Rio Tinto Touts Red Diamond

Asia’s demand for rare colored diamonds has led to an explosion in prices of the gems recently and now that demand is causing one company to take advantage of it. Rio Tinto has announced that it will be putting up for sale its 1.56 carat Argyle Phoenix, a red diamond that is the largest one ever produced by its Australian mine.

The Argyle Phoenix will be part of the 64 stone, 2013 Pink Diamond tender that is made up of 58 pink gemstones, 3 blue ones, and 3 fancy red gemstones. Why all the fuss about colored diamonds?

Well, consider that routinely, colored diamonds are valued at about 50 times that of white diamonds. That means these stones can be expected to get anywhere from one to two million dollars per carat. The larger ones, like the Argyle Phoenix may even bring more, just due to its size and rarity.


Three Fancy Red Diamonds in the 2013 Tender

With such a large amount of money at stake, the gems literally go on a world tour prior to the tender. Stops will include Sydney, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and then Perth. These viewing allow experts to look at the stones in person and make an offer.

The Argyle mine, located in the western part of Australia is famous because it produces just about every pink diamond in the world. Japan is the world’s largest market for the pink stones, but recently demand has been increasing in China and India. White diamonds have always been appreciated in these countries but the recent interest in the colored gems has sent prices soaring.

Remarkably, no one is exactly certain how stones like the Argyle Phoenix get their rare coloring. Some believe it is perhaps molecular in nature, and that as the diamond forms or moves towards the earth’s surface, a molecular distortion takes place.

We’ll keep our eyes on these rare colored stones to see if demand, and prices, continue to escalate.

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