The Stunning Tale of the 3.16ct Fancy Vivid Pink Argyle Diamond

The first remarkable pink diamond recovered in Western Australia gave birth to what was to become the world’s largest fancy color mine, the Argyle Mine , which opened in 1979.  Located in the remote Kimberley region of the far northeast area of Western Australia, this site started modestly enough with a small budget of $100.000 US.  But within just a few years, it emerged as one of Australia’s most famous and profitable excavations, the legendary Argyle Mine. Rio Tinto officially began its operation there in 1983.

The Legendary Argyle Mine
The Legendary Argyle Mine

Our stone, originally found in 1995 was first sold to a De Beers Sightholder. In 1996 the exceptional pink jewel was put in the expert hands of M Vainer Ltd, a master cutter in London. 

As happens with many important stones, the diamond was later recut again.  And only this month the pink diamond received its genuine birth certificate which was graded by Argyle as P1- the equivalent of a Fancy Vivid Pink in GIA terms.

3.16 carat, Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond, 1P, Cushion Shape, I2 Clarity, GIA & ARGYLE

The One and Only

To the best of my knowledge it is the largest P1- Argyle cushion-shaped pink diamond in the world.

I examined this stone many times over the years and in doing so, I was convinced that it was an authentic Argyle stone. It displays the classic raspberry color face up that is so identified with Argyle Mine’s iconic pink diamonds.

Shuttered Mine Belongs to History

The Argyle Mine closed after 37 years of operations in November 2020. During its lifetime, the mine produced some 865 million carats of rough. Yet only a fraction of that output were pink diamonds.

Education & Marketing

For the last 30 years or so, the Argyle mine has been able to educate and promote its diamonds in very clever ways, a feat that few mines have ever been able to accomplish.

One example of its superb marketing is that the mine, owned by Rio Tinto mining corporation, created its own distinct certification program. Their diamond certificate is now universally recognized as a diamond certification system in its own right, standing alongside that of the world renowned GIA (Gemological Institute of America).

Argyle Mine has also created its own tender for its best quality diamonds mined annually. Once a year, it held the annual Argyle Pink Diamond Tender in which its finest pink, red, and even blue stones from the preceding year were showcased on tour prior to the Tender.

The 17 Argyle Tender Diamonds LEIBISH won in the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender 2012
The 17 Argyle Tender Diamonds LEIBISH won in the Argyle Pink Diamond Tender 2012

Curating the Best of the Best

We participated in every Tender, and my son Shmulik Polnauer, GG (GIA) is an expert with Argyle diamonds. Because of that, we acquired from the Tenders various number of stones each time. For example, once we won 26 stones, at another one it was 17, and sometimes only 1.

The 16 stones won by LEIBISH at the 2020 Argyle Diamond Tender
The 16 stones won by LEIBISH at the
2020 Argyle Diamond Tender

Argyle Pink Diamonds Heart Shape

The End of a Legend

By the time Argyle was nearing its end, Rio Tinto was facing a major dilemma. In order to harvest commercial quantities of pink diamonds, an additional investment of $2 billion dollars was needed.

The effort would involve descending 2,000 meters in some of the most complex mining operations possible.  In the end, they decided to invest the $2 billion into iron ore mining.

So just like that, the mythical Argyle Mine became shuttered once and for all.
Popular Articles View more articles
Article Image

High in the Great Himalaya mountains, tucked away in an obscure setting lies the fabled kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir. Long before recorded time, this mysterious

Article Image

First no one even heard of them. Then everyone did. Pink diamonds have become the darling of serious collectors the world over. Their ravishing pastel hues and

Article Image

Argyle’s mine is silent. The decades-long glory days that produced the world’s most exciting and rarest pink diamonds from western Australia now belongs