Fancy coloured diamonds are extremely rare but found in captivating colours, including pink, yellow, orange, blue, red, and brown. Their rarity and sparkling beauty make them highly popular across the globe. In the diamond’s world, the rarer the stone, the more valuable it is. Pink diamonds are rare but the most sought after commodity. The largest source of pink diamonds is Argyle mines in Western Australia. This mine accounts for about 90% of all the pink gem in the world. However, pink diamond accounts for less than 1% of all Argyle diamonds. Unfortunately, the mine is up for closure, meaning pink diamonds will become even rarer.
Argyle Diamond Grading
If you are selling a product of varied quality, you may need to grade your products to enable your clients to pick the level of quality they need. The same is also true for diamonds. It is one of the most sought-after commodities, either as a gift or an investment option. Investment diamonds are a great alternative to traditional assets, which are highly volatile.
Argyle diamonds, particularly pink diamonds, vary in value, depending on their grading. These precious gems are graded using the 4Cs grading system. This means diamonds can be graded in four different ways, including colour, carat weight, clarity, and cut or shape. In this article, we will focus on colour grading.
Argyle Diamond Colour Grading System
Argyle diamonds are broadly divided into two categories, colourless (white) and coloured diamonds. However, irrespective of the categories, diamonds are of different colour quality. If you have ever bought a diamond, you may have come across a diamond colour grading system. The most commonly used colour grade scale is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). In fact, you are advised to buy only diamonds with a GIA certificate. Otherwise, you may end up with a fake diamond.
However, GIA is not the only colour grading system available. Rio Tinto, the company managing the Argyle mines, developed an Argyle colour grading system to grade the stones found in the mine. This colour scale was mainly created to help grade Australian pink diamonds. However, you can also use the colour grade scale to grade blue-violet and pink-champagne stones.
The GIA Colour Grading Method
Before you begin to understand the Argyle grading scale and certificate, you must understand the GIA method since it is the universal diamond gradating system. GIA grading system grades colourless and coloured diamonds and describes the colours in terms of saturation, tone, and hue. Hue is the diamond’s colour; the tone is the colour’s darkness or lightness, while saturation the colour’s strength or depth. There are 27 hues of diamonds, with each hue described in terms of tone and saturation. With the GIA grading method, you will hear terms such as Fancy Vivid, Fancy Intense, and Fancy Light quite often.
GIA has a different scale for the coloured diamonds. While Argyle’s colour scale is mainly used to grade pink diamond, GIA coloured-diamond scale can be used in any colour, making it more universal.
Argyle Grading Method
Now that you have an idea of the universal or traditional grading system, we can now learn more about the Argyle Diamond Mines’ colour grading system. While GIA grades diamond based on their colours and intensity, the Argyle colour grading method grades both colour aspects. Like we said above, the Argyle grading scale is mainly used to grade Argyle pink diamonds extracted from the Argyle mine.
This grading system divides the pink diamond into three main categories or hues; Purplish Pink (PP), Pink (P), and Pink Rose (PR). Once the three categories have been obtained, each is signed numbers 1 to 9. These numbers denote the colour intensity. The lower the number, the more saturated the pink colour. The numbers form the prefix, followed by hue’s abbreviation. For instance, you will come across things like 1P, 5PP, or 9PR. In this case, 9PP means the stone is purplish pink and grade nine. It is also important to note that 1PP has a more colour saturation than 9PP.
However, this rule is not applied when grading blue-violet (BL) and pink champagne (PC) stones. Pink champagne is a diamond stone with brown as the primary colour and pink as the secondary colour. In this case, the stone will still be abbreviated as PC but will only use numbers 1 to 3 as a suffix. So’ we’ll have PC1, PC2, BL1, and BL3. Here, the higher the number, the more saturated the hue.
Pink diamond’s grading has a direct implication on its value and price. A 9PP diamond is almost faint in colour and is sold at a cheaper price than a 1PP, highly saturated. In a GIA grading scale, 1PP would be referred to as a fancy vivid pink diamond. The largest fancy vivid pink diamond is the Pink Star, which was auctioned in 2017 at $71.2 million.
Although Argyle Diamond Mines is responsible for diamond mining at the Argyle mines, it sometimes sells unpolished or cut pink diamonds to dealers and individuals. However, if you need a polished and cut diamond, the company can still sell you a piece. When you buy a pink diamond from the company, it will issue you with an Argyle certificate containing the description of Argyle diamonds. This certificate contains the weight, colour, shape, and clarity grading of your diamond.
The Australian pink diamonds that have been cut and prepared by Argyle Diamonds are extremely rare, making them a good investment option. On the contrary, diamonds without certificates are not as rare. Thus, they are not highly prized, making them bad for investment. So, next time you are shopping for a piece of diamond, ensure it is certified.
Although there are two main diamond colour grading systems, the GIA grading scale is more universal than the Argyle scale. The argyle scale was created by the Argyle Diamond Mines to help with the grading of Argyle diamond. Colour grading helps in determining a diamond’s value and the best quality for the investment. As a precaution, it is essential that you buy only certified diamonds, whether GIA or Argyle certified. A certificate issued by Argyle Diamond Investments Pty Ltd is proof that you have bought a genuine stone.
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