In April 1989 a pink diamond sold for a record $1.57 million at a Christie’s auction in New York.
The 3.14 ct. cut and polished pink diamond came from the Argyle diamond mine in the remote east Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Argyle’s signature pinks have fetched much higher prices since then, but the Christie’s auction in New York marked a turning point in the global marketing of pink diamonds and indeed the appetite for them in the United States, the world’s largest retail diamond jewelry market.
Diamonds were discovered at Argyle in 1979. The mine commenced production in 1983, and it will cease production at the end of 2020. Never before and never since has there been a mine like Argyle that consistently produces rare pink, red, blue, and violet diamonds. At less than 1% of Argyle’s overall production, and virtually the entire world’s supply, Argyle pink diamonds well deserve their motif of “Beyond Rare.”
At the time of the 1989 Christie’s auction, New York diamond king William Goldberg, then president of the influential Diamond Club of New York, prophetically declared that “pink diamonds fascinate jewelers, and they will make the Argyle mine famous.”
The legendary William Goldberg, in fact, made the long journey from New York to the Argyle mine in the 1980s to see for himself the source of these pink gems that went on to be featured in fine jewel collections, grace red carpets, adorn royalty, and be quietly appreciated in private collections. This pilgrimage to the Argyle mine, located in one of the most remote places on earth, has been repeated by many others over the past 37 years, providing a defining moment for those involved in the process of bringing to market the rarest diamonds in the world.
Since the commencement of Argyle production, the U.S. market for pink diamonds, both for collectors and luxury jewelers, has grown from strength to strength. This unstoppable demand has been driven by an awareness and understanding of the rarity and uniqueness of the Argyle pink diamond phenomenon.
Very quickly New York became a must-have location for the prestigious annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, a collection of the finest pink diamonds from a year’s production at Argyle. Today in the United States, there is trusted network of select ateliers and authorized partners who have the unique privilege of acquiring Argyle pink diamonds directly from the mine and taking custodianship of the diamonds for crafting into fine jewelry. Globally they are part of very small number of exclusive distributors who are trademark licensed to use the Argyle pink diamonds brand.
The Argyle Allegro™ Red Roses earrings by Optimum Diamonds New York, in partnership with the Nicholas Sparks Collection
But like all stories, this one has an ending, which will occur in November 2020 when the Argyle mine exhausts its economic reserves and begins the long process of respectfully closing the mine and rehabilitating the land, to be handed back to its traditional custodians.
There is, however, a happy ever after as the diamonds themselves will live on long after the mine has closed. And as the penultimate 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is launched across the globe, demand for the rich, rare, and romantic pink hues, even in a COVID-19 world, continues unabated. Jewelers and collectors alike, are chasing down the final supply of Argyle pink diamonds, which will become part of the legacy of this historically brief but colorful story of one of the world’s greatest diamond mines.