Introduction to Argyle Diamonds

The Argyle mine of Western Australia is the newest among the world’s most substantial diamond producers. Discovered in October of 1979 after seven years of thorough geological research in Australia’s Kimberly region; the Argyle mine has come to be the most prolific producer of rough diamonds globally. Perhaps what makes the Argyle mine so unique is that it is the first to mine volcanic lamproite pipe successfully. 


Although the Argyle mine claims top spot in terms of overall volume for production of rough diamonds, most diamonds generated are a low quality industrial grade.  In fact, the yield of consumer quality gemstones sits at five percent of total.  However, as small as this may seem it is a significant number in terms high quality colored stones. 

Of the colors produced by the Argyle mine browns are most common with some lesser percentages of yellows, pinks, blues and reds. Red diamonds deemed the rarest of all.  The fact is that globally only about 20 natural red diamonds have been found thus far …. some of which came from the Argyle mine!

It is due to this scarcity that fancy color diamonds are so greatly valued and therefore priced higher than their colorless counter-parts. However, it should be mentioned that the Argyle mine is also a significant producer of quality colorless stones.  

Historically, colored diamonds were highly esteemed by the great thrones of the world, from the French courts and the English Monarchy to the Royal houses of Russia and Spain. That sentiment persists as collectors, investors and the modern day royalty of “celebrity” recognizes their significance as an excellent investment.


Argyle Pink Diamonds

A great deal of the Argyle mines fame lies in its production of high quality pink diamonds. Unlike their brown equivalents, Argyle’s pink diamonds represent only a small percentage of the total diamond volume. If truth were told, the pink diamonds unearthed from Argyle every year add up to barely a handful and the majority of those weigh less than a carat. Moreover, 75% of Argyle’s pink diamonds weigh less than 0.25 carat. In spite of that, these magnificent Argyle Diamonds comprise about 90% to 95% of the world’s natural pink diamond production…total!  That is quite a testament to just how rare pink diamonds really are.

That said, it is no wonder these petite gems command top dollar annually at the famous annual invitation-only Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. For this event Rio Tinto, owner of the Argyle mine selects only the finest polished Argyle Pink Diamonds making this tender one of the most sought-after fancy color diamond auctions worldwide. 


The Most Famous Argyle Pink Diamonds

Currently on display at the Melbourne Museum is the 8.01 carat polished Pink Jubilee diamond. The Pink Jubilee diamond unearthed in August 2011 is possibly the best known of the Argyle’s pink diamonds. This natural wonder which in the rough weighed 12.76-carats was unearthed at Rio Tinto’s Argyle Mine in Australia and reports at the time were estimating the diamonds worth at $12 million. Initially the gem was intended for sale at the Argyle pink diamond tender however; cutting and polishing revealed that the diamond had some serious internal flaws. Tinto although disappointed turned the situation into a big win by donating the stone to Australia’s Museum Victoria.  

Today the Argyle mine is the top contributor of fancy colored diamonds. Yet even with the addition of underground mining, the Argyle mine is estimated to cease production by 2018. That fact alone presents fancy color diamond collectors with every reason to pursue these scarce pink treasures and claim them while they can.


The second article in this series covers the History of Argyle diamonds

The third part in the series is concentrating in Production, Characteristics and Grading of the Argyle diamonds

The forth part is focused mainly on Investing in Argyle pink diamonds


Novel Collection carries a wide selection of Argyle diamonds – Check our inventory to find the right one for you.