When Ben Affleck proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a six carat fancy intense pink diamond engagement ring from Harry Winston in 2002, the world learned that diamonds come in magnificent shades of pink and blush. Though few had previously witnessed or even known that these rare beauties existed, thanks to J.Lo, the demand for pink engagement rings and jewelry has grown ever since. (Although the couple never made it to the alter, rumors have it that they have recently reunited, which only makes us hope that the famous ring will resurface.)
Today marks another momentous day in the history of pink diamonds: the Argyle Diamond Mine, which closed in November 2020 after nearly 40 years of producing nearly all of the world’s best quality pink stones, has revealed its final collection of 70 pink diamonds, along with some exceptionally rare colored diamonds in shades of red and blue. This last official Argyle diamond tender is a curation of the final stones unearthed in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia over the past three years.
What does this mean for the future of precious pink diamonds? In one word: value. Now that the world’s primary source has been depleted and there’s no telling if another deposit of this quality will ever be uncovered, the final Argyle collection is likely to command top dollar
The mine’s owner Rio Tinto will offer the blue, red and pink diamonds totaling 81.63 carats at the 2021 Argyle Pink Diamond Tender, the 38th annual by-invitation event, which will offer the stones to collectors, dealers and luxury jewelry houses in Perth, Antwerp, Singapore and Sydney before sealed bids close on September 1, 2021. Headlining the sale is the Argyle Eclipse, a 3.47 carat fancy intense pink diamond, which is the largest ever offered at the Tender. Other top exceptional stones include the Argyle Stella, a 1.79 carat square radiant shaped fancy vivid purplish-pink diamond, and the Argyle Lumiere, a 2.03 carat square radiant shaped fancy deep pink stones. The sale also presents a collection of 41 Argyle blue diamonds called Once in a Blue Moon, weighing 24.88 carats in total.
“The final Tender collection of these beyond rare diamonds will be keenly sought after as heritage gemstones of the future, coveted by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world,” said Patrick Coppens, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto’s diamond business.
So are pink diamonds really as unusual as they say? Formed more than one billion years ago, and mainly found in this one remote location, the Argyle mine offered only about 50 carats of polished pink diamonds (of which very few exceeded one carat in size), 35 fancy red diamonds, 36 fancy purplish-pink diamonds and 14 blue diamonds. Throughout its lifespan, the mine produced 865 million carats of rough diamonds, with just a tenth of one percent of diamonds categorized as pink.
What’s even more intriguing about these diamonds is that unlike other fancy colored diamonds, the phenomenon of how they get their color is still unknown, however believed to be created by a twist within the atomic lattice during formation, the result of immense heat and pressure beneath the earth’s surface.
Vivienne Becker, the well-respected jewelry historian, sums it up: “Over the nearly four decade life span of the Argyle mine, Rio Tinto has built a unique diamond brand of integrity and authenticity, an Australian icon and source of national pride, now recognized and asked for, by name, across the globe.” Like other world-famous stones that carry a name, Argyle will remain a status a symbol long after the last stone was sold.