Pink diamonds evoke a sense of romance and luxury, and for good reason: they are incredibly beautiful, increasingly valuable, and exceedingly rare. While there are several sources for these stunning stones – from Africa to Brazil to Russia and Canada – the most highly-coveted pink diamonds are those sourced from the Argyle mine in Western Australia.
There are a couple of reasons Australian pink diamonds are so popular. The first is their inherent rarity and increasing scarcity in light of the mine’s closure in 2020, and the second is their unique and highly desirable colouration — both in terms of colour saturation and the colour palette itself. In this article we delve a little into the background of Australian pink diamonds and give you all the information you need to decide whether investing in an Australian pink diamond is the right choice for you.
The history of Australian pink diamonds
The Argyle diamond mine
Pink diamonds were first found in the Argyle diamond mine, located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. From the mid-1970s teams of geologists, funded by mining company CRA Ltd – forerunner of Rio Tinto – were scouring this remote part of Australia in search of a diamond pipeline that would yield a reasonable quantity of stones over 0.25 carats.
Their persistent effort was rewarded in 1979, when significant alluvial diamond deposits were discovered at Smoke Creek. These alluvial finds represented a mere fraction of a lamproite pipeline of unprecedented proportions. This proved not only to be the world’s only economically viable lamproite diamond mine (diamond mines are generally based around kimberlite pipelines), but also the highest known ore grade (concentration of diamond within the surrounding rock) for any primary diamond pipeline.
Mining operations began in 1983, firstly with alluvial operations that were quickly followed by open-cut mining, and later transitioning to a fully underground operation. At one point the Argyle mine was the world’s largest diamond mine, covering approximately 50 hectares and reaching to a depth of around 600 metres.
By 1986 the mine had made Australia the world’s leading diamond producer, with its operation serving almost to double the world’s diamond output during the 1980s and 1990s. Despite this, the mine owes its continued economic viability to the sheer volume of industrial grade diamond yielded by the mine, which by the time of the mine’s closure accounted for around 95% of its overall output.
Natural coloured diamonds from the Argyle diamond mine
Pink diamonds were by no means the first diamonds, or the most plentiful, to be extracted from the Argyle mine. The majority of the mine’s output has been in the pale yellow to dark brown colour range, carefully marketed as ‘Champagne’, ‘Cognac’ and ‘Chocolate’ diamonds. In addition to these colours, and the incredibly rare and highly prized pink and red diamonds, the mine has also produced white, blue and violet diamonds.
Natural pink diamonds from the Argyle mine
The sheer volume of coloured stones extracted from the Argyle mine made it, at one point, the world’s largest supplier of coloured natural diamonds. Yet, in spite of producing 90 to 95% of the world’s supply of pink diamonds, Argyle’s world-renowned vivid pink and red diamonds account for less than 0.1% of the 865 million carats of rough diamond extracted from the mine since its inception, compared to yellow diamonds, which comprise approximately 60% of the fancy-coloured diamond market.
To put this into perspective, the number of pink diamonds released in Argyle’s yearly tender has range from 33 to 83 individual stones, with a total of only 1,990 stones tendered between 1985 and 2020.
What makes Australian pink diamonds special?
First and foremost, Australian pink diamonds are especially coveted because of their unique colour palette and intense colour saturation. The pink diamonds extracted from the Argyle mine, while comparatively smaller than those produced by other mines, are of excellent quality and the pink and red tones are unlike those found anywhere else on earth.
Expert opinion is divided on what gives Australian pink diamonds their unique hue and tone, and the exact cause is still somewhat of a mystery. Some maintain that their vivid colouration is due to the presence of trace elements, while others state that the tonality and level of saturation is the product of the extreme pressure and intense heat during diamond’s formation. While experts debate the various theories, the mystery adds to the allure and only serves to increase their popularity, demand and value.
The value of coloured stones, in addition to the standard 4 C’s (colour, cut, clarity and carat), is further determined by their hue, tone and saturation. In practical terms, the value of Australian pink diamonds is judged by their shade and intensity, so their unique tone and intense saturation means that they constitute an extremely scarce and incredibly valuable entry in the fancy-coloured diamond market. This general scarcity also means that even lighter coloured pink diamonds are an excellent investment, as they are less expensive than more vividly coloured stones but still much rarer than white diamonds.
What makes Australian pink diamonds a good investment?
The closure of the mine, the rarity of the stones and the continued demand for gem- and investment-quality Australian pink diamonds means that stock is steadily dwindling. The finite reserves of the stones and their intrinsic value has served to give Australian pink diamonds excellent investment qualities that protect them from the volatility that other investment markets, such as stocks, shares and precious metals.
Over the years the value of these rare and stunningly beautiful stones has not only been maintained but has steadily increased, and they continue to deliver an excellent return on investment. Rio Tinto has estimated that over the last 20 years, Australian pink diamonds have appreciated in value by approximately 500%.
The Fancy Color Research Foundation has reported that between 2009 and 2019, prices for pink diamonds in general rose by 116%, and when this figure is considered in light of the fact that Australian pink diamonds are regarded as the cream of the pink diamond crop it stands to reason that they will retain their intrinsic value.
Furthermore, it is expected that demand will consistently rise over the coming years, so it is likely their investment value will continue to increase. This represents a solid opportunity for investors to purchase an investment diamond from current stock and, should they later decide to sell, to capitalise on what is anticipated to be a strong and very profitable secondary market.
Argyle Diamond Investments – the High Return Pink Diamond Specialists
Argyle Diamond Investments are Australia’s largest supplier of certified Argyle pink diamonds, providing investment-quality Australian pink diamonds to suit a range of budgets. Our pink diamond investment specialists are experts in investment Australian pink diamond acquisition and can guide you through every step of the diamond investment process, providing professional and reliable advice tailored to your individual needs – from selecting the right stone to certification, insurance and storage.
To speak to an Argyle Diamond Investments diamond investment specialist, call us on (02) 4927 0000. Alternatively, fill out our contact form to book a VIP viewing of our in-store collection or to have an Argyle Diamond Investments Pty Ltd representative contact you.