The Largest Mine of Pink Argyle Diamonds is Drying Up
The annual production in Argyle has typically been close to 10,000 carats after being polished on average. However, there are perhaps 150 of them left.
The geologists had spent a decade surveying the country, including with a helicopter, since they had a hunch that the dry, sun-baked ground might conceal something of value. To be specific, it required a closer inspection: As they made their way across the outback, they focused their attention more intently on the shimmering particles.
They turned out to be fragments of diamonds accidentally brought to the surface by the insects from a deposit or pipe located below. The scale of the seam they'd identified, located a few miles south of Lake Argyle, was something that even that crew, comprised entirely of seasoned diamond hunters, could not guess at the time.
When formal operations began in 1983, four years after the first discovery, the pink diamonds from this single mine almost immediately doubled the production of pink diamonds worldwide. Since its doors forty years ago, the Argyle mine has produced 865 million carats worth of raw pink diamonds.
There is now a big gash in the reddish-brown dirt where the shimmering anthills once stood as the only evidence of life. The mine has carved steep, stepped walls into the area around the trench. But there was an even larger reward concealed among the teeming shoals of stones, one that the ants hadn't telegraphed: pink diamonds.
At most mines, you'll be lucky to find one pink diamond in the entire harvest; at Argyle, you may expect to see approximately one pink carat for every 1,000 carats mined.
Even more impressive is that they are invariably of the best quality and possess a rich, lucid, and intense colour. To say that an Argyle pink is uncommon would be an understatement, according to Murray Rayner, a geologist who has spent the past 16 years working for Rio Tinto, the company that owns the mine.
It's much rarest than rare—no, there's a reason it should even exist. The probability of even one such diamond forming was supposed to be comparable to winning the lottery twice on the same day; to the joy of Rayner and the other geologists working at Argyle, it has happened repeatedly.
Even yet, the average yearly output has been roughly 10,000 polished carats, demonstrating how important the discovery of Argyle pink diamonds here has been for the global supply. The mine is responsible for generating 90 per cent of all Argyle pink diamonds that have been sold since it first opened.
Natural Pink diamonds were so uncommon before the Argyle seam was discovered that jewellers hardly ever paid attention to the colour variation in their inventory. But, as market participant Scott West explains, what good would it have done to create a market if there was no stable supply?
This mine has been supplying a modest but consistent flow of high-quality pink diamonds, which has significantly impacted the market—at least up until now. Rio Tinto has said that it will cease all activities at Argyle by the end of 2020, and the company estimates that there are only about 150 Argyle pinks to be discovered there before it does.
It's a Herculean effort to accomplish: Every hour of every day, dumpers move tonnes of stony dirt into the tunnels under the earth where the last excavations occur. These tunnels are chilly and wet, and the world is being sifted, which makes a clattering noise. Those 150 pinks are hidden in that grey muck like a golden ticket and could be anywhere.
Since Rio Tinto first realised the worth of the Natural pink diamonds concealed here, the company has made a concerted effort to cultivate the Pink Argyle diamond brand. In the 1980s, it initiated a formal certification and marketing programme to associate its name with the highest quality examples of these stones.
One of the most critical aspects of this programme is the fall invitation-only yearly tender, which is attended by just one hundred fifty of the most prominent dealers, jewellers, and other fans worldwide.
Since 1984, they have been allowed to compete for the supply of superior pinks left over from the previous year, an annual offering that has averaged just 50 carats in size. This competition takes place halfway around the world. (The remaining items are distributed throughout Argyle's distribution network and sold at various points during the year.)
Each year, that batch would be sold at tender with a dramatic flourish and very high price. One example is when Laurence Graff picked up every stone in the first tender and created a Tremblant flower out of them, which the Sultan of Brunei later purchased.
According to numbers provided by Rio Tinto, annual price increases have been in the double-digit percentage range. It indicates that an investment in these rocks in 2000 would have surpassed all main equities indices.
However, in 1995, the Gemmological Institute of America in the United States refined its classification for coloured diamonds, factoring in elements such as hue, saturation, and tone. The four-C system grades colourless diamonds (carat, colour, cut, and clarity), but this system is not used for coloured diamonds.
The procedure used to create Argyle pinks ensured that they always stood out, all down to the fact that they were formed in the first place. At the very least, geologists subscribe to this line of thinking.
They believe this deposit was produced at deeper and hotter depths of the earth's crust than a conventional pipe, which coalesces approximately 100 miles below the surface. It would put the formation of this deposit at a greater depth. Therefore, the Argyle deposit demanded a longer period and more effort to break through to the mantle.
According to Rayner, the fact that the diamond seedings underwent this procedure increased their stress level in just the correct amount to cause them to turn pink. However, not even he can say for certain. Pink diamond mines are an exception; most other colours of diamonds, such as blue and yellow, are caused by impurities.
Pink diamonds, on the other hand, develop under pressure due to atomic-level alterations within the stone. Even now, Rayner and his other researchers cannot explain the process that results in a pink diamond. But whatever transpired at Argyle, it took place at the perfect moment.
This pipe does not generate the muddy, slightly washed-out hues uncovered in other areas, including South Africa. Instead, the Rare pink diamonds in Argyle shine with an intense bubble-gum-like vibrance that acts much like a gemological fingerprint.
This bubble-gum-like vibrance is one-of-a-kind in the world and makes it possible for an expert to identify stones from this mine just by looking at them through a loupe. The geological features of this seam have resulted in additional influences being exerted upon the stones.
Argyle pinks are more delicate, and they are also more challenging to polish. Cutting a clear diamond versus a pink diamond is compared wryly by cutters to working on butter versus knots in the wood.
The twisted subatomic structure that gives diamonds their vibrant colour is also impossible to reproduce in a laboratory using the traditional procedure, which involves slowly building diamonds in layers around a seed. It is how diamonds are typically made.
Pink Diamonds, Apart from All the Others
Is it true that Australian pink diamonds are as rare as people believe they are? The Argyle mine offered only about 50 carats of polished Natural pink diamonds (of which very few exceeded one carat in size), 35 fancy red diamonds, 36 fancy purplish-pink diamonds, and 14 blue diamonds.
These diamonds were formed more than one billion years ago and were primarily found in this remote location. Throughout its existence, the mine produced 865 million carats' worth of raw diamonds, with only a tenth of one per cent of the gems falling into the category of pink diamonds.
Unlike other fancy coloured diamonds, the phenomenon of how these diamonds get their colour is still unknown. However, it is believed that a twist within the atomic lattice produces the colour during formation due to enormous heat and pressure below the earth's surface.
Therefore, it makes these diamonds even more intriguing. In the words of Vivienne Becker, an esteemed jewellery historian, Over the nearly four-decade lifespan of the Argyle mine, Rio Tinto has built a unique and rare diamond brand of integrity and authenticity, an Australian icon and source of national pride, now recognised and asked for, by name, across the globe.
This statement captures the essence of what has been accomplished by Rio Tinto for the nearly four decades that the Argyle mine has been in operation. Long after the final Argyle stone has been purchased, it will continue to serve as a status symbol, just like other famous stones from worldwide that bear their names.
How People Gather and Look Through Pink Diamonds
Whenever consumers feel more at ease utilising various forms of technology, there will be an increase in the likelihood of them purchasing some kind of technology.
However, the tiny subtleties of colour, the way the colour responds within the diamond, and even the emotional reactions that occur with viewing the pink diamonds in person cannot be substituted by digitisation. It is especially true when it comes to the examination of high-value pink diamonds.
This technology will undoubtedly improve the experience; nevertheless, it is more likely to augment than replace existing elements. During the past two decades, the value of coloured diamonds as a category as a whole has skyrocketed due in large part to the aesthetic appeal and quality of Argyle pinks:
According to the Fancy Color Research Foundation, the median price paid at auction for coloured diamonds increased by 122 per cent for the previous decade leading up to 2017.
On the other hand, Argyle pinks might attract a premium of an additional 10 to 20 per cent higher than the price of even the finest colours originating from elsewhere, whether it is Siberia, South Africa, or Tanzania.
As a result, it has been forecast by Panmure Gordon and other financial institutions, as well as analysts, that restricting the flow of supply will cause prices for Argyle to skyrocket. However, there is still the prospect that Rio Tinto will sell the Argyle name, which has a long history of success, once the mine itself has been shut down.
According to people with knowledge of the industry, the mining giant would probably only sell to a buyer who was already deeply involved with Argyle. It could be a long-time dealer who has stockpiled more than a few pinks and has a vested interest in preserving the prestige of Argyle pink diamonds and their price.
Essential Things A Newbie Should Know About Collecting Pink Diamonds
The collectability of Argyle pink diamonds is predicated on their genuineness and provenance. Each pink diamond weighing more than eight points (0.08 carats) is laser-inscribed with a one-of-a-kind lot number, which can only be seen when the pink diamond is magnified.
It is a significant mark of confidence that, combined with the confirmed documentation – an Argyle Pink Diamonds Gem Identification and Authenticity Document – assures the chain of custody beginning at the mine and continuing through the point of purchase.
Second, unlike white diamonds, valued primarily based on their clarity and total carat weight, coloured diamonds' value is determined mainly through their colour.
The spectrum of pink hues that may be found in Argyle diamonds is so distinctive that in the early 1980s, the company's professional graders devised a colour classification system that was solely theirs to use.
This internationally recognised technique is the master guide in appraising pink diamonds, and generally speaking, the more intense the colour, the rarer and more costly the diamond is.
Have A Pinker Appearance Than Others
The pink spectrum encompasses a wide range of colour saturations. Argyle Pink Diamonds have devised a colour grading scale after conducting an extensive study to categorise and differentiate between these distinct levels of colour saturation.
To simplify and summarise the grading system, a diamond's rarity and value increase directly to its depth of colour. Luxury Brand Jewellery provides customers access to a diverse selection of Argyle Pink Diamonds and jewellery at various price ranges.
Some styles feature softer pinks and patterns that feature more profound, more intense pink diamonds. As there is such a wide range of colours, we can maintain "rarity within reach" for everyone.
First, each is exceptionally rare, valuable, and unique. Second, the form that a diamond is cut into can affect the amount of light penetrating it. Rare pink Diamonds cut into specific shapes, such as the round brilliant, can give the impression of being either lighter or darker depending on the illumination.
Bright fluorescent lights tend to provide Rare pink diamonds with a paler look; however, natural outdoor light, such as that which happens in the early evening, or even softer incandescent lighting will give the gems a pinker appearance that is richer in tone.
Have A Lesser Clarity Than Other Colours of Diamonds
It is believed that Natural pink diamonds are generated when the crystal structure of the stone is subjected to such extreme pressure that it is transformed in such a way that causes the distinctive colour in these exceptionally unique jewels.
As of the tensions and forces that make them pink, it is also typical for Natural pink diamonds to have lower clarity grades. It is partially attributed to the same factors that cause them to be pink.
The majority of Natural pink diamonds fall within the precise range of SI to 11, although inclusions are frequently less noticeable owing to the intense hue that is present.
When evaluating pink diamonds, an essential factor in determining value is the intensity of the colour, which includes the hue, tone, and saturation of the stone. The function that clarity has in determining value is much less significant.
Pink Diamond Costs Significantly More Than a White Diamond
Natural Diamonds are the most valuable of all gemstones because of their rarity and status as gifts from Mother Nature. Pink diamonds are incredibly uncommon and are regarded as the rarest natural riches that have ever been found anywhere in the world.
The Pink Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia was the only place to obtain natural pink diamonds until it was shut down in November 2020. Over its thirty years of operation, more than 825 million carats' worth of diamonds were extracted there.
Only 1% of them were pink, yet that was enough to account for more than 90% of all pink diamonds ever mined elsewhere in the world. The significant difference in price between Argyle pink and white diamonds can be attributed to the fact that they are so much rarer than white diamonds, in addition to their undeniably stunning appearance.
Rarity Level of Pink Diamonds
Natural pink diamonds are among the rarest and most valuable gemstones ever found. One known reliable source is the Argyle Mine in Western Australia. This mine is responsible for producing more than 90 per cent of the world's supply of pink diamonds.
Unfortunately, since the mine was permanently shut down in November 2020, Argyle Pink Diamonds are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
Think about the fact that only 0.01% of the diamonds mined in Argyle over the past 30 years or so have been pink and that you could fit all of the pink diamonds mined in a year that weigh a half-carat or more in the palm of your hand.
According to reports, the price of a one-carat brilliant pink increased by around forty per cent at the auction that took place the year before, when the closing was already in sight. Rio Tinto does not publicly disclose its sales data; nevertheless, the company did report that multiple records had been broken.
Another art dealer, Scott West, compares the two mediums. "The discovery of Argyle was comparable to when Monet began painting in a profoundly new way," he recalls. "Other artists tried to replicate his approach, basing their own on his." And in the same way that the painter's workshop will one day be devoid of works of art, so will the Argyle mine.
Is The Pink Argyle Diamond Mine Closed, And If So, Does Anyone Know If It Will Ever Open Again?
The Argyle Mine, which has been operational for more than 30 years, ceased operations for good in November 2020, and there are currently no plans to revive the mine. Since there is no reliable supply of natural pink diamonds anywhere on the planet, the rare treasures uncovered at Argyle are becoming even rarer and more expensive as time goes on.
What Are Your Thoughts on Artificially Produced Pink Diamonds?
As synthetic diamonds are correctly identified and their presence in the pipeline is disclosed, they represent a distinct value proposition and can be considered an actual commodity.
Does The Argyle Piece I Purchased Come with A Certificate?
All of the jewellery sold by Luxury Brand Jewellery that features an Argyle Pink Diamond weighing 0.08 carats or more will come with an Argyle Certificate of Authenticity directly from the mine where the diamond was mined.
I Want to Resize My Item; Is That Possible?
Of course, As we want you to wear your Luxury Brand Jewellery with self-assurance and comfort, we are more than pleased to accommodate any alterations you request. Just contact us.
Are there any conflicts in the Argyle Pink diamonds?
No, every Argyle Pink Diamond comes from the Argyle Mine in Australia, which is located in a nation free from the types of civil strife and upheaval that are common in other places of the world that produce diamonds. In addition, Argyle Pink Diamonds are mined responsibly by employing the most ethical best practices.