Searching for Beyond Rare – Will We Find Another Argyle Mine?

The Argyle pink diamond deposit in Western Australia has been celebrated as the source of the world’s most coveted pink diamonds. What if we uncovered a map to finding beyond rare?

Written by Jewellery World

By Sylvie Dibbs

The Argyle pink diamond deposit in Western Australia has been celebrated as the source of the world’s most coveted pink diamonds. For years it has been efficiently described in two beautiful words—Beyond Rare and its remarkable existence is explained as an ancient mythical origin story, The Barramundi Dreaming. But what if we uncovered a map to finding beyond rare? A groundbreaking theory, published in the prestigious Nature Communications Journal, suggests just that. Titled “Emplacement of the Argyle diamond deposit into an ancient rift zone triggered by supercontinent breakup,” this theory proposes another fascinating origin for Argyle pink diamonds and suggests there may be more to discover.

This theory suggests that the Argyle pink diamond deposit formed during the breakup of the ancient supercontinent Nuna. Approximately 1.3 billion years ago, the earth’s crust experienced a cataclysmic event when Nuna began to fracture. This extraordinary geological event gave rise to the Argyle volcano, which served as the cradle for these rare and coveted pink diamonds. The supercontinent’s rupture triggered a seismic upheaval of hot rock, containing an abundance of pink diamonds that erupted violently through the rift.

The Argyle Mine, which supplied over 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds for 37 years, closed in 2020, primarily due to the depletion of its accessible reserves. The uniqueness of the Argyle pink diamond deposit lies in its status as the first place to have a continuous supply of pink diamonds. These gems have long been the darlings of collectors and enthusiasts, coveted for their exceptional rarity and captivating hues. The thought of finding more of these exquisite gems raises both excitement and concern among experts in the industry.

On the positive side, discovering more pink diamonds would inject additional supply into the market. Those in the industry would benefit from increased sales, and collectors may have more opportunities to own these rare gems. However, there is a conundrum, this influx might potentially reduce or stabilise the value of existing pink diamonds. The allure of Argyle pink diamonds was built on their exclusivity, and discovering new deposits might impact the market dynamics.

In a world where the term “limited edition” is often used loosely and with diminishing impact, Argyle pink diamonds were seen as a truly limited edition. They were finite and irreplaceable, adding to their allure and mystique. The new Nuna explosion theory does raise questions about whether this mystique could erode. Some dealers have speculated that the release of this information may have been a strategic move to prepare the market for the possibility of a new deposit. This way, the impact of the discovery on the Argyle pink diamond market might be cushioned.

Hugo Olierook, a geologist from Curtin University and the lead author of the study emphasises the potential for future discoveries, stating, “I think using that sort of [diamond-producing] recipe, I think we’ll be able to find more of these pink diamonds, but it’s not going to be easy.” Dr Olierook believes that pink diamond deposits may be found in regions where continental blocks have come together, not limited to Nuna’s existence, considering Earth has witnessed multiple supercontinents. This offers a glimmer of hope that the legacy of Argyle pink diamonds may live on in other corners of the world.

Some in the Argyle investment space have dismissed the theory, arguing that opening a new mine would be a time-consuming and complex process, taking years to initiate, even if the theory were proven true. Therefore, they believe that there would be no immediate impact on the future of Argyle pink diamonds.

Regardless of where one stands on this theory, the mystique and aura surrounding Argyle pink diamonds remain undeniable. This new perspective only adds to the allure of these rare gems, fuelling the public’s imagination and keeping them firmly in the spotlight.

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