To paraphrase George Orwell: "All diamonds are rare but some are more rare than others."
Fancy color diamonds are among the rarest and most valuable gemstones. They are stones that fall outside of the standard color range between light yellow and light brown.
Colorless diamonds are graded on a color scale ranging from D to Z; as the color tint becomes more obvious, the value decreases. For fancy diamonds, the opposite happens – the more vibrant and saturated the color, the more expensive and valuable the diamond becomes. Any color outside the D to Z range is considered “fancy” and graded on a scale from light to vivid.
The fancy color in diamonds is caused by the distortion of the molecular lattice, which happens at random. Because of that, it is extremely challenging to cut fancy colored diamonds. Not only diamond has to be positioned within the rough crystal to yield the largest possible diamond, but it also has to be oriented in a way that produces the deepest, more pronounced face-up color. The two goals often contradict each other and require experience and deep knowledge of diamond cutting to find the best solution.
Fancy-colored diamonds are scarce, and Argyle pink diamonds are inherently so. Until pink diamonds started to trickle out of the Argyle mine in the 1980s, they were so rare that they barely registered on the collector’s radar.
At its height, the Argyle mine, located in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia, produced 9 out of 10 world’s pink diamonds even though the pink material was less than one percent of the total output. Moreover, only 9.6% of the Argyle pinks are larger than 0.20 carats, and less than one percent of Argyle pinks are one carat or larger. Entire year’s worth of Argyle pinks over half a carat in size can fit in a palm of a hand.
The Argyle mine has now been officially closed. This means that no more diamonds are coming to the market, and the existing supply dwindles with every passing day. This leads to fast and dramatic price increases, good news for current owners.