What is an Argyle Diamond? Everything You Need to Know.
Lauded as some of the world's most captivating and esteemed gemstones, Argyle diamonds embody a rich tapestry of geological wonder, economic intrigue, and an allure that continues to charm even the most discerning collectors. Over billions of years, these stunning diamonds have travelled through time and space, from the heart of the Earth to the far reaches of East Kimberley in Western Australia.
If you’re new to the field, you may have heard some chatter about these precious stones and wondered, ‘What is an Argyle diamond?’ How are these diamonds different from their counterparts, and where do such pink marvels come from? Why do they command such premium prices, and what contributes to their exceptional rarity?
As we traverse the captivating history of Argyle pink diamonds, we'll unfold the factors that contribute to their rarity and how these gems have reshaped the diamond industry's landscape. Join us on this riveting exploration, as we unearth the secrets of Argyle diamonds, illuminating their geological origins, exploring their grading system, and revealing the factors that make them some of the most sought-after gems in the world.
Where Do Pink Diamonds Come From? The History of the Argyle Diamond Mine
Opening of the Argyle Diamond Mine
The Argyle Diamond Mine was nestled within the rugged landscape of the Kimberley in Western Australia, initially unveiled in the 1980s. Given the wealth of gems hidden under the rock, the Argyle mine quickly ascended to be the world's leading producer of diamonds by volume. For over three decades, this remarkable mine produced over a third of the world's diamonds annually, making it the planet's most significant diamond supplier by volume. Although best known for its pink diamonds, the mine was also, in fact, a significant source of a variety of diamonds, including champagne, cognac, and blue diamonds.
Impact of the Surge in New Pink Diamonds from the Argyle Mine
Pink diamonds were relatively overlooked until the Argyle mine's discovery, becoming responsible for an astonishing 90% of the global pink diamond supply, bringing these previously rare gems to the forefront of the diamond industry. While the mine was rich in diamonds, the occurrence of pink diamonds was exceedingly rare. It's estimated that fewer than 1% of the diamonds withdrawn from the earth were gem-quality pink diamonds.
Closure of the Argyle Diamond Mine & Impact on the Market
Despite its rich diamond resources, heavy mining over the years slowly depleted the Argyle mine. In November 2020, after 37 years of production, the mine ceased operations, marking the end of a significant chapter in the history of the diamond industry.
Naturally, the closure sparked a frenzy among investors and collectors, escalating the value of these rare gems, which has continued ever since. The sheer scarcity and exceptional beauty of these pink gems have rendered Argyle pink diamonds some of the most coveted and valuable diamonds globally. Each pink diamond is a geological marvel, boasting a unique colour range, from soft blush pink to a rich purplish red. The intensity of colour, a result of specific geological conditions unique to the Argyle mine, is a key determinant of an Argyle diamond's value.
What is the Grading System used by the Argyle mine to grade their pink diamonds?
Much like their colourless counterparts, Argyle diamonds are assessed on the universally recognised diamond grading system: the '4 Cs':
With coloured diamonds, the importance of these factors is slightly shifted, and a new factor of 'intensity of colour' becomes pivotal.
Let's break down these factors for a comprehensive understanding:
Clarity refers to the degree to which a diamond is free from inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds with fewer internal and external flaws boast higher clarity grades, thus, often command higher prices. In the context of coloured diamonds, clarity is of lesser significance, as the inclusions contribute to the diamond's colour. Nonetheless, a pink Argyle diamond with superior clarity is still a rare find.
The cut of a diamond doesn't just refer to its shape but also how effectively it has been cut from its raw form. It measures a diamond's symmetry, proportions, and quality of polish on the facets. The cut also influences how the light interacts with the diamond and subsequently affects its sparkle and brilliance. Given their inherent colour intensity, Argyle diamonds require special consideration while cutting. Each gem needs to be cut in a way that maximises its colour visibility, which is often a challenging task necessitating the skills of a master cutter.
Colour is undoubtedly the most critical factor when assessing the value of Argyle diamonds. Unlike colourless diamonds, where the absence of colour increases the value, the presence and intensity of those unmistakable hues are what make Argyle diamonds so prized.
Argyle pink diamonds are evaluated on their hue (the visible colour), tone (the darkness or lightness of the colour), and saturation (the strength or weakness of the colour), with grading extending from a soft blush pink to an intense purple-red. This colour range has been categorised into specific grading terms, including:
· Purplish Pink (PP)
· Pink (P)
· Pink Rosé (PR)
· Pink Champagne (PC)
Carat weight is the standard measure of a diamond's weight, and consequently, its size. While larger diamonds are often considered more valuable, Argyle pink diamonds are so rare that even small carat weights can command high prices.
What are the Common Reasons People Buy Argyle pink diamonds?
Argyle pink diamonds hold a distinct place in several domains due to their rare allure. From personal adornments and symbolic gifts to investment assets and collector's pieces, these vibrant gemstones cater to a myriad of purposes.
Diamond Engagement Rings
These gems' rarity and unique beauty have made them a favourite among couples seeking a unique symbol of their love. Whether it's a stunning solitaire setting, or an intricate halo design surrounded by white diamonds, an Argyle pink diamond engagement ring captures the essence of romance like no other.
Beyond engagement rings, Argyle pink diamonds make exceptional centrepieces in various forms of jewellery. Necklaces, pendants, earrings, and bracelets featuring these rare gems are highly coveted for their distinctive beauty and timeless appeal.
Argyle pink diamonds' scarcity and unique characteristics have also made them a magnet for collectors. Given their wide range of hues and intensities, collectors worldwide seek these diamonds, viewing each piece as a rare treasure. In particular, high-quality Argyle pink diamonds, marked by their intense colours and larger carat sizes, are considered the crown jewels of any collection.
With the closure of the Argyle mine, the value of these pink diamonds is expected to surge due to their limited supply. Investors worldwide have recognised this potential, purchasing Argyle diamonds as a way to diversify their portfolios. Compared to traditional investment vehicles, these diamonds have outperformed them time and again, offering the unique advantage of being tangible, portable assets that investors can admire and enjoy while they appreciate in value.