As long as about three thousand years ago, man bent down to pick up a glistening pebble and by some chance found it to be different from other stones. From that time diamonds began to acquire magical powers and to be regarded with awe, worship and avarice. They were collected, treasured, had legends built around them, were traded in, used as tools, treated as a gem, used to raise loans, fought over and eventually became symbols of love and trust. Mans’ early instinct to treat diamonds as unique was true, because today probably more effort goes into discovering the nature of diamonds than into research on any other material. Diamond is the hardest substance man has ever discovered and the purest that occurs in Nature. Most highly prized as a gem, however, it is composed of one of the commonest substances on earth — ordinary carbon.
It has been estimated that only about 130 tons of diamonds have been mined since they were first discovered thousands of
years ago – the reward is small against the effort of discovering the source and then mining it.
Diamond is the only mineral that still has to be sorted by hand as a last stage in the mining process. There is no substitute for the human hand, eye, and brain in gauging quality and estimating value. There is no other mineral that has such a high intrinsic value when mined. Diamond crystals are therefore kept under guard from the moment they are discovered. They remain so through the stages of sorting, cutting, and setting in jewellery, yet they are commonly transmitted from place to place through the ordinary post. Extreme security precautions have to be taken to protect both crystals and polished stones from crooks. Yet within the trade itself, diamonds of great value pass from hand to
hand on a signature and often without even that formality. Anyone unconnected with the diamond trade is amazed at the extent of trust placed in each other by buyer and seller. This trust is the keystone that keeps the entire trade in being.
You will pay anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to over a million dollars per carat for the world’s most
valuable diamond and the Argyle Diamond Mine (East Kimberley region of Western Australia) produces 95% of the world’s
supply! As rare as they are, beautiful pink Diamonds are sought after by collectors, designers and celebrities.
Their scarcity is a large part of the Argyle Pink Diamond’s appeal – comprising less than 0.01% of Argyle’s annual diamond production. However, only a small percentage of Argyle Pink Diamonds are worthy of tender (quality status for fine jewellery). In 2009 just 43 stones were worthy of tender, and all were chosen for their magnificent colour and clarity. According to their Business Manager, Argyle Diamonds mines each year a million carats of diamonds to get just one carat of tender-quality diamonds. Because they are so rare, not everyone can own one. They are highly sought after and find their way into important pieces of jewellery. Some are so highly prized that they are given their own names, e.g., ‘Shalimar’ (1.25carat, round, magic and intense in colour) named after the exotic garden sanctuary built by the Indian emperor Jahangir for his beloved wife. ‘Scarlet’ is another outstanding stone unearthed that is a 1.10
carat, oval diamond and is certified as a very rare red diamond. I believe there are only five comparable red diamonds on the world market at the moment. ‘Aphrodite’, after the Greek goddess of love and passion, sold for a record price – the name of the bidder and the final price were not released. During 2009 ‘Argyle Amour’ was sent to tender, a magnificent 2.61 carats of intense pink and heart-shaped, perhaps the most valuable heart-shaped pink diamond every produced from the Argyle Diamond Mine. What will become of these magnificent pieces locked away in a collector’s safe until investment tides turn, perhaps adorning the neck of glamorous celebrities such as Halle Berry, Jennifer
Lopez and Victoria Beckham, all of whom are said to be partial to pink diamonds?
The Argyle Diamond Mine established its own colour-grading system in the l980’s to accommodate the intense-coloured
diamonds it produces. This is now an internationally recognised system. Pink Diamonds range on a scale from 1-9, colours running from purplish pinks to rose and pastel pinks. A 1P grading using this system indicates a more intense pink than a 9P grading. The Argyle Pink Diamonds are legendary and easily recognised by professional coloured-diamond dealers, renowned for their intensity of colour compared to the pink diamonds found sporadically in countries such as India, Brazil and Africa which tend to have a blue fluorescence.
The Argyle diamond Mine, owned by Rio Tinto, will decline in production over the next two to three years and is predicted to have just 10 more years of life, which makes its rare offerings keenly sought by investors, collectors and diamond experts from around the world.
Most top-end jewellers create fashionable pieces by setting pinks with white diamonds, many to become a classically
designed heirloom piece. It is unusual to see pink diamond earrings as the individuality of each diamond makes them
so hard to match. Many collectors will wait years to collect a perfect match.
As the Argyle Diamond mine begins to scale back its operations in preparation for closing within the next decade, Rio Tinto’s annual tender process will no doubt create increased frenzy and intense competition among collectors. The romantic appeal of the pink diamond is destined to live on after the mine has closed. ‘Shalimar’, ‘Scarlett’ and ‘Argyle Amour’ will have their own romantic stories to tell.
Make an appointment to sit with Robert to create your exclusive jewellery design.
Robert Cliff Master Jewellers
Shop 380A Castle Towers
Castle Hill, NSW 2154
p | 02 8850 5400
02 8850 7999
e | firstname.lastname@example.org
w | www.robertcliffmasterjewellers.com.au