Just a small percentage of the limited production reaches auction houses. Due to the rarity of these gems, the renowned auction house Christie’s has sold only 18 polished pink diamonds with more than ten carats in its 244-year history.
The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a light pink diamond; its color is similar to that of The Williamson Pink, the diamond Queen Elizabeth II received as a wedding gift and subsequently was set in a brooch for her coronation. The extraordinary rough Argyle Pink originally weighed 12.76 carats (2.552 grams), which after cutting yielded 8.01 carats (1.602 gr.).
As the diamond was being cut, it was discovered that it had an internal flaw that affected its clarity, and, therefore, its value. Every great rock has a mystery, and in this case, the mystery of the Argyle Pink Jubilee is whether the flaw came with the diamond or if it was produced during the cutting process. The truth may never be known.
Given the downside, its owner had to make a difficult decision: to cut the Argyle Pink Jubilee into several small pieces and auction them, or preserve the essential pink diamond. He may have considered that nature and the peculiar geology of the region took more than 1.8 billion years to produce the Argyle Pink Jubilee. It represented a priceless treasure and an important milestone in the history of Australian mining. The global company Rio Tinto—owner of the mine—chose to preserve the original jewel and donated it to the Melbourne Museum, where it is currently displayed.
The Argyle mine produces more than 90 percent of the world’s supply of pink diamonds. These rare, high-quality diamonds have an estimated value of nearly one million dollars per carat. Their demand has grown in the last 20 years, and the coveted pieces command up to 20 times the value of similar white diamonds.
Argyle, located east of Australia, also produces champagne and cognac colored diamonds, as well as extraordinary blue diamonds. ■