The first red diamond to ever be offered for public auction in Australia failed to sell at Sotheby’s Australia auction in Sydney last week.
The 0.82 carat purplish red Argyle diamond (claw set on a platinum ring between a pair of fancy blue diamonds and a cluster of brilliant cut white diamonds on a platinum ring) was expected to sell for between $700,000 and $1 million but bidding only reached $490,000.
According to Sotheby’s, “less than a handful of red diamonds” are available despite the notable discovery of WA’s Argyle pink diamond deposits in 1987.
“Diamond connoisseurs have long considered red diamonds to be among the most precious and rarest of all diamonds,” Sotheby’s said.
“Exceptional stones of this calibre have always been highly coveted and were worn by the great rulers such as Napoleon and those of the grand Moghul Empire.
“Most references to red diamonds lie in folklore and their whereabouts today is shrouded in mystery. Very few people have ever had the chance to see one up close.
“While the cause of these diamonds colour is not yet thoroughly understood, it is generally accepted that the red color results from structural features in the diamond’s crystal lattice.
“Following on from the exhaustion of the fabled Indian diamond mines in the 1700s, recent discoveries of small diamonds in the purplish red hues have been reported from Brazil, Borneo, India, South Africa and Venezuela.”
Apart from the red diamond, Sotheby’s Australia inaugural jewellery auction featured more than 250 lots of antique and contemporary jewellery.