This year’s Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender world tour is remarkable for its collection of 4 red diamonds. Red colored diamonds are very rare and in last 30 years of the tender’s existence only 13 red diamonds have been showcased. The colored diamonds are very rare find in mines and are getting rarer.
The tender world tour is an invitation-only event comprising of close to 150 collectors, dealers and retailers globally. It presents an opportunity for the interested parties to assess the diamonds and prepare their sealed tenders. The diamonds are being showed in Sydney, New York, Hong Kong and Perth. The 2014 tender showcases 4 fancy red diamonds, 12 round brilliant cuts and a 2.28-carat emerald-cut fancy intense pink diamond.
While the Argyle mine supplies over world’s 90% of pink and red diamonds, less than 0.1% of Argyle’s production is pinks. Close to 70% of the commonly found stones in Argyle are brownish tones, which fetch much less price. The current production volume at Argyle is expected to continue till 2020, post which it may not be economical to continue producing small, lesser value stones.
After Petra Diamonds’ acquisition of Cullinan mine in South Africa from De Beers in 2008, only 6 important blue diamonds have been found in the mine. The 16 million tons of treated ore and 10 million tons of tailings has produced 6 million carats of white diamonds but only 6 blue diamonds. Clearly it is uneconomical to operate a mine just to find high-priced colored diamonds.
The Williamson mine in Tanzania, known for its bubblegum pinks, has not produced even a single pink diamond in past 2 years. Petra’s Koffiefontein mine, bought from De Beers in 2007, has produced only a single 6-carat pink till now.
Colored diamonds have become very popular and its demand has increased manifold. However, fast diminishing supply of colored diamonds will only skyrocket the prices for these stones and soon colored stones might be affordable only to the uber-rich.