By: Branko Deljanin (CGL Canadian Gemlab, Vancouver)
Fancy colored diamonds are breaking all records at auctions for price paid per carat. Blue and red diamonds are considered the most expensive natural gems by weight in the world. Natural near-colorless diamonds originate from more than ten diamond-producing nations whose mines are owned by several big mining companies including Alrosa, De Beers and Rio Tinto. In addition, many other primary and alluvial deposits are sporadically mined by smaller companies in places like Brazil and Africa, even by family businesses.
If any of these mines ceased operation, it would likely not affect the world’s market value of near-colorless diamonds. In the case of pink diamonds, 90 percent of the world’s supply is mined from a single source, Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Australia.
Although operations at Argyle are currently underground, the mine’s production life is expected to run until late 2020. This limitation, combined with the rarity of pink diamonds, are contributing factors to skyrocketing prices approaching 15 percent compound per annum over the past ten years.
The demand for pink diamonds has increased in part due to the following factors (Deljanin 2014):
- Exposure in mainstream media, most often in the form of famous celebrities buying pink diamonds as well as record-breaking prices at major auctions
- Australia’s strict adherence to the Kimberley Process and the proven conflict free Australian origin of Argyle pinks supported by effective marketing by Rio Tinto
- The overall rarity of pink diamonds compared to other colors
- Closure of Argyle diamond mine in late 2020
This article aims to give an overview of natural pink diamonds from seven major producing countries on four continents. We suggest establishing a new class of “Argyle-type pink diamonds” with characteristic features using standard and advanced gemological instruments.