For buying diamonds Antwerp is the place to be. We can proudly say for polished diamonds and diamond jewelers Antwerp is the diamond center of the world. When it comes to mining diamonds, however, Belgium has little to offer.
Diamond mines can be found in several countries across the globe, but the most famous one might be Argyle Mine in Australia. The Argyle Diamond Mine plays a major role as the largest producer of diamonds in the world with an annual production of 35 million carats.
We do have to make a distinction here; for gem quality diamonds and definitely diamond value the Argyle Diamond Mine lags a bit behind other mines like those in South Africa. A large portion of the Argyle diamonds are low quality and thus used for industrial purposes rather than jewelry.
Diamond colors make the Argyle Mine famous
The Argyle Mine does have much to offer to those who like fancy colored diamonds, especially in the market of pink diamonds. An estimated 90 to 95% of all pink diamonds globally come from this one diamond mine. This doesn’t mean they are widespread; pink and red diamonds equal less than 1% of the total production of the mine, which still makes the Argyle Mine the world’s only reliable source for pink diamonds.
While pink diamonds are extremely rare, brown diamonds certainly aren’t. With 80% of the Argyle diamonds being brown they’re very common. In the past these brown diamonds were unpopular and mostly classified as industrial grade diamonds, but intensive marketing made cognac and champagne diamonds popular around the world.
History of the Argyle Mine
The Argyle Diamond Mine is located in East Kimberley region which is in the north of Western Australia. In the late ‘60s some minerals were discovered in the area when miners were looking for gold. This started a hunt for the source of these gemstones which took well over a decade. It wasn’t until the late ’70 the source of the diamonds could be found in Smoke Creek near Lake Argyle.
After the discovery of the volcanic pipe that is the source of the Argyle diamonds it didn’t take long to start mining operations in 1983. In the years that followed the mine rapidly became a major player in the diamond world.
The Argyle Mine is currently transitioning from an open pit mine to an underground mine to keep its production on a profitable level.