While it could be assumed that so-called ‘fancy’ or coloured diamonds may sell themselves, the success of the stones in achieving a demand niche has been crucially assisted by clever marketing.
One of the most memorable slogans of all times, ‘diamonds are forever’, was coined by diamond giant de Beers in a bid to tap in to the buying habits of Americans during the Great Depression.
In much the same way, Argyle has pricked luxury consumer consciousness to create markets for its pink and champagne diamonds.
Each year, Argyle produces enough diamonds to fill a small truck, but in that same period it produces just enough pink diamonds to fill half an ashtray.
Originally released in 1985, the pink and red diamonds were not the objects of desire they are today.
However, through clever marketing, Argyle’s ‘signature’ pink diamond is today one of the most highly sought after precious stones among the rich and famous.
While its rough diamonds are shipped overseas, Argyle’s pink diamonds are retained for cutting and polishing by some of the industry’s best at the miner’s West Perth office.
About 50 of these gems are then sold through an international ‘sealed bid’ tender to some of the world’s finest jewellers and diamantaires, usually around September each year, after a travelling showcase that visits Perth, Tokyo, New York, London, Geneva and Antwerp.
While the actual cost of each diamond is determined by the intensity of its colour, which can be from a light rose to a full bodied purple, tenders are often in excess of $US100,000 per carat.
At the opposite end of the market, the common brown diamond was reborn as the ‘champagne’ diamond, which has infinitely more appeal than its original muddy-coloured epithet would suggest.
Selling for about one third the price of their white counter-parts, champagne diamonds are the more affordable of the coloured diamonds.
Industry watchers are tipping that Australia’s newest producer, Kimberley Diamond Company, may be able to create niche for the yellow gemstones produced from the Ellendale diamond field.
Patersons research analyst Alex Passmore said Kimberley was well positioned with the gemstone expertise attached to the company.
“If they can create a market for yellow diamonds in much the same way that Argyle created a market for pink diamonds, they might well be very successful,” Mr Passmore said.