The rare beauty of pink diamonds knows no substitute.
Bianca Mangion discusses the astonishing rise in value of the world’s most-desired gems.
The Australian national anthem boasts, “Our land abounds in nature’s gifts of beauty rich and rare.” This is perhaps nowhere near as pertinent than when describing Argyle pink diamonds.
The stunning, blushing beauties born in the wild of the remote East Kimberley region in Western Australia have never been more prized for their rarity and value. In recent years, exceptional examples have fetched upwards of $1m per carat and prices seem set to go higher still! This is because the Rio Tinto Argyle Diamond Mine, where over 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds are unearthed is tipped to close in a mere four to five years, creating genuine scarcity in the market.
“This now makes an Argyle pink diamond ‘the ultimate limited edition’,” says Craig Leonard of Leonard’s Jewellers.
Operating in Newcastle, New South Wales since 1932, Leonard’s Jewellers offers a wide collection of pink diamonds, including the prized Argyle pinks, with expertise to match. Leonard is passionate about pinks, calling them the most concentrated form of wealth in the world and stating that the price of the gems has increased 430 per cent in the last 11 years.
“They are the rarest and most valuable hard asset on Earth today,” he quips. “It is projected by the world’s leading diamond experts that they will continue to grow in price for at least the next 10 years.”
Rare indeed: it is estimated that there are 10,000 colourless diamonds for every coloured diamond in existence.
In operation since 1983, Argyle supplies approximately 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds yet pink diamonds are rare, even for Argyle. While the mine produces 600 million stones annually, only one tenth of one per cent is pink – white and champagne diamonds are in greater abundance while blue and green diamonds also appear there at times.
Of an annual yield, the amount of Argyle pink diamonds sized half a carat or greater would fit into the palm of your hand so it’s testament to the popularity of pink diamonds that the mine is best known for them. Rarer still, the violet diamonds produced there in a year would only just fill a teaspoon.
Such rarity demands the most exclusive trading conditions. The finest stones from a year’s production are reserved for the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, usually featuring those sized half a carat and upwards. These precious stones are cut and polished by the most skilled artisans and then graded by two independent grading laboratories. These labs apply a unique grading system to the stones, mainly inspecting the richness of colour, which can range from red to pink, purplish pink to pink rose and pink champagne to violet.
Once graded, the diamonds are ready for tender. Of the one million carats of rough diamonds produced at the mine each year, only one carat of pink diamonds is available for sale at the event truly making each of these stones a one-in-a-million purchase!
The finest 55-60 diamonds are revealed at a private showing, where prospective buyers have the opportunity to place sealed bids.
Is it any wonder these precious gems are so coveted?!
Leonard advises those looking to obtain a pink diamond – whether looking to make a self-managed superannuation investment or to use the stones as complementary side diamonds on an engagement ring – not to settle for anything less.
“Ensure it’s an Argyle pink diamond, not an African or Brazilian pink as these diamonds do not have the rarity that will keep driving the prices up,” he warns.
If you are purchasing a pink diamond jewellery piece, Leonard advises to opt for popular, classic designs: “When it comes to styles, most people keep to what’s popular as they will generally want to resell it after a few years to make a profit.”
Value aside, a pink diamond lover appreciates these beauties for the depth of their romantic hue, which should be observed when making a purchase.
The more intense and deep its colour, the greater the value of a pink diamond – the rare deep red is the ultimate prize.
“Unlike white diamonds it’s all about the saturation of pink colour and not the clarity, as most Argyle pink diamonds are I1 to SI2 in clarity,” Leonard adds.
This pink tone is purportedly produced as a result of rare geological conditions. While scientists are still uncertain, many accept that a pink diamond’s colour comes from a distortion in the diamond’s molecular structure following its formation in the Earth’s mantle or during its 160km ascent to the Earth’s surface.
When they do appear, only the luckiest few will ever get to possess these precious pinks.