The fancy colored diamond market is one that has gained significant traction in recent years. Fancy colored diamonds - any diamond of a color that is not white - appeal to a range of connoisseurs and collectors. In fact, any expert would agree that colored diamonds' allure lies in the mere fact that they can be found in nearly every spectral hue: green, blue, yellow, red, and orange, among many others. However, of all these differing hues, pink diamonds are among the rarest of all diamonds and they have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
The value of pink diamonds is far higher than the majority of all other fancy colored diamonds due to their rarity. The colored stones represent only approximately 0.03% of the annual production of all diamonds in the world. Compared to the far more common white diamond, a pink diamond's value can be between 10 to 100 times more than a white gem of a similar carat weight and clarity grade. It's no surprise, then, that these magnificent jewels are some of the rarest and most desired of all diamonds. Read more to learn about the history and technical aspects of the exceptional pink diamond.
THE PINK COLOR
Blue diamonds earn their color thanks to the presence of boron, while yellow diamonds get their sunny hue from nitrogen molecules. Things aren't so clear when it comes to pink diamonds - we don't exactly know how they manage to achieve that stunning rosy hue. Most experts believe that the color is caused by an enormous amount of pressure being placed on the stones during their formation, whose stress displaces carbon atoms from their normal positions.
Whatever the exact reason for this color anomaly, these colored stones are found in a stunning range of hues, from reddish pink to orangish pink and everything in between. Color is assessed using three main characteristics: hue, tone (lightness or darkness), and saturation (the intensity of the color). Like other fancy colored diamonds, the range of color is indicated by color grading, ranging from fancy light, fancy, fancy intense, fancy vivid, and fancy deep. Those pink diamonds with a “deep” color grade embody the darkest tone and highest amount of saturation, while fancy light stones possess more subtle color.
Which color grade is the most desirable? Based on market trends, it is those pink diamonds graded as “fancy vivid” that command the highest premiums. Colloquially, experts and connoisseurs refer to these rare pink diamonds as the “brightest” and “purest” pink hue. These jewels are known to have incredible brilliance and clarity, making any jewelry creation they adorn among of the most sought after diamond jewelry pieces on the market.
PRESENCE OF A MODIFIER
The presence of a modifier in any colored diamonds means the presence of a secondary hue. If there is a secondary color, and it occupies 25% or less of the basic body color of the diamond, then it prefaces the basic body color name of the diamond. For example, a pink diamond with a purple modifier is formally called “purplish-pink.” However, if the presence of a secondary hue is at least 50% of the overall stone, the name of the secondary hue prefaces the basic body color of the diamond, but without a “-y” or “-ish.” For example, a diamond that is half purple and half pink is formally called “purple-pink.”
Common modifiers for pink diamonds are orange, brown, and purple. Each lends a pink diamond a distinctive appearance.
Among the rarest of the natural fancy colored diamonds, pink diamonds have been remarkably difficult to find throughout history. There is not one single source available for the jewels, and they have been found sporadically from mines in India, Brazil and South Africa. In fact, mines in both Indian and Brazil have produced some of the largest (by carat size) pink diamonds to date, though stones of this caliber are almost never unearthed today.
Since the late 1980s, however, the monumental Argyle mines in Australia have emerged as the most important and largest source of pink diamonds to date. In fact, these mines product approximately 90% of the world's supply of pink diamonds, though only 1% of the diamonds found at the Argyle mines are graded as fancy pink - the majority found are in the far more common white spectrum. Due to the scarcity of these stones, industry analytics and research at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) anticipate the Argyle mines will likely close around the year 2020, making new pink diamonds even rarer on the market.
THE HISTORY OF PINK DIAMONDS
The most well-known historical sources for pink diamonds are India, South Africa and Australia, though they have also been found throughout Indonesia and Brazil. The earliest documented pink diamonds are the 82.0-carat Daria-i-noor and the 60.0-carat Noor-ul-ain, both of which are currently part of the Iranian crown jewels. Another famous royal pink is the legendary Grande Conde, a 9.01-carat pink diamond that gets its name from Louis II de Bourbon, the Prince of Conde, and was once owned by King Louis XIII of France.
The popularity of pink diamonds continued into the mid-20th century, when Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a 23.6-carat pink diamond, set as a jonquil brooch by Cartier. Now, in more modern times, the fascination for pink diamonds has prevailed in both popular culture and sensational auction results.
While the past five years have seen an paralleled and remarkable rise of market value for pink diamonds, this rise was foreshadowed decades prior. In April 1989, a Christie's jewelry sale included ten pink diamonds from Australia's famed Argyle mine. Each achieved a staggeringly high sale price, displaying premiums that had yet to be seen for colored diamonds. Today, market experts agree that this auction signaled the emergence of full-fledged pink diamond connoisseurs.
27 years later, CNN christened 2016 as the year of the colored diamond, with pink (along with blue) diamonds reigning over all in market value and sheer popularity. Thanks to both their exceptional beauty and extreme rarity, the pink diamond has achieved an almost unbelievable price per carat at recent auctions. In April 2017, the Pink Star, a 59.6ct-carat oval mixed-cut fancy vivid pink diamond, sold for a world record of $71 million at a price per carat of $ 1.19 million. Other pink diamonds performed just as well: in 2010, the 24.68-carat Graff Pink Diamond sold for $46 million, which is just over $1.8 million per carat, even more than the price per carat sale of the Pink Star.
The popularity of pink diamonds extends beyond the realm of sensational auction sales and has made its way into the mainstream. In 2012, the Argyle Pink Diamonds Company curated and hosted a one-day exhibition in London of the finest 42 pink diamonds in the world. Commemorating Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee in 2012, the collection represented what many refer to as “the greatest coming together in one place of pink diamonds.”
As pink diamonds continue to gain popularity while becoming even more rare, we expect their desirability to continue to grow. Click here to view the pink diamonds in our current jewelry collection.