Whether you want to gift your loved one jewellery or add one to your accessory collection, a diamond will definitely be your top option. Although diamonds are known to be a girl’s best friend, they are also a good investment option, especially the rare types. They also signify wealth and beauty. While colourless diamonds are the most common types of diamonds and readily available in the market, coloured diamonds like red, blue, orange, and pink diamonds are extremely rare that you may not get them in the market quickly.
The pink diamond is so rare that you will get at most three pink diamonds for every 2-3 tons of mined stone. But, even with this rarity, the colour and quality of diamond vary, leading to the different categories. Some of these categories are purplish pink, pink rose, and pink.
Pink Diamond Sources
The pink diamond is the third-rarest type of diamond after red and blue diamonds. This means there are only a few mines around the world where this precious jewellery is mined. But, even in these mines, the pink diamond is so rare that you have to mine tons of stones to get two or three diamonds.
About 90% of pink diamonds come from the Argyle Mines in Western Australia, with the other 10% coming from several mines around the world, such as Brazil, South Africa, India, Russia, and Canada. Although the majority of pink diamonds are found in Argyle mines, only 1% of the Argyle diamonds mined in the area are pink diamonds. This is why this type of diamond is one of the rarest in the world.
Argyle Diamond Mine
Argyle Mine in the Kimberly region of Western Australia is one of the world’s largest single diamond producers. This mine is located approximately 550 km southwest of Darwin and southwest of Lake Argyle. This mine stretches over 124 acres and is about 5,200 feet long and 490-1970 feet wide. It is operated by Argyle Diamond Mines, a Rio Tinto owned joint venture, which also owns Zimbabwe’s Murowa mine and Canada’s Diavik mine. Most of the mine works come from Perth, approximately 1,200 miles but stay in Kununurra settlement camp, which is about 115 miles from the site.
Argyle mine is the world’s fourth-largest diamond producing mine, with approximately 8 million carats of diamond annually. Although it mainly produces brown diamonds, which is challenging to sell, it is the largest pink diamond source, accounting for 90% of the precious jewellery. The mine has a diamond sorting and ore processing facility where the diamond is processed before sending it to Perth for further processing.
Production and Mine Closure
Although diamonds might be forever, the mines certainly aren’t. After almost four decades of diamond production, Argyle mine was finally closed in 2020. The Argyle orebody was discovered in 1979. The alluvial operation began at the AK1 pipe in 1983, with open-pit mining starting two years later. However, it was not until 2013 that underground operation began at the mine. Since the start of its operation, Argyle mine has produced about 865 million carats of mine. The peak production from the mine was in 1994, with 42.8 million carats. Unfortunately, the pink diamond accounts for only 1% of the total production. On the flipside, Argyle Pink Diamonds’ value appreciated significantly, making it an important investment diamond option if you are looking to invest in an alternative to traditional assets.
There is a lot of uncertainty about the future of pink diamond following the closure of Argyle mine. According to a recent estimate, the mine’s closure may lead to about a 10% drop in the world’s diamond production. This means the Australian pink diamonds will become even rare despite the rising popularity. The gem market is already feeling the strain of the closure of the pink stone source. Many gemstone dealers have anticipated a significant rise in pink diamond prices. The Argyle mines became so deep that maneuverability became a challenge, hindering mining activities. Despite the closure, Rio Tinto will continue to monitor the site and work with the owners to plant trees and restore the land.
Types of Diamond Produced at Argyle Mine
Argyle mine produces low-quality diamond, with only 5% being of gem quality. The rest of the diamonds produced from the mine are either near-gem quality or industrial grade. Of the total diamond produce at Argyle, brown accounts for 80%, yellow 16%, white 2%, and less than 1% is the pink diamond. Despite the low production of pink diamonds, Argyle is the most reliable source, accounting for 90%.
Other Pink Diamond Sources
Besides Australia, pink diamonds are found in other countries in Africa, Asia, America, and Europe. South Africa is a well-known source of pink diamonds in Africa. Diamond mining in the country takes place in North West Province. Recently, South Africa produced about 16,500 carats of diamonds from about two million tons of processed diamonds. However, the high-value pink diamond was only 11.36 carats. However, South Africa is most famous for the Pink Star, fancy vivid pink mined in 1999, and weighed 132.5 carats. It was auctioned at $71.2 million in 2017.
Besides South Africa, a pink diamond is also produced in Brazil, India, and Borneo. These countries produced a notable amount of diamond in the 17th and 18th centuries but now produce just traces of the gemstone. In Brazil, the pink diamond was first discovered in the Minas Gerais region. The Brazilian pink diamond is highly saturated and often referred to as Strawberry Pink because of the intense colour. India was the first country to produce pink diamonds. The pink gem was first discovered in the Kollur Mine in Andhra Pradesh mine. This mine was also the earliest known source of a colourless diamond.
Pink diamonds are rare jewellery that can be used as gifts or investment options. Once diamond ore is mined, it is processed and polished into a fancy stone that has become popular over the years. Although there are many sources of pink diamond, Argyle mine accounts for about 90%. However, this precious gem is expected to become even rare with this mine’s closure, and the prices will increase exponentially.
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