violet diamonds to emerge from the Argyle mine.

The deadline for bids in the tender is October 4, 2021. It is unlikely that we the results will ever be reliably report, and traditionally Rio Tinto has refrained from announcing sales results.

The Argyle Bohème, a 1.01 carat, radiant shaped fancy red diamond from the final Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender (Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto).




Interest in the sale is expected to be particularly intense this year, because in many respects in is unclear when again, if ever, a large collection of fancy-color stones of such quality will come made available for sale.

Since the Argyle mine came on stream 36 year ago, it has been the world’s single largest supplier of champagne, cognac, blue and the highly coveted pink diamonds.

It was a was a mine that rewrote the diamond history books. Working an ore body comprised of a volcanic rock called lamproite, rather than the kimberlite that is more common in mines in other parts of the world, it produced about 90 percent of pinks stones made available to the market during its period of operation.

More than 75 sold for selling for an average of $15 to $25 per carat, but the fancy-colored stones frequently brought in millions of dollars per carat, gave its owners, Rio Tinto, considerable incentive to keep the facility operating as long as possible.

But even that could not prevent the mine’s closure nine months ago, and now what remains is the final sale of some its most celebrated output.