If you were looking for a 1.00 carat D color diamond with an IF clarity grade, you would quite easily be able to find a few hundred in the market. Those aware of the online tools available, such as diamond lists like Rapnet or IDEX, would be surprised at the deals available, and how affordable these stones can be found.
However, if you sought out a 1.00 carat, Fancy Vivid Argyle Pink Diamond that was offered in one of the Argyle Pink Diamond Tenders of the past, you will be lucky if you manage to find more than a few stones around the world.
Shmulik Louping the 1.68 carat
Argyle diamonds, and specifically those from the Argyle Tenders, have become a commodity of their own. They surpass all other fancy color diamonds, and their rarity and beauty surely exceed that of a white diamond. Production of the Argyle mine is decreasing year by year, all while demand is consistently getting stronger.
Each year Rio Tinto invites the most highly respected members of the trade to participate in their annual Tenders. Every attendant is allotted only two hours to view the 55 or so tender diamonds, and then prepare the bid. There are 100 bids on each single stone, but only one winner who walks away with the prize.
Argyle Tender Diamonds
Two years back our GIA GG Chief Diamond Buyer Shmulik was asked in an interview how he managed to win 17 tender diamonds of the only 55 stones that were offered. Shmulik answered with his usual comical smile, “I just offered a bit more than the other another guys.” However, it obviously isn’t that simple. One needs to be a master gemologist and diamond buyer to score such a large percentage of the tender stones. Since the idea is to essentially resale the stones to the public, you have to know what price will outbid the others while still enabling you to make a profit when you sell the stone to a customer.
2012 Argyle Tender Diamonds
Diamonds of this caliber are considered far and few. One of the six stones Shmulik won in the 2011 Argyle Pink Diamond Tender was truly one-of-a-kind. The Prosperity Pink, named for its carat weight of exactly 1.68, had a color like no other. Many clients of the Chinese persuasion strongly believe that specific numbers have lucky meaning, and the numbers 168 are often translated as the road to prosperity. The exceptional size of the 1.68-carat stone with such pure vivid color saturation was in of and itself considered a rarity. We hadn't seen a vivid Argyle pink diamond over 1.5 carats like that for a long time. The reddish color flashes and the exiting strawberry touch were unique markers of a real Australian Argyle Pink diamond.
All the media attention that the stone attracted on outlets such as Forbes, Huffington Post, Business Insider, The New York Post, and more, managed to spread the word internationally. While at the diamond show in Hong Kong everyone came over to view the stone. I remember one evening while in the hotel, I saw a beautiful Mercedes in the parking lot with a license plate 168. Understanding the meaning, I thought this had to be the owner of the stone. He hadn’t known it yet, but I wanted to find him and make the sale! Before we knew it the car was gone, but the stone found its buyer shortly after.
Over the last five years Shmulik has won just under 40 tender diamonds, and the announcement of this year’s winners is quickly approaching. Further opportunities to submit a new bid have come to an end, and by the end of the week Argyle will contact the winners if their bid was the one that prevailed.
Each one has a story and is preserved as a time piece, whether it remains in a safe or set in a fine piece of jewelry. The biggest names in the industry are in awe when presented with the opportunity to handle such exquisite pieces, and the private individuals who seek out such stones know full well what the term ‘diamond in the rough’ really means.
Every industry has its golden jubilees, and with diamonds the Argyle Tender is the top. Each and every diamond has a sparkle, but at the end of this week, we hope to clearly see the shine.