More than two years after it produced the last of its iconic pink diamonds, WA’s world-famous Argyle mine is still achieving firsts.
This time it’s a bespoke curation of diamonds unearthed in Argyle’s final year of operation, in a collaboration with perhaps the jewellery world’s biggest name: Tiffany and Co.
The Tiffany Collection, comprising 35 gems ranging from 0.35 carats to 1.52 carats, marks the first time Argyle – owned and operated by Rio Tinto – has curated a collection named in honour of a jeweller.
The collection includes a rare ‘fancy red’ coloured diamond and Tiffany did not disclose how much they paid for the stones.
“Probably not enough compared to what it’s going to become in the next five, 10 years,” Tiffany president and chief executive Anthony Ledru told the New York Times.
“We had to do it. It’s perfect for what we stand for.’
The diamonds are being shown to select clients in New York City and next month will be shown in Doha. They will also potentially find their way into Tiffany and Co’s famed Blue Book collection.
The Argyle mine, which operated from 1983 until late 2020, produced 90 per cent of the world’s pink diamonds during time of operation. Its opening came after an old-fashioned “rush” on the Kimberley in the late 1970s following indications of diamond deposits in WA’s remote north.
Rio Tinto has estimated the value of pink diamonds increased 500 per cent over the past 20 years. An Argyle fancy-purplish-pink weighing in at 2.0 carat sold for an Australian-record price of $2.2 million in 2021.
Curiously, there is not yet a consensus on why some diamonds are pink (or otherwise coloured) but it has been theorised it’s the result of the gems being subject to enormous pressures during formation.
In the case of Argyle, it’s thought the molecular structure of previously colourless diamonds may have been changed by a seismic shock that propelled them towards the surface.