The beauty of pink diamonds

Pink diamonds are among the rarest of diamonds, only produced from a few mines in the world. The majority of pink diamonds come from mines in India, but some also come from mines in South Africa, Brazil, and the Argyle mine in northwestern Australia. The Argyle mine is famous for its hot-pink diamonds, which are found with its champagne and brown diamonds.

Pink diamonds are large clear diamonds in shades of pastel pink, ranging from coral (a pinkish-orangeish brown) to a pure bubblegum pink, or dark pink ranging from a sherry color to an cedar (brown pink) color. While some pink diamonds contain nitrogen impurities that give the stone the pink color (Type 1a), the Type 2a (rarest and hardest to find) color comes from the plastic deformation of the lattice structure while the diamond is formed from heat and pressure.

The Argyle mine also produces pink champagne diamonds, which are champagne diamonds (yellow-brown) with a secondary pink color. The stones contain slight to bold flashes of pink in their shine. The pink champagne diamonds are found in three ranges of colors: light-pink champagne, medium-pink champagne, and dark-pink champagne.

Diamonds are graded using a rating scale of color, clarity, carat (size), and cut, also known as the 4 Cs. Since this diamond scale does not grade fancy colored diamonds properly, the Gemological Institute of America has created a 9 level scale. The GIA grading scale ranges from “faint” and “very light” (which can be actually graded on the normal 4 C scale) to “fancy deep” and “fancy vivid” where the color is intense and saturates the diamond. The three aspects of color that are used in grading are hue, tone, and saturation.

Hue is the dominant color of the diamond, although secondary colors or tints can change the hue. Tone is the amount of lightness or darkness in the diamond, ranging from light to dark. Saturation is the intensity of the color of the diamond, from pastels to intense vivid colors. The more intense and vivid the color, the rarer and more valuable the diamond.

Colored diamonds are cut differently than white diamonds. White diamonds are cut to accentuate the brilliance of the stone and reflect the light most brilliantly. Colored diamonds are cut to accentuate the color and clarity of the stone, and are cut so that the color saturation is emphasized, and the size and brilliance is secondary.

Since pink diamonds are rarer than normal colorless diamonds, they have been treasured throughout history. The first Mughul Emperor Babur was presented with the light pink Agra diamond by the Rajah of Agra in 1526. By 1739, the Darya-I-Nur diamond, a rare light-pink diamond of 182 carats, was taken from the Mughul emperors by Nadar Shah of Persia, and brought to Iran where they have remained as part of the Royal Jewels.

 Besides the Agra and the Darya-I-Nur (Darya-ye-Noor), other famous pink diamonds include:

  • Pink Dream (formerly the Pink Star or the Steinmetz Pink is a 59.60 carat fancy vivid-pink diamond that was unveiled in 2003. This diamond is the largest diamond with this rating. In November 2013, the Pink Dream was sold at Sotheby’s autumn sale for $83 million. This is a new record for a world auction for any diamond. 
  • Pink Sun Rise is a 29.78 carat flawless pink diamond.
  • The Star of the South is a 128 carat diamond from Brazil that was found in the 1850s by a slave, earning the worker her freedom and a retirement income.
  • While fictional, the Pink Panther Diamond is probably the most famous pink diamond in the world, giving rise to a series of movies, an unforgettable bumbling inspector, and cartoon characters.

Today pink diamonds are showing up as exquisite jewelry. Viveca Fox, Salma Hayek, Calista Flockhart and Kate Moss have all worn pink diamonds neckaces or bracelets to awards shows and events. Jennifer Lopez was given a 6.5 carat pink heart-shaped diamond engagement ring, as was Victoria Beckham, wife of David Beckham the football player.