Linneys has just participated in the final Argyle Pink Diamond Tender, and thanks to its 30-year expertise in the market, those in search of the rarest of the rare need look no further.
David Fardon, one of Australia’s leading pink diamond experts and the resident pink diamond specialist at Linneys, is no stranger to mindboggling statistics.
Prior to joining Linneys in 2005, he was marketing manager for 16 years at Rio Tinto’s legendary Argyle Diamond Mine and was responsible for the annual pink diamond tender. The mine was the primary source of the world’s rare pink diamond supply and as the world began to grasp the rarity and beauty of diamonds created deep under the red earth of the Kimberley, David played a key role in telling the pink diamond story to the world.
It’s hard to express the scarcity of these beautiful gems, which range in colour from palest blush pink to vivid scarlet. Comprising less than 0.1% of the total diamond output of the mine, pinks are the rarest of the rare. Conversely, more than 90% of the world’s pink diamond supply has been sourced from the remote mine and as of 2020, the supply has now ceased following the mine’s closure. As such, pink diamonds are the most valuable commodity per weight in the world.
Formed at an astonishing depth of 160kms below the surface, it can take over 12 months for a rough Argyle diamond to make the long journey from the depths of the mine to its final polished state, proudly displayed in one of Linneys showrooms.
As the mine’s closure approached, the value of the diamonds has continued to climb and clients have begun to appreciate the diamonds as a highly collectable investment. Some even use pink diamonds as part of their self-managed super fund portfolios, leaving these precious jewels to accrue value, unseen and unworn in safes around the world.
“Over 20 years, there has been a steady increase in value of pink diamonds of between 10 and 15 per cent per annum,” says David. “Since the turn of the century, that same pink diamond would have increased six-fold in value.”
Even in this rarified world, all pinks are not the same, with some more collectable than others, with the colour saturation, the size and shape all influencing their value. Since 1984 Argyle each year has put together an extraordinary collection of the 50 or so of the most coveted pink, red and violet diamonds, presenting them in an invitation-only tender for diamond and jewellery companies. Linneys has been a regular part of this exclusive group of retailers and David and the Linneys team spend many hours assessing and bidding for diamonds to join the already stunning collection at Linneys.
The 2021 tender is the final Argyle Pink Diamond Tender. There are no prices given for the pinks – experts like David around the world have to submit closed bids for their chosen diamonds and hope that they will be successful. The bigger and more intensely coloured stones are sought after by collectors while the lighter and more delicate shades provide Linneys jewellers with great design opportunities, factors which David bears in mind during the selection process.
“Some 70% of white diamonds are the classic round cut and that shape commands a premium price over other shapes,” says David. “In the case of pinks, rounds are very popular too but shape isn’t what drives the jeweller when cutting and polishing the stone.
“The intensity of colour is the driver rather than the cut. Because they are so rare, they endeavor to maximise the weight of the diamond so in this year’s tender, there are only eight round brilliant cut pinks out of 70 gems on offer.”
Linneys is the most experienced and longest-standing Argyle Diamond atelier in Western Australia for over 30 years and proudly offers Argyle Pink diamonds to be designed into stunning jewellery which in time will become heirloom pieces.
“Between the Linney family and myself, we have over 125-years experience with pinks, all within this one business,” says David. “If a client has a special request for a unique fancy purplish red for instance, we have the international network to source such pieces.
“This is my 30th tender, so I have sat on both sides of the process,” says David. “Linneys knows what appeals to its clients and we have a team of talented craftsman and designers to create that special piece of jewellery for you.”