Understanding argyle diamonds: where they’re from and what you need to know
Celebrated as some of the most esteemed and valuable diamonds in the world, Argyle diamonds journey over a span of 1.6 billion years to be found deep within the Argyle mines of East Kimberly, Western Australia.
Known best for their fancy pink diamonds, it is estimated that 90% of the world’s pink, red and purple hued diamonds come from this iconic diamond mine.
What Is the origin of an Argyle diamond?
Argyle diamonds, as the name suggests, are found within the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia. Whilst best known as the world’s largest supplier of pink diamonds, not all Argyle diamonds are pink. In fact, just one tenth of one percent of the Argyle diamond mine's production is pink.
Pink diamonds are very rare, and whilst the Argyle diamond mine produces about 90% of the world’s current pink diamond supply – the production is so small that it is said that the Diamond Mine's annual production of pink diamonds over half a carat would fit in the palm of your hand and the larger rare violet diamonds would barely fill a teaspoon.
Over years of heavy mining, the Argyle mine’s resources and ore body have slowly become depleted. It is estimated that due to low availability of coloured diamonds the Argyle mine will close by the end of 2020, throwing speculation over the value of Argyle pink diamonds amongst investors.
Why are some Argyle diamonds pink?
Diamonds are, in their most pure form, completely colourless. This is true of 9/10 of diamonds found within the Argyle mines. The colours introduced into diamonds are due to trace impurities. While it may seem like an impurity might make a diamond less desirable, the opposite is true. Coloured diamonds are extremely rare, due to their few numbers and naturally developed beauty. And this is why the Argyle mine is most commonly celebrated for its coloured diamond offering.
The unique blazing pink and purple colour of Argyle diamonds is due to the terrain of East Kimberly and what is known as the Argyle pipe, a volcanic pipe made up of olivine lamproite. During an eruption of this volcanic pipe, a number of impurities like clays, zeolite, mica, and kaolinite interacted with the diamonds while they formed, causing minor defects in the crystal lattice which resulted in the beautiful pink colour of Argyle diamonds. This causes the colour to range from a bubblegum pink to a deep red-purple, each deep colour and hue rarer than the next.
Understanding the rarity of Argyle pink diamonds
Argyle pink and coloured diamonds are incredibly rare – and the conditions required to create them is likely to never happen again in our lifetimes. Due to their unique origin, the diamonds mined by the Argyle Mine famously offer an intensity of colour that is unmatched by other pink diamonds. These diamonds have made a journey of more than a billion years to become a part of exquisite, once-in-a-lifetime jewellery pieces.
In fact, adding to their rarity, an Argyle pink diamond is incredibly difficult to polish requiring highly skilled, master cutters who specialise only in Argyle pinks.
Nina’s is an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier, one of only 30 in the world. Our jewellers hand-pick every stone for top quality and use the very best settings to deliver one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
Understanding Argyle Diamond colour, cut and intensity levels
The price of an Argyle pink diamond depends, in part, on its grade. Like all other diamonds, Argyle diamonds are subject to the “4 Cs” of Clarity, Cut, Colour and Carat. But unlike white diamonds, coloured diamonds are judged for their intensity of colour rather than shine.
Due to their high rarity, Every Argyle Pink™ diamond that is greater than 0.15 carat is laser inscribed with a unique identification number visible only under magnification and is issued with a GEM Identification and Authenticity document.
Argyle has devised another system to categorize the colour of their diamonds. For pink hued diamonds this gradation looks like:
- PP (Purplish Pink)
- P (Pink)
- Pink Rosé (PR)
- PC (Pink Champagne)
They’re also ranked on a scale of 1 (highest) to 9 (lowest) for colour intensity. The higher the intensity of colour and the purity of colour are the biggest determinants of an Argyle diamond’s value. Reddish diamonds, in particular, are the most highly-prized and most expensive type of Argyle pink diamond.
At Nina's we have some of the few red diamonds available for sale. View our popular 0.18 carat loose purplish red diamond.
The Top Argyle Diamond Engagement Ring Settings
There are many excellent choices when it comes to Argyle diamond engagement ring settings. The best stones need unparalleled craftsmanship to truly come to life within jewellery. We recommend a simple design that shows off the fire and beauty of these pink diamonds, such as:
- Halo setting – This setting is particularly effective when using colourless diamonds to surround the Argyle diamond, which emphasizes its unique colour.
- Claw prong – The claw prong has no other diamonds or stones, allowing your Argyle diamond to stand on its own, and blaze with a beautiful brilliance.
- Tension setting – By “squeezing” the Argyle diamond and surrounding it with other stones, its colour can be emphasized for a unique look.
Nina's own Argyle Peony Pink Diamond Tender stone uses a tension setting. Fit for royalty, this breathtaking 18 karat rose and white gold masterpiece costs a mere $426,000.00
If an Argyle tenderstone isn't in your budget, we have a selection of Argyle pink diamond rings in a range of prices and designs.
When you shop Argyle diamonds, you’re exploring geological history!
Each Argyle pink diamond has gone through a journey that took hundreds of millions of years – and contains a history of nature’s unique forces and geological evolution.
At Nina’s, we are an Argyle Pink Diamonds Select Atelier. Our GIA-certified designers located at our Dunsborough, WA facility have more than 70 years of collective experience of working with Argyle diamonds, and can bring the best out of coloured natural diamonds of all grades. Contact us today to begin your coloured diamond journey.