Argyle’s sparkle lights up Rio Tinto's newest collection of rough diamonds

Miner giant Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) launched Thursday its “Specials” tender, which showcases the finest large rough diamonds from a year’s production from its three operating diamond mines.

Precious gems greater than 10.8 carats qualify to be a “Special” and Rio Tinto’s rough diamonds, mined in Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe have all contributed significantly to this offering, said the company.

The collection comprises 94 lots of diamonds, including 26 diamonds greater than 20 carats each, which will be previewed in Antwerp, throughout the first half of October.

“This Specials Tender showcases the unique portfolio of Rio Tinto’s diamonds from a beautiful array of natural fancy coloured diamonds through to magnificent white crystals, and everything in between,” said Patrick Coppens, general manager of sales for Rio Tinto Diamonds.

Rio Tinto is the only mining company that sells its diamonds by mine and country of origin and occupies a unique position as the only miner certified by The Responsible Jewellery Council, the industry organisation committed to promoting responsible practices throughout the jewellery industry from mine to retail.

Headlining the 2012 Rio Tinto Diamonds Specials Tender is a rare 24.15-carat white diamond from the Argyle Diamond Mine. Taking its reference from the Roman goddess and son of Zeus, the Argyle Athena was unearthed from the Australian mine earlier this year. The collection of Argyle “Specials” is also noteworthy for a unique 15.4-carat yellow gem and a beautiful 20.19-carat cognac diamond.

The Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada, which typical produces large white “bridal quality” diamonds, complements the collection with a 22.53-carat diamond, Diavik Selene, an extraordinary white gem named after the Titan goddess of the Moon.

Rio Tinto’s Murowa Diamonds in Zimbabwe, its youngest and smallest operating mine, is likely to contribute the highest value of Specials of the three mines. With a unique combination of colours, sizes and qualities, the Murowa “Specials” include a 35.41-carat fancy yellow coloured diamond, Helios, named after the Greek Titan of the Sun.

Specialist diamond companies from around the world have been invited to bid on the Rio Tinto Diamonds Specials Tender, an opportunity to acquire some of the most sought after and collectible diamonds in the world.