Pink diamonds are regarded as among the rarest type of diamonds in the world. Around 90% of these pinkish gems are found in the Argyle mines in the Kimberley Region in Western Australia. Pink diamonds are also found in other areas such as in Russia, India, South Africa, Canada, and Brazil. Due to the imminent closure of the Argyle mines in 2020, many expect a shortage of pink diamonds. Low supply will inevitably increase their value and price. Diamonds have always been part of many cultures around the world. They signify both wealth and beauty and is often the stone that can rival the priceless feeling of intense love.
Sources of Pink Diamonds in the world
There are many sources of pink diamonds, but the Argyle mines consistently produces gem-quality diamonds. However, only 1% of all diamonds mined in Argyle are pink diamonds, making them among the rarest types in the world. The Argyle mines started operation in the late 1960s. Tanganyika holdings group, a mining company, based in Congo, Africa, created a joint venture with Maureen Muggeridge, an English journalist, called Ashton Joint ventures to find diamonds in Australia.
After a few years of prospecting, Muggeridge discovered diamond samples in the Argyle region and eventually found the Argyle diamond pipe in 1979. Construction on the mines started in the 1980s with an estimated budget of $450 million. Since its commissioning in 1985, the Argyle mines became a significant source of all pink diamonds in circulation to date. Today, the mines are owned by the Rio Tinto Group, a multinational mining corporation that operated several mining companies worldwide.
How are pink diamonds formed?
The exact explanation for the creation of pink diamonds is still a mystery. However, there are many theories posited by geologists on how such gems are formed. The popular and most accepted theory is that the diamonds are thrust quickly up to the crust after forming. The sudden change in pressure and heat alters the molecular composition of the diamond and creates its pink hue. However, there are still doubts about how the gem gets its pink colour, and scientists and geologists alike are still studying how minerals are formed in the mantle.
Mining and production of pink diamonds
Most of the diamonds mined in the Argyle mines are the less-valued brown diamonds. These diamonds are often relegated to industrial use. However, there is an ongoing program to re-value brown diamonds and market them as gem-quality stones. They are often called “chocolate” gems by jewellers attempting to sell this traditionally overlooked stone. Pink diamonds make only 1% of the entire gem output of the Argyle mines. Yet, not all pink diamonds are the same in quality, value, and look.
Pink diamonds are so rare that for every 1 million carats of stones mined, only 1 carat is a gem-quality pink diamond. The price for pink diamonds varies as it depends on the quality and look of each stone – the amount of a gem-quality pink diamond can range between $100,000 and $1,000,000. The much rarer blue diamonds are the only ones that surpass the rarity of these diamonds.
Below is a list of diamond types and their order of rarity:
- Red diamonds
- Blue diamonds
- Pink diamonds
- Orange diamonds
- Green diamonds
- White diamonds
The value of these diamonds varies depending on quality and look. Red diamonds are the rarest, though their colour is not pure red. It is a combination of purple-red or brownish-red. Two of the world’s most well-known red diamonds are the Moussaieff Red and the Hancock Red. Next in rarity is the blue diamond, popularised by the infamous Hope diamond, which is rumoured to be cursed.
After pink diamonds, orange and green diamonds are next in line. Orange diamonds have low demand in the market, but gem enthusiasts still clamour for this type of fancy gem. The green diamond, on the other hand, is a bit more popular. White diamonds, though last on the list, still are valued highly in every country.
Pink diamonds in society
The allure of pink diamonds has etched them a significant niche in human culture. According to historical records, the first concrete evidence of appreciation for these rare stones is the pink diamonds included in the Iranian crown jewels. These are the majestic pieces of royal jewellery, the Daria-i-noor and the Noor-ul-ain, which both have prominent pink diamonds as centrepieces. Inn modern culture, Queen Elizabeth received a 23.6-carat pink diamond from Canada. It is among her favourite gems and is among the prized possessions of the British monarchy.
Another famous pink diamond is the Pink Panther, which was the largest diamond ever uncovered in the Argyle mines operated by Rio Tinto. It is 17.6-carat and has a deep pink colour.
The jaw-dropping 59.6-carat Pink Star diamond was the centre of attention at a Geneva auction in November 2013. A debacle ensued after Isaac Wolf, a New York diamond cutter, won the bid for $83 million only to back out. The same diamond was then auctioned in Hongkong in 2017 and sold for $71.2 million to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.
Closure of the Argyle Mines
For decades, Argyle mines have been a significant source of pink diamonds in the market. Even though the mines’ pink diamond production is small, it produces a consistent flow of gem-quality stones. However, due to the rising cost of operations and the seemingly exhausted diamond pipe, the mines are scheduled to close by 2020.
A lot of speculation is circulating about the future of pink diamonds and how the mine closure will affect the market. However, many in the gemstones market are already feeling the strain of losing a significant source of pink stones. They are anticipating a considerable rise in price for these diamonds, especially today that it has become one of the most sought-after rare diamonds.