If you’ve been following the diamond trade at all, you’d know that the last of the Argyle Pink Diamonds was just auctioned off at record-breaking prices in November. The last tender, comprising of 70 rare pink and red diamonds, represented the final diamonds mined in Western Australia before the mine closed for good in November 2020.
Kunming Diamonds, a Hong Kong fancy-colour specialist, was one of the few authorised partners selected by Rio Tinto, the mine’s owner, to be present at the offer of the last tender. Its executive director, Harsh Maheshwari, called pink diamonds extremely rare, and an Argyle Pink Diamond “rarer than rare.”
“In fact, [it’s] so rare that it shouldn’t exist – less than 0.1 percent of diamonds mined worldwide are pink,” says Maheshwari. “These diamonds are described as rare partly due to the science behind their formation. The likelihood of even one pink diamond forming is thought to be like winning the lottery twice on the same day, but at the Argyle Mine it has happened over and over again.”
Locally-based jewellery designer and expert gemologist Yve Chan agrees, saying, “The existence of Argyle Pink Diamonds in itself is a miracle. They come from a volcanic pipe which is already a highly unusual natural formation. To make them even more incredible, by sheer luck they’re almost frozen in time to remain pink before they transform into brown diamonds. There is a unique window of time and space that enables Argyle Pink Diamonds to capture and retain their iconic colour, which is exactly the reason why they don’t exist in any significant quantities elsewhere in the world. Each of these diamonds is like a miniature gift of love from nature, so tiny yet with such a globally prized value due to its fantastical quality.”
Out of a thousand other jewellers, Chan was handpicked by Argyle to present their pink diamonds in Hong Kong. DAWN Jewellery, designed by Chan, is one of the last Select Ateliers in the world to showcase jewellery pieces that highlight these rare diamonds.
“We’re truly honoured to be appointed by Rio Tinto as the Argyle Pink Diamond Select Atelier in Hong Kong,” says Chan. “DAWN is a home-grown boutique company from Hong Kong, so for Rio Tinto to handpick us among all the major jewellers around the world is definitely an important milestone for our team.”
At its peak, Argyle was responsible for producing 90 percent of pink diamonds sold internationally. Medium quality pink diamonds can sell for 20 times the price of white ones and higher quality Argyle Pink Diamonds, without question, go for a lot more.
Very few diamonds are identified by their origins in the same way Argyle Pink Diamonds are. “The mine itself has legendary status and many refer to it as a “miracle of nature” given its optimal conditions and unparalleled consistency,” says Maheshwari. “Although there are other pink diamonds found in less significant quantities around the world, Argyle Pink Diamonds are said to have the finest colour and saturation as they possess densely packed graining planes that emanate a pink colour.”
Even for someone as experienced as Maheshwari, the last tender for the Pink Argyle Diamonds represents a watershed moment in the industry. Nineteen bidders from nine countries acquired the lots to record-breaking prices, with several stones going to Australian jeweller Callejia, who bought the Argyle Eclipse, a radiant-shaped 3.47-carat, fancy-intense-pink diamond, and the Argyle Bohème, a radiant-shaped, 1.01-carat, fancy-red diamond. Kunming Diamonds also won nine pink lots.
“The outlook [for pink diamonds] remains extremely positive,” says Maheshwari. “As these pink diamonds are the last from a major mine, it’s complex to define and quantify a percentage, owing to the emotional premium the market is willing to pay.
“Having said that, I would expect Pink diamonds of high saturation to increase by a percentage of mid-to-high double digits in the coming years as the market digests the diminished supply within the trade.”
Knowing how rare and irreplaceable Argyle Pink Diamonds are was Chan’s starting point as he designed a collection around the them for DAWN Jewellery, working with in-house goldsmith Sunsmith atelier. “Working with one of the rarest and most valuable materials ever unearthed is a privilege, and we have deeply considered how to extend the legacy of this beauty for our clients,” he says.
Argyle Pink Diamonds traditionally are owned by few and desired by many, but Chan wanted to change the game with his collection, choosing to create pieces starting with a 5-digit price point (HKD) so more people can appreciate the diamonds, along with DAWN designs.
“At DAWN, we always weave in cultural elements into our creations,” says Chan. “We wanted to introduce elements drawn from Chinese culture in our collection. For example, our highlight Crane collection is based on the renowned ancient Chinese painting, Auspicious Cranes, created by Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty.”
Inspired by the painting, DAWN has created a set of 20 auspicious cranes in icy jadeite and 18K gold, with each one topped with an Argyle Pink Diamond on its crown. “Emperor Huizong came from an exceptional background, painting this rare painting under unusual circumstances, which we believe is a fitting narrative to complement the rare nature of the jewels and offer an interesting angle to tell the story,” says Chan.
Collectors can even engrave a personal message on the plate behind each piece, adding to the emotional value of each piece.