We saw an Argyle pink diamond for the first time in the Perth Mint in Australia. Apparently they are very rare and are the most revered diamonds in the world, treasured by the fabulously rich. I love diamonds ‘cause they are my birth stone, since I am April born and I do have many white ones, but the pink made my jaw drop and drool. No wonder they are on the wish list of all the celebrities of the world.
In the mint they were fashioned into the most romantic patterns and every single one of the pieces were sold to – a Japanese buyer! All the pieces had SOLD across them and a Japanese name attached!
“ To own an Argyle pink diamond is to be the custodian of an unsurpassed heirloom; to gaze upon it is to view unfathomable beauty; to give one is to impart a gift that is truly beyond rare,” said the lady in the mint who took us around on a tour, while we nodded in agreement in total silence!
From the prices attached, it seems that an Argyle pink diamond is admired as the most concentrated form of wealth in the world. One and a half billion years ago, forces of nature rewarded Western Australia’s vast Kimberley, with pink diamonds. The exact story behind their formation remains largely a mystery, adding to their allure and intrigue.
Going back into their history, diamonds were first discovered in the region in 1979, when a geologist noticed a diamond embedded in an anthill. A Rio Tinto owned mine was built on the site in 1985, and of the 600 million stones it produces each year, just one tenth of one percent is pink, so you understand their rarity. There is just an estimated one decade of supply remaining in the mine, and as time passes the Argyle pink diamond becomes evermore precious.
Exactly what gives a pink diamond its colour is largely unknown and the subject of ongoing debate, but it's this intrigue that adds a delightful inimitability to each stone.
According to the brochure we picked up, It is thought that pink diamonds obtain their colour as a result of pressure beneath the Earth’s surface. As pressure raises the diamond closer to the surface, it is believed that its structure becomes altered, thus absorbing light and producing colour.
Although the Argyle mine supplies approximately ninety percent of the world’s pink diamonds, interestingly, a whole year’s worth of production of stones over half a carat would fit in the palm of your hand. The larger rare violet diamonds would barely fill a teaspoon.
They are highly sought after by investors, jewellers, celebrities, and diamond aficionados. Prized by all who possess them the pink diamond is revered for their unique provenance, intrinsic beauty and extreme rarity.
Looking at where they are found,The land of the east Kimberley region in Western Australia is unique in its remoteness, and is home to many Australian Aboriginal people who are the traditional land owners. Each of these unique gems said the brochure contains stories of this ancient, isolated landscape, where traditional Aboriginal owners have lived in co-existence with the land for tens of thousands of years. The mines state that they work in respectful partnership with the local indigenous people, to protect all sites of cultural significance, to protect local water sources and to rehabilitate the landscape with native plant species that are important to Aboriginal people.
Talking to the PR of the mint she said that the process of preparing an Argyle pink diamond for sale is a specialised one. A team of highly trained artisans spend time ‘listening to the stone’, before deciding how best to unlock its colour and brilliance with its cut. The importance of their judgement can’t be underestimated, as the cut can affect the fire or scintillation of the diamond, while colour may be lost if too much of the diamond is polished away. The raw stone is then polished with great artistry and passion and an Argyle pink diamond fascinates like no other.
Being an environment journalist, I was worried about the mark left by Argyle on the landscape and was assured they are endeavouring to leave behind the smallest environmental footprint possible. Under a landmark Land Use Agreement signed with local traditional owners, income from the Argyle mine is being used to fund community development initiatives for local Aboriginal people. And the conglomerate provides training, employment and business development opportunities for local communities to generate their own wealth even beyond the closure of the mine.
That was the biggest issue that bothered me – were these Argyle pink diamonds like the ill-famed ‘blood diamonds’ of Africa. We were told – “No, never, Argyle has never been used to fund conflict, and that all companies involved in its production chain employ fair trade practices and meet international environmental standards.”