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Every industry has its “Coca Cola” or “Nike,” i.e. a particular product that stands far above the rest for one reason or another.
In the world of fancy colors, that title goes to Argyle diamonds. The majority of the world’s pink diamond supply comes from the Argyle mine in Western Australia, and up until the 1980s when Argyle went public with their wares, pink diamonds were extremely, extremely scarce and practically unheard of.
Much has changed since then, particularly since the start of the 21st century and the brilliant marketing tactics used by the Argyle brand.
The pink colors found in that mine are usually more of a bubblegum like pink tone with an excellent appearance. However, while Argyle diamonds do have a distinct color to them, it is their perceived prestige that makes them even more expensive than pink diamonds in general.
Between the low supply, high demand, and impending closure of the Argyle mine, Argyle diamond prices are likely to continue to feel upward pressure. For example, a diamond like this 0.37ct Fancy Intense Pink Round would have cost you less than $20,000 a few years ago.
If there is one thing that the Argyle brand did right it’s the way in which they went about marketing themselves.
Even though they are among the largest diamond producers in the world, this isn’t what they are known for. They identified which products of theirs attracted the most attention, and that’s what they focused their marketing efforts on. Pink diamonds are only a small percentage of what they find, but they are almost synonymous with the Argyle name.
Unlike the other stones they sell, they polish all of the pink diamonds they find themselves. They established their own grading report for pink diamonds, and developed a unique Argyle color chart by which they assess their stones.
In addition, they save the most amazing finds they have each year to auction off in a special annual tender, called the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender. This tender itself is a major marketing opportunity.
These ideas, among so many other clever strategies, helped the company brand themselves as the world leader on natural pink diamonds. Today, their name is almost as valued as their production, and needless to say a pink diamond from that mine has a higher price per carat than another pink stones with similar attributes from another mine.
The genius here is that whether an Argyle diamond is of unbelievable quality or it is a pink diamond of “average” quality, it will still do incredibly well as it bears the prestigious name.
The Argyle mine supplies over 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. Having said that, only one in every two and a half million tons of ore that is processed in the mine contains a pink diamond. Over the past few years there has been a considerable decline in production and it only seems to be continuing in the same direction.
At the same time, pink diamonds are at their peak in terms of popularity, after having been brought to the public’s attention by various celebrities and their outlandish jewelry. Argyle’s limited supply might just be one of its most important weapons, and is utilized to its fullest through the company’s exclusive and prestigious Argyle Tender.
The Argyle Tender
Each year, the Argyle mine selects its finest diamonds, mostly pink but sometimes also red, violet, and blue, and offers them to an exclusive group of individuals who are invited to bid on the stones. This viewing occurs at a very high profile event known as the Argyle Tender. These high profile stones are taken home by the highest bidder, which itself has become something of a badge of honor in the tightly knit world of fancy color diamonds.
Lets face it, as expensive as “regular” pink diamonds are – certified Argyle pink diamonds are even more expensive.
While a 1 carat nice fancy pink (not a round) could go for roughly between $140,000 and $180,000, depending on the quality of the color, a similar Argyle stone would easily fetch over $200,000. Compare these two diamonds. This is a beautiful 1.02 ct intense pink that will cost you $176,000. Compare that to this 1.02 intense pink Argyle. Granted its a round, which is more valuable, but the price is $360,000.
The question of whether or not to go for an Argyle stone, in our opinion, really hinges on what your motivations are. Are you simply trying to find the best look pink diamond for your money? If so, then a non-branded pink is probably your best bet. But if you’re interested in the stone as a long term family heirloom/investment, an Argyle stone might be the best choice, especially considering the dwindling supply.
Color and Color Intensity
Color is by far the most important price factor in regards to fancy color diamonds. This certainly applies to Argyle diamonds as well. Among all colors available for color diamonds, pink is one of the rarest and probably the most popular.
Red is the rarest color and is also found in the Argyle mine. The purity of the color is one way of determining the color grade of a diamond. Most diamonds have at least one secondary color, so those that are a pure hue (ie, without a secondary modifying color) are considered extremely rare and valuable. The strength of the color is called color intensity. The higher the intensity, the more expensive the stone.
The Argyle Grading System
While the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat) apply to Argyle diamonds as much they do to other diamonds, the Argyle company has devised their own system of grading color. This works by dividing the pink diamonds into four categories: PP (Purplish Pink), P (Pink), BP (Brownish Pink), and PC (Pink Champagne). Then they are graded based on their color intensity. This ranges from 1 (the highest) to 8 (the lowest).
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