Rio Tinto celebrated their 30th anniversary with a record-setting diamond tender earlier this month. Featuring 54 rare pink and red diamonds, sales from the tender were the highest per-carat in the company’s history.
Leading up to the tender, industry experts were practically salivating as the lots included four Fancy Red diamonds, the most the company has ever offered at once. In their three-decade long history, they have only had 13 of these Fancy Red gems available at tenders and only three of these rare stones have ever been above 1 carat in size.
The clear favourite among the red diamonds was the 1.21-carat radiant-cut Argyle Cardinal. The heavily bid upon stone was purchased by Glen Bakker Jewels, however, details on the amount of the sale have not been released.
Red diamonds are among the rarest of the colour diamond world. Red diamonds get their colour from defects in the interior structure of the stone called the crystal lattice. They are mostly found in the Argyle Mine of Australia and Brazil and make up less than 0.1% of the diamonds recovered around the world.
The most famous red diamond is arguably the Hancock Red, named after famed color diamond collector Warren Hancock. Rumour has it that Hancock purchased the stone for $13,500 in 1956. It was sold at auction by Christie’s in 1987 for $880,000 or a massive $926,000 per carat. That per carat price was a record for diamonds that lasted for 20 years.