More Than 100 Pink Diamonds Are Now On View

SourcingNov 07, 2022

More Than 100 Pink Diamonds Are Now On View

L.J. West Diamonds has collaborated with the Melbourne Museum to mount an exhibition of the rarest stones from the now-closed Argyle mine.

20221107_Argyle Violet close-up.jpg
The 2.83-carat “Argyle Violet” diamond, set into a ring and surrounded by Argyle pink diamonds, is among the jewelry and loose diamonds on display for the “Pink Diamonds” exhibition, running now through January 2023 at the Melbourne Museum.
Melbourne, Australia—Over the weekend, an exhibition opened at the Melbourne Museum showcasing one, and only one, type of gemstone—pink diamonds from Australia’s now-closed Argyle mine.

The exhibition is a collaboration between Museums Victoria, which operates three state-owned museums in Melbourne, and New York-based L.J. West Diamonds, one of the largest collectors of natural colored diamonds in the world.

Owner Larry West told National Jeweler the exhibition, which is titled simply “Pink Diamonds,” is comprised of more than 100 jewels—mostly loose stones with a few pieces of jewelry mixed in—that either belong to him or that he’s borrowed back from clients.

The centerpiece is the stone West describes as “the Picasso of the collection” and is, he contends, the rarest diamond in the world—the 2.83-carat “Argyle Violet.”

West purchased the diamond for an undisclosed amount at the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, Rio Tinto’s once-annual sale of the top diamonds to emerge from the mine. He had it set into a platinum ring and surrounded by a halo of smaller Argyle pinks.

The diamond stands as the largest violet diamond to ever emerge from Argyle, weighing twice as much as the second largest, the 1.41-carat “Ocean Seer” from the 2008 tender.

West said research, including a study by GIA, has revealed the violet-colored diamonds from Argyle contain hydrogen, nitrogen and traces of nickel. 

He said this sets them apart from other natural color diamonds, with their violet hue more reminiscent of the violet found in Kashmir sapphires than in any other diamond.  

Violet stones with high color saturation are rarely found in sizes larger than half a carat, making the nearly 3-carat Argyle Violet, which GIA graded a fancy deep grayish-bluish violet, all the more unusual.

“The chemistry and physics behind the color are unique to the Argyle mine,” West said. “You could make the argument, this is the rarest diamond in the world.” 

The Argyle Violet will be displayed alongside a number of its fellow “hero” stones that West purchased from past Argyle Pink Diamond tenders. 

There is the radiant-cut “Argyle Thea,” a 2.24-carat fancy vivid purplish pink; the 1.02-carat fancy red shield-shaped “Super Hero” diamond; the “Leela Gera Red Princess,” a 1.01-carat fancy purplish red princess cut; and the 2.01-carat fancy vivid pink “Argyle Hidden Princess,” another princess-cut diamond. 

Jewelry included in the exhibition includes the “Argyle Ballerina,” a pin featuring a 1.13-carat heart-shaped fancy vivid purplish pink diamond, and the “Australian Rose,” a pair of platinum and 18-karat gold earrings with matching 0.51- and 0.52-carat fancy intense pink centers. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Pink Diamonds opened Nov. 5 at the Melbourne Museum and will run through Jan. 29.

Access to the exhibition is free with museum entry. For more information and tickets, visit the museum’s website.

West has done similar exhibitions in the United States in the past.

From December 2016 to March 2017, he loaned natural color diamonds, including the Argyle Violet, for an exhibition at Los Angeles’ Natural History Museum titled “Diamonds: Rare Brilliance.”

If he were to do another one in the U.S., West said it would be more expansive than what’s currently on display in Melbourne, encompassing diamonds in all hues from all over the world.

“Pink Diamonds” was put together specifically for the people of Australia as a nod to the legacy of the Argyle Diamond Mine, which closed permanently in November 2020 after 37 years of operation. 

“I feel like this the legacy of Australia,” West said. “There will never be a mine like this in the history of the Earth. It was a blip in history and [the diamonds are] what we have to remember it by. 

“They are just beautiful, incredible stones.”

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