There are the rare colored diamonds - and then there are the ultra-rare colored diamonds. Red diamonds may account for only a small fraction of all colored gems sold every year, but it’s not for lack of demand. Scarlet stones are simply extremely hard to come by in nature. The immensely popular crime author Jo Nesbo capitalized on this rarity by writing a red diamond into the gruesome plot of his novel The Snowman (the details are definitely not suitable for work). But I guess when it rains red, it pours, because this week, the crimson-colored gems came up in the news not once, but twice.
Just this month, Rio Tinto officially launched its underground Argyle diamond mine. The mine has been in existence for three decades as an open-pit mine, but only now have operations penetrated to great depths. Argyle is best known for its pink diamonds – it supplies the better part of the global supply – but this week it made news with a trio of rare reds. At its upcoming tender, which it only conducts once a year, Rio will bring to market 58 pinks, including an amazing three-plus-carat fancy intense orange pink diamond they have dubbed the Argyle Imperial. The public sale will also star a 0.71-carat heart-shaped blue diamond the company has taken to calling the Argyle Celestial.
But the most significant stones to be featured at the tender are a triad of fancy red diamonds, one of which – given the title the Argyle Phoenix – a round red diamond that weighs over one and a half carats. To grasp how rare such an auction is, you need to know that in the last thirty years of production, only six red diamonds have been extracted at Argyle, meaning that fully half of this harvest will be available to be bought on the same day.
Incredibly, the Argyle trifecta weren’t the only red gems to make headlines this past week. In Geneva, Switzerland, Christie’s conducted its Magnificent Jewels Sale and auctioned off in excess of $100 million worth of diamonds – a new world record. The most valuable stone sold at the auction to Harry Winston – it was a perfect pear shaped 101.73-carat D Flawless diamond, and its $26.7 million price tag set a second world record. As the first owner of the stone, Mr. Winston has the privileged of naming this perfect diamond and named it the Winston Legacy. But among the other precious gems purchased that day was also a 1.92-carat fancy red diamond with remarkable VS2 clarity, which netted Christie’s its third world record for the day with its sales price of $3.2 million – the highest price paid for a red diamond at the auctions.