Pink Diamonds – the sparkling blush beauties painstakingly and carefully unearthed from the rugged ranges of North Western Australia’s Kimberley.
They are extraordinary for their rarity, their singularity, their colour – and their availability is limited – both in kind and in time.
The vast majority have been gifted to the world by way of the Argyle Diamond mine, which has now ceased operations. In fact, the terms ‘pink diamond’ and ‘Argyle diamond’ are virtually synonymous.
Many pink diamonds – Argyle pink diamonds – have attained celebrity status. We take a look at some of the best-known roseate rocks and the 10 Most Famous Argyle Diamonds…
The Argyle Pink Jubilee
The most famous pink diamond produced by the Rio Tinto Argyle operation is the ‘Pink Jubilee’. The Pink Jubilee is the biggest rough pink diamond ever found in Australia. It weighed a whopping 12.76 carats in its rough state.
The Pink Jubilee was discovered in 2011. Initially, due to its size, it was estimated to be worth possibly $12,000,000 (over 1 million dollars per carat). Usually, items such as this would be sent for sale to the exclusive Argyle Pink Diamond Tender – the yearly, invitation only pink diamond sale which is the flagship annual event for the coloured diamond industry. Or for auction at Christies or Sotheby’s, and the imminent sale of the Pink Jubilee was certainly expected, as was excitedly reported at the time.
However, soon after there was hush-hush and no further news of the giant gem. It was a no-show at the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender and had not arrived at any auction rooms…
An ABC press release said that, “The pink beauty was recovered at the Argyle Diamond Mine in August 2011, and after undergoing a painstaking process to achieve 8.01 carats, a gletz prevented the Argyle Pink Jubilee from making the grade for the 2012 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.”
It emerged that, soon after during the cutting process in Perth, there was found to be a major internal fault line which was it was impossible to overcome. Called a ‘gletz’, this is a ‘feather’ – a visible flaw inside a diamond. This adversely affects the stone’s clarity grade and therefore – its value.
The owners took the decision not to divide it up into several smaller stones for sale, but rather to preserve its unique entity. Rio Tinto instead donated the diamond to the Melbourne Museum. The managing director of Rio Tinto at the time, David Peever, stated that “The journey of the Argyle Pink Jubilee is a remarkable story of buried treasure, global excitement and the mysterious geology of the most concentrated form of wealth on earth. Over 1.8 billion years in the making, the Argyle Pink Jubilee diamond is truly a priceless gem, which will become a permanent record of an important part of Australian mining history.”
The Argyle Phoenix
The Argyle Phoenix was a 1.56 carat dark pink or ‘red’ diamond. The Phoenix rose from the depths to fetch the highest price ever for an Argyle diamond, per carat.
The Argyle Dauphine
The Argyle Dauphine was another diamond in a deep pink colour, which set the world record for the highest figure to be paid for an Argyle pink diamond, in overall value. This favourite princess was a 2.51 carat fancy.
The Argyle Muse
The Argyle Muse was a large 2.28 carat stunner – the largest fancy purple-red example to be offered at the famous Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender sale.
The Argyle Alpha
The Argyle Alpha was the biggest pink diamond to go for sale at the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. It weighed in at 3.14 carats. It was a vivid pink, emerald cut
The Argyle Everglow
The Argyle Everglow was considered to be one of the most exquisite gems produced from the Argyle mine. It was a considerable 2.11 carats with a striking bright red colour. It was purchased at the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender by the New York based diamantaire
Optimum Diamonds LLC. The exact figure they paid in not known, although it was in the millions, for the beauty which was described as ‘a once in a lifetime stone’.
The Argyle Avaline
The Argyle Avaline was offered at the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, alongside the Argyle Everglow. Avaline tipped the scales at 2.42 carats – was the biggest stone that year – and was snapped up by the international luxury jewellery house, Graff.
The Argyle Eternity
The Argyle Eternity featured as lot 1 in the most recent Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. At 2.24 carats, it is a prize piece, and was sold to Hong Kong coloured diamond specialist, Kunming Diamonds. The director of the establishment, Harsh Maheshwari commented that, “It is an extraordinary opportunity and a privilege to be part of the history making Argyle diamond mine. We are humbled to be custodians of these iconic rare jewels and are delighted to be part of their enduring legacy.”
The Argyle Infinite
The Argyle Infinite was also offered in the historic 2020 sale. The Infinite is a 0.70 carat oval Fancy Dark Violet-Gray diamond. This dramatic and romantic gem broke the record for a diamond in this category, to be produced by the Argyle mine and sold at the famous yearly Tender.
The Petite Suites
The Petite Suites were offered at the 2020 Tender as well. This was a highly curated collection of repeated sets of miniature gems. Each parcel was carefully designed to harmoniously bring the best balance between size and shape, clarity and colour. These were purchased by the well-known Australian jeweller, John Calleija.
The Linneys Argyle Pink Diamond Tiara
The Linneys Argyle Pink Diamond Tiara is a much-feted piece originally designed by the famous royal jewellers ‘Asprey of London’ in 2010. It comprises 178 of some of the most splendid pink stones from the Argyle mine. The design encapsulates a breathtaking combination of fairy-tale, royalty, rarity and modern elegance in a uniquely Euro-Australian way.
It is regarded as one of the most important items of jewellery in the world which showcases pink diamonds.
It was exhibited at Kensington Palace for the Queen’s diamond jubilee. Only 11 international jewellers had the honour of being invited to take part in the exclusive event, with Linneys of Perth being extremely proud to represent Australia, along with 2 others.
The 20 carat tiara features a Fancy Vivid pear cut pink diamond at the centre, which can be removed and worn as a ring.
The Linneys Argyle Pink Diamond Tiara is considered to be a conspicuous ambassador of Australian culture and heritage. It is valued at over 3 million dollars.
Champagne and Brown Diamonds from the Argyle
The Argyle operation is of course best known for its pink diamonds, but it also supplied many brown and ‘champagne’ diamonds, which are very smart and sophisticated looking stones. They have been gaining popularity recently.
Following the closure of the Argyle Mine, the demand for champagne diamonds has increased greatly.
The Argyle Mine has also produced many amazing gems in blue, purple and violet colours, many of which are regarded as very important specimens.
These colours are undeniably ‘so hot right now’. In vogue and on-trend – pinks, reds and magenta variations are the ubiquitous players in jewellery catalogues and shows around the world, along with their cousins such as amethysts and pale sapphires.
There has never been a more pertinent time to purchase an Argyle Diamond.
By Nick Resch