By Melissa Pearce
To describe an Argyle pink diamond, cradled in the hand, is a feat, mainly due to its intensity of colour, which can range from the palest blush through soft rose to dramatic red. Fancy red is the most coveted colour for Argyle pink diamonds, and only a handful of that classification ever see the light of day.
But it can also come as a surprise that such a diminutive precious stone can seemingly contain a miniature world, evoking the sunsets of its place of origin - the East Kimberley outback, more than 3,000km from Perth.
After Argyle's polishers brillianteer each intricate facet of an Argyle pink diamond to bring out its most intense hues, it is the exclusively appointed worldwide ateliers that pick up the thread of the story, handling the pink diamonds before they are worn as solitaire diamond rings.
The distribution of the pink diamonds that are not sold through the Argyle Diamond Mine's annual tender is carefully managed. An exclusive group of master craftsmen, known as Select Ateliers and Authorised Partners, ensure all market initiatives are in support of the standards of care and chain of custody, which are set from discovery, through to the resulting radiant piece of fine jewellery on display to the world.
With the romantic connotations of coloured diamonds, it is understandable that Argyle pink diamonds are seductive. Of the 30 or so Select Ateliers chosen, here they reveal the pleasures of the Argyle pink diamond.
Julian Farren-Price, director of J. Farren-Price, says patience is a virtue when it comes to locating the right Argyle pinks because he enjoys designing bespoke rings with several pinks as feature stones. J Farren-Price has gained a reputation for finding the rarest of the rare and then painstakingly matching trios in cut, proportion and hue to create a triptych of rarity and luxury.
Despite the difficulty in doing so, the atelier has completed its quest on two separate occasions with its Trilogy rings. The first Trilogy ring marked the house's 70th anniversary, and it took five years to assemble the trio of gems. But Farren-Price isn't complaining about the effort: "When a piece is this special, you're not creating a ring, it's a future heirloom."
There is a tradition of naming the most spectacular Argyle pink diamonds - Musson's Lowanna ring reflects an awareness of the Aboriginal connection to this gemstone's history. "Lowanna has several meanings, traditionally meaning a girl or young woman; it is also culturally used to describe an object of exquisite beauty and a tranquil place. It seemed fitting to bestow this beautiful name on a magnificent gem indigenous to our country," explains Olivar Musson, creative director at Musson and a founding member of Diamond Guild Australia.
Michael Neuman, company director at? Mondial Pink Diamond Atelier, who is also a director of Diamond Guild Australia, says his creative team pay attention to the client's story when creating pieces with Argyle pink diamonds: "It has to suit them and be in their style. What I love about working with Argyle pink diamonds is that they are considered to be the pinnacle," he explains. "They are an Australian product, like very fine wool, and seen globally as the best in the world. So it's a great pleasure to work with them." Neuman's boutique in the historic Queen Victoria Building in Sydney gives international visitors a chance to take home a uniquely Australian treasure with them.
Neuman continues: "Every Argyle pink diamond is individual. When you try to put even the tiny ones together, it's hard to find a perfect match." Neuman can still remember many of the special Argyle pink jewels his atelier has created over the past two decades. "An Argyle pink diamond elicits a reaction in people. Most of the time they haven't seen a ring or a pendant or a pair of earrings like that before. Because that was how it was born - completely different. And that's a really satisfying thing about working with Argyle pink diamonds."