Diamonds are a classic symbol of love, but what if you want to show your appreciation for someone in a more unique way?
Pink diamonds are growing in popularity, both for use in jewellery and as an potential investment.Here’s everything you need to know about these beautiful stones.
What are pink diamonds?
Pink diamonds are one of the rarest colours of ‘fancy coloured’ diamonds – a term that covers diamonds outside the normal white to yellow colour range.
In fact, pink diamonds are the second rarest colour of diamond – second only to red diamonds. This rarity can result in high prices – sometimes up to £500,000 per carat for stones which exhibit very rare colours.
What makes a Pink Diamond Pink?
The colours in most fancy coloured diamonds are a result of different chemicals being present in the ground when the diamonds were formed.
However, pink diamonds don’t contain impurities that they derive their color from and gemologists aren’t entirely certain how the pink diamond obtains their color. The main theory is that when pink diamonds were forced to the Earth’s surface, their internal structure was deformed, which changes the way the diamond absorbs light, causing them to emit a pink hue
Where are pink diamonds from?
Pink diamonds were first discovered in India in the 17th century, with other deposits also found in Brazil at a similar time. However, recently pink diamonds have primarily been produced from Australia, with more than 90% coming from a single mine – the ‘Argyle Mine’ in Western Australia.
The largest pink diamonds (1 carat and over) have traditionally been sold through a ‘tender’ process, where diamond dealers, or individuals, can bid to buy the more significant diamonds each year. Trationally, this has been around 40-50 diamonds each year.
The Argyle mine has now closed, meaning that it will no longer producing pink diamonds, hugely reducing the supply of new pink diamonds that are going to be coming into the market.
Pink diamond colour grades
Pink diamonds come in all different shades, and just like other coloured diamonds, they can be graded:
- Very light
- Fancy light,
- Fancy intense
- Fancy deep
- Fancy vivid
The more intense the colour of the diamond (ie. the closer to the bottom of the list), the higher the price of the diamond.
As with other fancy coloured diamonds, pink diamonds usually have a secondary ‘hue’, which will affect what they look like. These secondary hues are included in the colour description of a grading report, where it will say something like orange-pink.
These secondary hues also vary in rarity, and therefore affect the value of the diamond. Brown is the most common secondary hue and stones with this color are generally the least valuable.
There is also another colour scale used to decribe the colour of pink diamonds, developed by the Argyle company. They grade their pink diamonds firstly by colour:
- Pink (P)
- Purplish pink (PP)
- Pink rose (PR)
They then assign a number from 1-10, to indicate the intensity of color, where 1 is the highest saturation and most intense colour, and 9 is faintest pink. 10 is used to indicate complete absence of intensity ie. white:
- Very intense
- Medium Light
- Very Light
- Light Blush
Factors that affect pink diamond prices
As with all fancy coloured diamonds, it’s colour that has the biggest effect om the price of a pink diamond. The higher more vivid and more intense pink a dimaond is, the rarer it is and therefore the higher the price is.
However, there are also many other factors that affect a pink diamond’s price:
The weight of a diamond is always a factor in how much it costs, with prices rising quickly with an increase in carat weight for pink diamonds.
In general, pink diamonds are much smaller than white diamonds, with any pink diamond above 0.2 carats being considered large, with gems above one carat exceedingly rare – only around 50 are sold at tender in any one year.
Pink diamonds are still graded for clarity, but it does not have such a significant effect on price as colour, and many are not eye clean.
For pale pink diamonds, the higher the clarity, the more desirable the stone is and therefore the more expensive it will be.
Inclusions show less readily in darker stones, so more can be permitted.
Cut quality doesn’t play a major role in pink diamond pricing, as diamonds aren’t judged on their light performance (ie. how much they sparkle).
However, a well-cut (or a diamond with a nice ‘make’) will always be more attractive and more expensive than one with a poor shape.
One thing to know is that pink diamonds are usually cut to retain as much carat weight as possible as they are so valuable and rate. This is different from white diamonds, which are usually cut to maximise light performance, as well as carat weight.
Many coloured diamonds are treated to improve their colour, and pink diamonds are no different. These treatments could be:
- HPHT High pressure, high temperature treatments recreate the conditions that diamonds are formed in and can change the colour of a diamond considerably, either increasing its intensity, or changing the colour completely
- Irradiation treatment can create vivid pink colours, but these can be badly affected if a diamond is exposed to heat, so care needs to be taken by owners of diamonds that have been subject to this treatment.
- Annealing is the process of heading and then cooling a diamond to change its colour, and is often combined with irradiation. As with irradiation, diamonds that have had their colour changed by annealing can be adversely affected by head, to care needs to be taken.
- Coating is literally a coating on the surface of the diamond to change its colour. Over time, this can wear off, so it is usually not viewed as desirable.
Every pink diamond you consider should have been test by an independent lab, which will test for treatments and record the findings on the grading report.
Buying a pink diamond ring
Due to their high price, buying a pink diamond for an engagement ring can feel out of reach for many. However, there are some things that can be done to make it more achievable.
Consider treated diamonds
As mentioned above, pink diamonds can be created from other colours by HPHT, or the increase the intensity of colour in light pink diamonds through other treatments.
Choosing a pink diamond that has been treated will mean a lower price than a naturally-coloured diamond, but does mean that extra care needs to be taken with the stone.
Lab-grown pink diamonds
Lab-grown diamonds have advanced hugely in quality in acceptance over the last 3 or 4 years, and lab-grown pink diamonds are many times less expensive than natural, mined diamonds.
One thing to know about lab grown diamonds is that they currently have no resale value, so if you are considering one, it’s unlikely that you would be able to sell it if your tastes change in the future.
Choose a setting that increases the perceived size
Due to their high price, an effective way to increase the impressiveness of a pink diamond ring is to increase the impressiveness of the setting itself.
Teaming a pink diamond with other precious gems in a three stone or a halo setting can mean that even a pink diamond with a light carat weight can still feel like a significant piece of jewellery. For example, this double-halo setting has a 0.46 carat centre stone, but a total carat weight of 1.19 carats to deliver a huge visual impact.
As with all diamond purchases, the key to finding a great pink diamond ring is working with a pink diamond specialist who can guide you through the process and help you find the stone that is the best fit for you.
As there are so many more factors that affect pink diamonds prices than regular white diamonds, we recommend that you aim to work with a specialist in coloured diamonds to guide you through the process.