ONE IN 10,000: THE ORIGINS OF NATURAL FANCY COLOR DIAMONDS
It is no coincidence that natural fancy color diamonds broke several auction record sales in 2016. In addition to being beautiful, they are also extremely rare: only one of every 10,000 diamond carats mined is that of a color diamond. A new piece on Leibish & Co.’s website delves into the origins of natural fancy color diamonds which, despite their rarity, can be found in nearly every corner of the globe.
These are found primarily in Africa – mainly in Angola, Central Africa, Congo, and Sierra Leone. Yellow diamonds have also been discovered in Brazil, Australia, and Borneo. The Ellendale mine in Australia, which has suspended operations in 2015, was the source of about half of yellow stones in the market.
Sierra Leone is also an important player in the yellow diamond industry. So much so, that one of its mines, the Zimmi mine, coined the term ‘Zimmi Yellow,’ “after having produced some of the most extraordinary vivid yellow diamonds with the highest levels of saturation on the planet”, according to the piece.
90% of the world’s pink diamonds are found in Australia, in the famous Argyle mine. Pinks have also been uncovered in Borneo, Brazil, and sometimes Central Africa. The Argyle mine also produces champagne, cognac, and blue diamonds. Each year, the owner of the mine, Rio Tinto, holds an exclusive sale of the best pink diamonds recovered from the mine. The event is known as the Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, and the diamonds for sale are exhibited in major diamond industry centers around the world prior to the auction.
In addition to pinks, the Argyle mine in Australia also produces a fair number of smaller blue diamonds. Blues are also found in Borneo, Brazil and Central Africa, although not often. India is responsible for two of the most famous diamonds in the world: the Hope Diamond and the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond. South Africa is home to the Cullinan mine – “the most important producer of high quality natural blue diamonds in the world”.
Orange diamonds are found in Congo, which is mostly known for producing low-grade diamonds.
Brown is a commonly found color diamond, and brown diamonds are mined in Angola, Borneo, Brazil, Congo, and Australia.
The Argyle mine is also known to produce purple diamonds, but the prize for the “main purple diamond producer” title goes to Siberia.
Black diamonds are mainly found in Central Africa, which doesn’t have a big diamond production to begin with. Most of its production is black diamonds and yellow diamonds.