Women love diamonds. They love the color pink. So, pink diamonds are in a very real sense a jeweler’s dream, except there aren’t many of them around. When these striking crystals do turn up, they, along with fancy blue diamonds are considered to be the priciest diamonds in the world.
Pop Culture Presence
In recent years, red carpet walkers have turned the spotlight on these dreamy rocks as celebrities are photographed waving a manicured hand sporting a blushing stone. But celebrities did not invent these treasures, of course. Pink diamonds have been around for as long as miners have been digging them up. Large specimens from antiquity have captivated the imaginations of early potentates. Wars have been won and lost over fancy color diamonds.
Early Pinkies & Royal Connections
The Daria-i-Noor (or Sea of Light in Persian) is one of the world’s largest cut diamonds, and a pinkie to boot. Weighing in at an estimated 182 carats, this pale pink diamond is one of the rarest of the rare. Diamonds were only sourced in the Golconda region in early times, so obviously this ancient stone is of Indian origin. In an 18th century coup, Persia invaded Northern India and occupied Delhi, pilfering its splendid trove of jewels. Many of India’s fabulous treasures like the Daria-i-Noor pink diamond and Koh-i-Noor diamond wound up in the Iranian crown jewels.
But one doesn’t have to dig that far back to discover when pink diamonds were coveted by royalty. In the 20th century, a jumbo delicate pink stone was unearthed at the Mwadui mine in Tanganyika by Canadian geologist and royalist Dr. John Thoburn Williamson (1907-1958). On a trip to Africa in 1947, Britain’s then Princess Elizabeth was given the 54.5 carat uncut pink diamond as a wedding gift. When the stone was later cut into a 23.6 carat round brilliant, its maximized pale rose hue was marvelously revealed.
Pink Stone Hot Spot
Over time, several deposits elsewhere have produced various shades of pink crystals as well, including Tanzania, the far flung Borneo and even Minas Gerais. Today, the Argyle mines in Australia are the hot-spot for pink diamond production. In Characterization and Grading of Natural-Color Pink Diamonds published by GIA, authors, King, Shigley, Guhin, Gelb and Hall, discuss the ramped up production of fancy pinks coming from the Argyle mines. “From the late 1980s on, however, the supply coming from the Argyle mine in Australia greatly increased the availability of pink and, on rare occasions, red diamonds (Hofer, 1985; Shigley et al., 2001). Even with this production, from April 2000 to April 2001, pink diamonds represented fewer than 10,000 carats of the 25 to 30 million carats of rough production from this one mine.”
Even now, the Argyle mine remains the only reliable global source for pink diamonds, producing 90 to 95% of the world’s production of pink and red diamonds. Most Argyle diamonds are classified as type 1a bearing low levels of nitrogen atoms clustered together within the carbon lattice. Pink diamonds tend to have more inclusions overall than colorless diamonds, and those inclusions are often darker that those found in other diamonds. The likely reason is that one of the most common inclusions in pinks is unconverted graphite, followed by crystalline inclusions of other gem material.
Go Long Investments
Today, investors consider rare diamonds, like fancy reds and pinks to be critical assets particularly when planning for generational investment. The World of Pink Diamonds and Identifying Them by Deljanin, Peretti & Alessandri for InColor Magazine quotes Yaniv Marcus, from the diamond investment division of Leibish & Co. Israel. “In the last 20 years the value of rare fancy color diamonds such as a 1.00 carat Fancy Intense Pink with VS clarity has increased 30 fold. This increase is mainly caused by the desire of investors to find an alternative investment vehicle to secure wealth over a long period of time, and to pass it on to the next generation.”
It’s the sophisticated consumer who truly understands the subtle nuances that drive value with these rosy stones, says Yehouda Saketkhou, CEO Yael Designs. “The most enthusiastic collectors of pink diamonds,” Saketkhou points out, “are usually collectors from Asia or the Middle East who tend to be very knowledgeable about diamonds and their value.” Fortunately due to their romantic appeal, pink diamonds are both unique and as tender as their tint. “In bridal,” he explains, “pink diamond engagement rings appeal to brides who want to stand out from other women.”
An Eye on Christie’s Geneva
On November 10, 2015 (after this writing) Christie’s Geneva will auction up a spectacular 16.08 oval-shaped diamond named In The Pink. GIA graded it Fancy Vivid Pink for its even color distribution combined with balanced saturation and tone. In other words, this is a straight pink hue. Its pre-sale estimate is $23 to $28US million but anticipation generated worldwide suggests this will be low-balling it. The stone is set in a platinum ring with a double row of pavé set white diamonds creating a halo, a tiny row of pink diamonds underneath, and finished with a diamond studded shank. What makes this pink diamond so remarkable is its classification as a Type IIa; containing little if any nitrogen which accounts for less than 2% of all diamonds.
Lovers of rare diamonds and in particular exceptional pinks will be covering this auction enthusiastically. Because who knows when we’ll see another of its kind? “As large and rare colored diamonds of this caliber become increasingly hard to locate, this 16.08 carat Fancy Vivid pink diamond comes to market at a time when great gems are mirroring prices achieved for masterpieces in the world of fine art.” notes Rahul Kadakia, Christie’s International Head of Jewellery. “Collectors are looking to jewels as savvy investments that are both beautiful and can appreciate considerably in value over a relatively short period of time.” ♦