The History of Pink Diamonds

Humans have been using gemstones and precious metals to store and display wealth for centuries. Societies have placed value on a huge range of materials in that time, but diamonds continue to be one of the most precious resources in the world.

Today, the diamond industry spans the entire globe, and it trades everything from engagement ring diamonds through to industrial grade stones. Within this market, coloured diamonds are the rarest examples, with pink diamonds being the most valuable of all.

In this article, we’ll learn more about the history of argyle pink diamonds, how they’re formed, and whether they’re a good investment.

The History of Pink Diamonds

Pink diamonds are among the rarest and most highly valued coloured diamonds in the world. In an industry that’s defined by high-value gemstones, pink diamonds stand atop the pile, and they often command higher prices than every other variation.

But this wasn’t always the case. Traditionally, white diamonds were preferred for their lack of colouration. The clearer the diamond, the more highly it was valued.

This changed with the discovery of pink diamonds at the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia. The Argyle mine produced a large volume of jewellery-grade white diamonds. It also provided pink diamonds in much smaller quantities.

The unique features of pink diamonds led the Argyle company to create a demand for their product. Each year, Argyle would put on a showcase of the largest and most beautiful pink diamonds they had mined. The showcase was attended by gemstone experts from all over the world, and the demand for pink diamonds was born.

Closing the Argyle Diamond Mine

The Argyle mine produced pink diamonds for decades. To date, it remains one of the world’s largest diamond mines, but it eventually closed due to market fluctuations and dwindling diamond reserves.

Closing the Argyle Diamond Mine had a profound impact on the world’s pink diamond market.

Pink diamonds are only found in a handful of mines around the world. As the largest producer, the Argyle mine supplied the vast majority of high quality pink diamonds. When it closed, buyers began snapping up as many pink diamonds as possible, knowing that supply would shrink in the coming decades.

This has proved to be true, and the value of pink diamonds has grown at a steady rate, despite the fact that other mines continue to produce these precious gemstones.

Part of the reason for this is because pink diamonds from the Argyle mine continue to be the highest quality stones on the market. The pink diamonds sourced from other mines are generally smaller, paler and lower quality, so the demand remains relatively low.

How Pink Diamonds Are Formed

Diamonds come in dozens of different colours. Classic “white” diamonds are generally clear with little to no colouration, but many diamonds are prized for their unusual colours.

Coloured diamonds are generally well-understood by geologists. Most diamonds acquire their colouration due to the presence of trace elements. For example, blue diamonds contain small amounts of the metalloid boron.

Pink diamonds are an anomaly. We aren’t exactly sure where they get their pink and purple hues. Current theories suggest that the pink colouration is due to slight irregularities in the crystal lattice of the diamond.

Because pink diamonds are formed under extreme heat and pressure (even by the standards of other diamonds), geologists theorise that this causes the crystalline structure to shift. The result is a subtle pink colour when the stones are viewed under natural light.

This theory arises from the way we manufacture lab-grown pink diamonds. In lab-grown pink diamonds, Chemical VApour Deposition and irradiation are used to alter the structure of the diamond, giving it a pink tinge.

Where Pink Diamonds Are Currently Mined

While the Argyle mine in Western Australia has ceased operations and distributed the remainder of its stock, pink diamonds are still mined in other parts of the world. Currently, pink diamonds are being produced by mine sites in:

  • Russia – Specifically, the mines operated by ALROSA in the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) are known to produce pink diamonds, though in much smaller quantities than the Argyle mine.
  • Canada – The Victor Mine in Ontario, has been known to produce pink diamonds. However, the Victor Mine ceased production in 2019, and much of its remaining stock has been depleted.
  • Brazil – Several mines in Brazil are known for producing coloured diamonds, including pink stones. The volume of pink stones coming out of Brazil is significantly lower than the Argyle mine’s historical output.
  • South Africa – Certain mines in South Africa, such as the Kimberley and Finsch mines, occasionally yield pink diamonds. These occurrences are rare and the quantities are limited.

It’s possible that new pink diamond sources will be discovered in the coming years. As we learn more about how these stones are formed, it may be possible to find locations that can produce the same quality and quantity of pink diamonds as the Argyle mine.

How the Value of Pink Diamonds Has Changed

The closure of the Argyle Diamond Mine has caused the value of pink diamonds to skyrocket. It’s difficult to put an exact figure on it, but pink diamonds are regularly valued at ten times more than white and non-coloured diamonds.

At present, intensely coloured pink diamonds (the most valuable type of pink stones) vary between $30,000 to $100,000 per carat. Pink diamonds that come from the Argyle mine can be worth substantially more. One recent example sold for $600,000 for half a carat.

As with other types of diamonds, the value of pink diamonds varies widely. The exact price depends on the Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat weight of the stone.

Pink diamonds with intense colouration are worth more, as are diamonds that are larger and clearer.

Are Pink Diamonds a Good Investment?

The climbing values of pink diamonds makes them a tempting investment  for people all over the world. Generally speaking, it’s expected that their value will continue to increase in the coming years.

While it’s possible that new pink diamond sources will be discovered, it could be decades before additional mines are functional, so the value of existing diamonds will remain secure.

Like with all investments, pink diamonds are a risk, and the diamond market fluctuates more readily than other sectors. With that said, pink diamonds make an excellent addition to any collection, and their increasing value makes them relatively low risk.