If there is one thing I can say about my 15 years in the jewelry business I can say I have gained an appreciation for beautiful and unusual gemstones. Of special interest to me are the natural fancy colored diamonds. For those not in the know, natural fancy colored diamonds come in a myriad of colors and levels of color. The most common colors that are seen in jewelry stores are yellow, brown (also known as champagne, cognac and, thanks to a particular jewelry manufacturer, chocolate), and black, although most black diamonds in jewelry stores are not natural, but treated to get their color.
Personally my favorites are the rarest colors – green, blue, and red. If I ever win the lottery or find myself an heir to some billionaire’s fortune, I would like to buy a small one of these and have it put into a ring that I could pass on to my children. Rio Tinto, a British/Australian conglomerate based in London, has discovered a diamond recently that might make me change my mind about these colors.
A rare 2.83 carat violet diamond was discovered in August, 2015 at its Western Australian mine, the largest of its type ever found from its operation. This mine, known as the Argyle mine from the region it is located, is best known for its pink diamonds, although brown and blue diamonds are also mined there. The oval shaped diamond, known as the Argyle Violet (exceptional and important diamonds are often named), will be a part of the 2016 Argyle Pink diamonds tender, which is the annual showcase of the mine’s rarest diamonds. The tender is only shown to selected qualified buyers of rare gems and jewelry, so all us normal people can do is look at pictures of these stones and wish.
Violet colored diamonds are so rare that in 32 years of operation, the Argyle mine has produced only 12 carats of polished violet diamonds for its tender and has only ever produced one other significant violet diamond of more than one carat and that was in 2008.
More than 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine and it is the only place that hydrogen-rich violet diamonds are found. When the Argyle Violet was first found, it was a piece of diamond rough that looked like a meteorite with pits, crevices and deep etching. It weighed 9.17 carats, and it took over 80 man hours of polishing to get it to its 2.13 carat oval shape.
The Argyle Violet will travel along with the rest of the 2016 Argyle Pink diamond tender to Copenhagen, Hong Kong, and New York this year. The Argyle violet is expected to fetch between $1 million and $2 million a carat which works out to be around $3,000,000 to $5,500,000!