Rio Tinto’s penultimate Pink Diamond Tender dazzles in advance of Argyle mine closure

Just about every 12 months, Frauke Bolten-Boshammer bids versus the most strong diamond connoisseurs in the globe for a opportunity to get maintain of some of the rarest and most worthwhile colored stones on the planet.

The Kununurra-primarily based owner of Kimberley Fine Diamonds started off her outback diamond empire pretty much 30 yrs in the past in the East Kimberley.

She has also been a single of the privileged handful of invited to show up at Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamond Tender, which is regarded one particular of the most special diamond income in the world.

“I normally like to be a little bit unique and the pink diamonds are distinctive. They are definitely specific,” she claimed.

“We can be so proud that we only live a single-and-a-50 percent hrs drive absent from the mine. It is right in our yard.”

Two middle-aged women smiling in an outdoor setting
Kimberley Great Diamonds operator Frauke Bolten-Boshammer (left) and manager Helen Thorne.(ABC Kimberley: Courtney Fowler)

Argyle Pink Diamonds are created at Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the East Kimberley.

The mine, 3,000 kilometres north of Perth, is Australia’s only operational diamond mine and is just one of the couple acknowledged sources of pink diamonds in the planet.

And the 50-60 stones selected for the yearly tender are even rarer however, equating to considerably less than 1 tenth of a for each cent of the year’s creation.

In practical conditions, the total number of prime-excellent pink diamonds could be held in the palm of your hand.

Historic selection uncovered

Argyle Pink Diamonds advertising supervisor Marie Chiam said with the looming closure of the mine only months absent, competitors for the 2020 assortment was anticipated to be fiercer than at any time.

“This year’s tender is unbelievably unique, becoming our next very last Argyle Pink Diamond tender in 40 decades and it is headlined by some historic diamonds,” she reported.

A close up of a vivid pink diamond against a grey backdrop
Lot No. 1 in the 2020 tender is the Argyle Eternity.(Provided: Rio Tinto Diamonds)

The 2.24-carat Extravagant Vivid Purplish Pink Argyle Eternity is a single of 62 diamonds in the 2020 tender titled ‘One Life span, One particular Encounter’.

The historic 57.23-carat tender collection was introduced pretty much this thirty day period, to an exclusive team of diamond connoisseurs and luxury jewelry residences.

In addition to the 6 hero stones thoroughly picked just about every 12 months to headline the sale, this yr 12 sets of ‘Petite Suites’ have been also been included in offering for the very first time.

“There are 12 sets of miniature diamonds, which are a gorgeous illustration of the Argyle colour spectrum,” Ms Chiam mentioned.

A line of tiny pink, red and violet diamonds in a row against white backdrop
A selection of miniature blue and pink diamonds from the Petite Suites collection.(Supplied: Rio Tinto Diamonds)

Pinks price on the rise

You will need to have deep pockets to find the money for these exceptional gems, with the leading bids fetching price ranges into the tens of millions of dollars for each carat.

Compared with colourless diamonds, an Argyle Pink Diamond is graded foremost on color prior to clarity and lower and its price established by the intensity.

Over the previous 20 yrs, the price of Argyle Pink Diamonds offered at the tender have appreciated 500 per cent, outperforming all important fairness markets.

Ms Chiam stated these final results mirrored the source of these particularly unusual diamonds getting even extra scarce and much more valuable.

“Argyle generates far more than 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds, so with the impending closure it just heightens the urge for food for people today to covet, obtain and purchase the diamonds.”

Long distance shot of Argyle mine landscape
The Argyle Diamond Mine is closing at the end of 2020, soon after 40 decades of operations in the East Kimberley.(ABC Kimberley: Courtney Fowler)

Bidding for a piece of historical past

Immediately after its on line start, the Pink Diamond Tender collection is established to go on a confined tour around the entire world because of to COVID-19 constraints this 12 months, with showings minimal to Perth, Singapore and Antwerp.

Only 19 Australians are on the special list of collectors who have been invited to area key bids on the stones in advance of the December deadline.

Kimberley High-quality Diamonds manager Helen Thorne mentioned it would be the end of an era for lengthy-expression collectors when the tender identified as its very last bids.

“This will only be my 2nd a person but it can be an honour and it truly is some thing that my peers in the industry may possibly under no circumstances get to see,” she explained.

A group of vivid pink, red and violet stones against blue backdrop
There will be only one particular much more Argyle Pink Diamond Tender collection on offer you in 2021, following the mine’s closure this calendar year.(Equipped: Rio Tinto Diamonds.)

Making use of super money to invest in diamonds

In the meantime, preparations for the Argyle Diamond Mine’s closure and rehabilitation have started, with only adequate economic reserves left to aid mining by to the stop of the calendar year.

Signs of mine slowing down was evident in Rio Tinto’s 2020 half yearly results, which noted a 4 per cent decrease in manufacturing in comparison to the to start with 50 percent of 2019.

Ms Thorne explained there was an raising awareness amid customers that the world source of pink diamonds was finite.

“All the buyers I fulfill, they only want something that no a person else is heading to have and that’s the brilliance of Argyle Pink Diamonds,” she mentioned.

“I like to believe that everybody purchases one particular mainly because they adore it, but a great deal of people do have it in thoughts that they perhaps will be equipped to on-market it just one day and have a return on their invest in.

A hand holding a beautiful piece of diamond jewellery
With the imminent closure of the Argyle diamond mine in Australia, stores are viewing growing need for pink diamond jewellery.(ABC Rural: Babs McHugh)

Wherever to from below?

With pretty much the total world’s supply of scarce pink, red and violet diamonds coming from Argyle, speculation has risen on how the closure of the mine will ultimately have an impact on the field.

A smaller quantity of pink diamonds are mined in Brazil and in South Africa, which includes the nearly 19-carat Pink Legacy, which set a new environment document value for every carat when it bought for pretty much a whopping $70 million in 2018.

But so much, nowhere else in the globe has created diamonds as vivid as the pinks from the Kimberley.

When the West Australian mine shuts at the stop of this yr, it has been approximated worldwide diamond output will fall by 10 for every cent.

It has been a hard 12 months for the diamond sector globally, with a steep decline in diamond price ranges due to weaker markets from the international COVID-19 pandemic.

In its mid-12 months financials, Rio Tinto noted a 39 per cent lower in overall diamond rates this 12 months throughout its Argyle and Diavik mine in Canada, which is also set to near in 2025.

A woman walking in a garden
Frauke Bolten-Boshammer sees a shiny foreseeable future in advance for the Australian diamond field.(ABC News: Chris Magnay)

But the group at Kimberley Great Diamonds stays good for the long run of the industry.

“We’re in a great place to carry on a pink diamond business enterprise for a quantity of several years due to the fact of Frauke’s groundwork,” Ms Thorne explained.