When you think of a diamond it’s likely your mind will immediately associate it with words such as “elegance”, “luxury”, “femininity”, and “status” – and, most probably, “engagement ring”. Most women are attracted to the fire and brilliance of this gemstone and, as it is so often said, a diamond is a girl’s best friend.
Diamonds come in different colours and are cut in all sorts of shapes – from the most common, the Round Brilliant, to fancy shapes such as the Princess cut, Heart cut, Pear cut, even Asscher cut. Lately, even if colourless diamonds remain the top choice, natural coloured diamonds are increasingly in demand. Their rarity and beautiful colours have allowed them to be converted into fascinating pieces of jewellery throughout history, and natural fancy pink diamonds are no exception.
Pink diamonds can also be extremely expensive, and have been known to sell for more than $1 million a carat.In the last century alone, there have been several pink diamonds of note. In 1947, Queen Elizabeth II received a 54-carat intense pink diamond for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh. Cartier later mounted this stone into a brooch, and the Queen still remains one of the biggest collectors of fancy diamonds today. Slightly later, in 1958, one of the largest pink diamonds in the world was worn by the former Empress of Iran, Farah, as a key piece in a tiara. Named the Noor-al-Ain (Light of the Eye), the 60 carat stone was set together with another 324 brilliant cut pink, colourless and yellow diamonds.
More recently, in November 2010 the jeweller Laurence Graff paid $46.3 million for a 24.78-carat fancy vivid pink at Sotheby’s Geneva.
[left]Finally, in November 2015, a Hong Kong billionaire purchased a 16.08 carat (3.216 g) pink diamond at a Christie’s auction, for a record $28.5 million, and renamed it the “Sweet Josephine” Diamond.[/left]
In 1987 Christie’s sold a red, flawless, 0.95-carat stone for the astronomical price of $880,000.
What is the cause of the pink colour?
[left]The Argyle mine (Australia), which produces most of the world’s pink diamonds, appears to contain two types. The first, a light pink diamond with an even colour distribution and no flaws, is called type IIa. The reason for their colour is still unknown. The second type, usually smaller in size, is known as type Ia. These stones have a more uneven colour distribution, and they owe their colour to a combination of intense pressure and heat and, crucially, a distortion in the crystal lattice of the gemstone. Pink diamonds come in shades that can range from pastel rose to purple reds.[/left]
Where can you find pink diamonds?
Pink diamonds are only known to have been discovered in a few mines around the world.India was the reliable source until the discovery of Brazilian deposits in 1720’s, and river deposits near the now called town Diamantina became known as an infrequent but notable source of pink and other fancy-cloured diamonds. The Mwadui mine in Tanzania, Africa, is a source of pink diamonds, and famously produced the Williamson diamond. However, no single mine has produced a steady supply of pink diamonds until the discovery of the Argyle mine in Australia in 1970.
The Argyle mine from North West Australia provides over 90% of the world’s supply of pink diamonds. With 35 million carats mined per year approximately, the Australian mine is responsible for roughly one-third of the total global production annually. Over 800 million carats of rough diamond have been produced since the mine opened in 1983, yet regardless of this impressive volume, just a small percentage of Argyle diamonds can be classified as gem quality or jewellery grade. Those that are gem quality are cut and polished at the source and then are sold to an international customer base comprising of traders, jewellery manufacturers, jewellery designers and luxury retailers. The 60 very best stones are sold through the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.
Here is a table of comparable production statistics
• 50% industrial grade
• 45% near-gem quality
• 5% gem quality
Of the 5%:
• 80% Brown Diamonds
• 16% Yellow Diamonds
• 2% White Diamonds
• 2% Grey Diamonds
• Less than 1% Pink Diamonds
Some specialists believe that the reason for these percentages is due to a short period of formation – at least for diamonds. The Australian Argyle pipe is approximately 1.5 billion years old, and the volcanic rock where the pipe has formed is around 1.1 billion years old. The difference (400 million years) is the time in which these diamonds formed and this, for a diamond, is not very long. This may also explain why there is a large quantity but it in small sizes.
Is it predicted that the Argyle Mine might cease production in as little as two, maybe three year’s time.
How is a pink diamond priced?
Prices on colourless diamonds depend on the 4 C’s – colour, clarity, cut and carat. However, fancy colour diamonds are priced slightly differently, although the 4 Cs will, of course, be considered. These are a few of the extra factors that help determine price:
– The hue of the diamond (its dominant colour)
– The tone of the diamond (the brightness or darkness of the colour; if there are any secondary colours)
– The saturation of the colour (usually described as Light, Fancy, Intense, Deep or Vivid)
– Desirability and Rarity
Secondary tones in a diamond can be a significant value changer in diamonds and can occasionally increase as well as decrease the price. For example, a purplish-pink diamond can actually be more valuable than just a pink due to its rarity.
Diamond prices are also exponential. All other things being equal, certain “ideal numbers”, such as 1 carat or 2 carats, have a slight premium to them, and there is a bigger jump in the price between 0.9 and 1 carat than there is between 0.8 and 0.9 carats. Similarly, a 2 carat diamond will cost more than just double the price of a 1 carat diamond, as larger stones are rarer. Whilst this is true of all diamonds, prices for the highest grades of fancy colour diamonds have increased in value by an average of between 10%-15% per year.
What shapes are most popular in pink diamonds?
[left]Coloured diamonds are more often cut into fancy shapes such as Cushion, Pear or Oval to amplify their colour. When cutting these gemstones colour and beauty is the top priority. For colourless diamonds, the most common cut is the Round Brilliant, where a cutter will aim to enhance the fire and the brilliance and hide the inclusions. Consequently, clarity is of fundamental importance to colourless diamonds, but, for pink diamonds, a grade of SI (slightly included) is still known as an “eye clean”.[/left]
How can you distinguish between them?
Every year approximately 40 to 60 of the Argyle mine’s finest pink diamonds, ranging in price from $100,000 to $1 million per carat, are presented at an exclusive pink tender. The tender is an invitation-only event held by mine owner Rio Tinto, and attracts the most prominent names in the diamond industry. To date, only eight polished Argyle pink diamonds larger than three carats have been offered at this tender since the mine opened in 1979.
To finish, a few interesting facts about pink diamonds
Only 107 Fancy Intense pink diamonds exist on the market worldwide, and of these only 12 are suitable for an engagement ring. Of the 12 Fancy vivid pink diamonds on the market, only 3 are appropriate for a ring, and finally, of the 85 Fancy deep pink diamonds that can be found on the market only 7 are suitable for a ring.
*all images are from pinterest.com