Truths about Pink Argyle | A Buyer's Guide
There has been much press lately on Argyle diamonds because the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia shut down at the end of the year. It's no secret that pink diamonds are a hot commodity among collectors and jewellery enthusiasts.
When it was operating at total capacity, the Argyle mine supplied more than 90% of the world's brilliant pink diamonds. Beginning with modest means in 1983, it soon began producing some of the world's most beautiful and highly sought-after coloured diamonds.
After hearing all the rumours about how great Argyle diamonds are, here are the four facts you must know before buying your Argyle diamonds!
Though Scarce, Argyle Pink Diamonds are Still Widely Available
You can still find Argyle Pink Diamonds in large quantities despite their diminishing availability. However, be wary of the claims made by well-known brands.
Diamonds with the Argyle name deserve it because they originate from the Argyle mine in Western Australia. Argyle supplies some pink diamonds, but not all of them, because they are so scarce. The name Argyle is a trademark of sorts.
Not only have they created their colour scheme for fancy diamonds, but they have also devised their grading report for pink diamonds.
However, jewellers and suppliers have hoarded pink Argyle diamonds since the Argyle mine opened 40 years ago. Thus, any claims of holding "the last of the Argyles" only attempt to capitalise on the diamonds' scarcity. In other words, "terrific advertising"!
Argyle diamond prices are expected to remain under pressure because of the mine's closure, low supply, and strong demand. However, the business has also done an excellent job of marketing its rare and famous Argyle Tender, which is a big reason why Argyle diamonds are so valuable.
To give just one example, a few years ago, the price of a 0.37-carat Fancy Intense pink round diamond would have been less than AU$28,572, but now, it would likely sell for more than three times as much.
The Argyle Pink Diamond Tender is an annual event that features the most exquisite, rare, and expensive coloured diamonds produced by the mine. In May of 2021, Rio Tinto previewed the final exhibition of their collection of rare Argyle pink, red, and blue — Yep, you read that correctly — diamonds from the now-defunct Kimberley mine in Western Australia.
However, Perth, Antwerp, Singapore, and Sydney was the last location where bids for 2021 Argyle Pink Diamonds were accepted before the tender's September 1st deadline.
Even though this was the last public display of diamonds from the legendary Argyle mine — which produced some of the world's rarest and most expensive gems — it doesn't mean you can't get your hands on one now.
As David Fardon of Linney's Jewellery, who assisted with the early international promotion of the pink diamonds, told ABC in an interview on November 3rd 2020:
"The truth is that some people in the diamond business have been purchasing a stock for practically the entire mine's existence." ~ Linney's Jewellery, David Fardon.
From what we've seen, there are still plenty of Pink Argyles in a wide range of hues and sizes available from various vendors and jewellers, domestically and abroad. Therefore, be aware of jewellery stores and vendors who claim to have "the last available Argyle Pink Diamonds," as this is not true.
Versatile Colour Range of Argyle Diamonds
Argyle diamonds are more valuable than pink diamonds in general, not just because of their colour but also because of the prestige associated with owning an Argyle diamond. Fancy colour diamonds, mined from the Argyle deposit, are valued primarily for their hue. When it comes to diamonds, pink is one of the rarest and most sought-after hues.
However, the dazzling radiance of Argyle diamonds isn't limited to just one hue. As was previously mentioned, the Argyle mine also produced some excellent blue, red, violet, yellow, green, champagne, and of course, white diamonds, in addition to the most beautiful pink diamonds.
As with any diamond, Argyle diamonds are graded on the 4Cs (Colour, Clarity, Cut, and Carat), albeit the Argyle firm has developed its system for grading colour. There are four grades for pink diamonds: PP (Purplish Pink), P (Pink), PR (Pink Rosé), and PC (Pink Cushion) (Pink Champagne).
After that, diamonds are ranked by how strongly they reflect a given colour. The possible values are between 1 (the best) and 9 (the worst) (the lowest).
Pink diamonds from the Argyle mine tend to have a bubblegum hue and a high-quality look. Perhaps surprisingly, pink diamonds aren't the most expensive per carat when considering overall value.
Thus, red Argyle diamonds are the rarest of all colours. The red diamond's price per carat is a staggering AU$1,428,571 (Forbes Magazine, 2015) since they are so scarce!
According to an article in The Australian Diamond Portfolio, rising demand has led to a sharp increase in the price of blue Argyle diamonds. For context, about one blue diamond was found for every 25 million carats of diamonds mined from the Argyle mine, making it one of the world's rarest gemstones.
Since the Argyle mine only produced one diamond for every 25 million carats of diamonds mined, it's safe to assume that Argyle Blue and Violet diamonds, particularly, are approaching a trend close to that of the pinks.
Settle for the Best Prices
Looking for the best price like any other product or service, would be best. Hence, refrain from overpaying for something you don't need because the market creates a false impression of scarcity.
You should only buy an argyle diamond from a dealer who provides high-resolution images. Value is not based solely on colour; there can be significant variation within the same colour grade.
Regarding the price-to-beauty ratio, a pink diamond not part of a well-known brand will provide the greatest bang for your buck. Meanwhile, an argyle diamond is rarer and more precious than a conventional diamond, making it a desirable heirloom.
The diamond market is highly competitive, just like any other commodities market. Therefore it pays to look around. Many jewellery stores have relationships with multiple Australian diamond suppliers who sell a wide variety of Argyle Diamonds so that they can shop around for the best price for you.
The purity of colour is a significant factor in determining the price and worth of Argyles. Rare and expensive, pure Argyle Diamonds are the exception to the rule that most diamonds include at least one secondary hue. The more vital and vivid the hue, the higher the price tag.
Compared to "ordinary" pink diamonds, certified Argyle pink diamonds are significantly more costly. Compared to the AU$200,000 – AU$257,143 range that a 1-carat fancy pink (not a round) might sell for, an equivalent Argyle stone would likely sell for well over $285,714 AUD.
Consider this stunning 1.02-carat vivid pink diamond from Leibish & Co., which will earn back AU$275,714. This deep pink Argyle, 1.01-carats in size, is listed at AU$638,826. As can be seen, this is a rather significant price differential.
Rio Tinto's Dedication and Strategy Make Argyle Diamonds a Global Favourite
Argyle Diamonds are well-liked in today's environmentally conscious and socially conscious world because of Rio Tinto's dedication to sourcing only conflict-free diamonds, restoring degraded land, and working with traditional owners.
However, Rio Tinto did not just cease operations in November. They have a five-year closure and restoration plan in place, during which they would destroy equipment and machinery and aid traditional owners in land rehabilitation.
Many years of negotiation between Argyle and other traditional owner organisations resulted in the National Native Title Tribunal registration in 2005. However, Rio Tinto wants to ensure the Kimberley property is left in a way that is satisfactory to the original inhabitants.
"We want to agree with stakeholders on a shared vision for the property, balancing environmental and community concerns with long-term financial implications related to water treatment, land repurposing, and remediation. We want to leave a lasting legacy through providing benefit to the Group and our stakeholders." ~ Rio Tinto.
Thus, Rio Tinto has established a diamond brand that exudes trust and trustworthiness by striking a balance between environmental revegetation and sustainability and returning the Argyle site to its original owners.
"Over the nearly four decades that the Argyle mine has been operating. Rio Tinto has established a distinct diamond brand of integrity and authenticity, an Australian symbol and source of national pride, now recognised and asked for, by name, across the globe", as stated by jewellery historian Vivienne Becker.
With the final Argyle Pink Diamond Tender quickly approaching, we have noticed that jewellers and suppliers are boasting that they have "the last of the pink diamonds." However, there are still and will be thousands of Argyle Diamonds in circulation, each with its unique colour and cut.
However, given the declining supply, an Argyle stone may be your best bet if you're eyeing the stone as a long-term family heritage or prestige investment.
Buying an Argyle stone depends on your reasons for doing so. Do you want to choose the most visually appealing pink diamond within your budget? A generic pink shade would be your best bet in that case.
As far as we're concerned, it comes down to personal taste. Regardless of your preference for diamond colour, Argyle Diamonds are a valid symbol of Australia. They will become treasured keepsakes that may be passed down through the ages and used as conversation starters about the people and events they represent.
1. What is unique about Argyle diamonds?
Not only do Argyle Pink Diamonds come in a stunning array of pastel pink tones, but they also hold the prestige of being one of the world's rarest gemstones, lending them an air of mystery that is hard to match.
2. How rare are blue Argyle diamonds?
The Argyle Blue diamond is even more elusive than the pink diamond and has a heftier price tag because of its scarcity. One blue diamond unearths for every 25 million carats of diamonds mined from the Argyle mine.
3. Are Argyle diamonds valuable?
Rare as they are, Argyle diamonds are still a subset of the diamond family. Natural Argyle diamonds are the most valuable stones on the planet. As a result of their scarcity, one carat of one of these gems can fetch well over AU$142,857.
4. Are Argyle diamonds still being mined?
Following 37 years of operation and the extraction of over 865 million carats of raw diamonds, mining at Argyle concluded in November 2020. The miners are dedicated to safely and responsibly shutting down the mine, repairing the site, and releasing the land back to its original stewards.
5. Why are Argyle diamonds closing?
Unfortunately, Argyle is dry. In mining, this period is known as "mine life," and once it has passed, the mine is no longer profitable. So, Cisecki stated, "Argyle has hit peak diamond, meaning that the mine has depleted its diamond reserves and can no longer produce diamonds. Therefore, Rio Tinto will proceed with the restoration of the land at this time."