Last year, The Perth Mint captivated the imaginations of coin and gemstone lovers alike when it released the "Kimberley Sunset," a 2-ounce pink gold coin punctuated by a petite .04-carat pink diamond. Last week, the Mint took the concept to new heights by unveiling "The Kimberley Treasure," a 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) yellow gold coin embellished by an ultra-rare .54-carat red diamond sourced in Western Australia.
The price tag for the one-of-a-kind collectible is AUD$1 million ($758,000). It's the most valuable coin ever released by The Perth Mint.
With its precious metal content valued at just under $50,000, the coin's premium price is based primarily on its exclusivity and the fact that natural red diamonds are the rarest of all fancy-colored diamonds. The diamond set in the "The Kimberley Treasure" was unearthed at Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region — one of the few mines in the world that produces red diamonds. Rio Tinto reports that its average annual output of red diamonds is barely 1 carat.
Fancy red diamonds are so rare that the world's supply of gem-quality specimens could easily fit in the palm of one's hand. In fact, many gemologist have never touched a red diamond. At auction, the elusive fancy red diamond can easily fetch $1 million per carat.
Emphasizing the coin's Aussie origin is a depiction of a kangaroo, hopping across the coin from right to left. Grasped between its rendered paws is a genuine radiant-cut red diamond (although The Perth Mint's illustration seems to show a round gemstone). Around the top rim is the phrase "AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO." The year 2016, the weight of 1 kilo and the metal purity of 9999 GOLD are written along the bottom rim.
On the reverse, an Ian Rank-Broadley portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is encircled by the denomination value of 5,000 DOLLARS (Australian), as well as her name and the word "AUSTRALIA" spelled in capital letters.
While last year's 22-karat pink gold Kimberley Sunset had a denominational value of 500 Aussie dollars and a purchase price of AUD$6,000, this year's Kimberley Treasure boasts a denomination value of 5,000 Aussie dollars and a selling price of AUD$1 million. The Sunset had been released in a limited mintage of 500. The Mint will produced only one Kimberley Treasure.
“We are delighted to collaborate with The Perth Mint on the exclusive release of this distinctive investment piece," said Simon Trott, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds. "It is a beautiful symbol of the unique treasures of Western Australia and sets a new benchmark in limited-edition craftsmanship.”
It is believed that red diamonds get their rich color from a molecular structure distortion that occurs as the jewel forms in the earth’s crust. By contrast, other colored diamonds get their color from trace elements in their chemical composition, such as boron (yielding a blue diamond) or nitrogen (yielding a yellow one).
Credits: Photos courtesy of Rio Tinto and The Perth Mint.