Graff Pink Orchid Diamond

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Origin of name

The "Graff Pink Orchid" diamond is included in the list of 36 Graff diamonds appearing on the web pages of Graff. The name seems to reflect the unique purplish pink color of the diamond, which resembles the color of some pink orchids.

Characteristics of the stone

The "Graff Pink Orchid" is a marquise-cut, purplish pink, internally flawless stone, having a weight of 22.84 carats. Robert Mouawad, an international jeweler and entrepreneur, and a collector and connoisseur of diamonds, has a 24.44-carat, fancy purplish-pink diamond in his collection, known as the Mouawad Lilac, on which he places an estimation of $ 20 million, according to current market values. Using this as the criterion, we leave it to the intelligence of the reader, to estimate the price of the 22.84-carat, purplish pink, marquise-cut, internally flawless, "Graff Pink Orchid" diamond.

In all probability, the "Graff Pink Orchid" must be a Type IIa diamond, free of nitrogen, and having a plastically deformed crystal structure, that imparts the pink color to the stone, by changing it's absorption spectrum. Their occurrence however, is much less than 0.1 % of all naturally occurring diamonds. But, not all pink diamonds are Type IIa. Pink diamonds produced in the Argyle mines are Type Ia, because they contain detectable amounts of nitrogen, but not sufficient to mask the pink color.

In the table below, the "Graff Pink Orchid" occupies the 10th position on the table.


List of famous pink diamonds

S/No Name

Carat Weight


1 Darya-i-Nur 186 light pink
2 Nur-ul-Ain 60 light pink
3 Steinmetz pink 59.60 fancy vivid pink
4 Shah Jahaan 56.71 light pink
5 Agra 32.34 fancy light pink
6 Pink Sunrise 29.79 fancy pink
7 Rose of Dubai 25.02 fancy pink
8 Mouawad Lilac 24.44 fancy purplish pink
9 Williamson 23.56 fancy pink
10 Graff Pink Orchid 22.84 fancy purplish pink
11 Mouawad Pink 21.06 fancy pink
12 Hortensia 20.00 light orange pink
13 Graff Pink Supreme 10.83 fancy pink
14 Conde Pink 9.01 light pink



The diamond being a new discovery, does not have any history associated with it, but the rarity of the purplish pink color, combined with the relatively larger size of the stone, makes the "Graff Pink Orchid" , unique and notable, and has the potential of becoming famous in the future.

The early history of the diamond, such as the country of origin, mine of origin, date of discovery, original owners of the diamond etc. are not known, but the diamond seems to have been cut in one of the two workshops of Graff, specializing in the processing of large diamonds, situated in New York and Antwerp. The diamond had been subsequently set in a platinum ring, probably by the expert craftsmen of the handcrafted jewelry workshop, of Graff, situated in London.

The Marquise-cut of the diamond, is a variation of the brilliant-cut, with 58 facets, in which the girdle outline is boat-shaped and each end tapers to a point. It is said that a ring set with a marquise-cut diamond, makes one's fingers appear long and slender. An ideal marquise-cut diamond should have a length-to-width ratio of between 1.75 and 2.25.

Along the course of history the source of pink diamonds in the world had also changed. the earliest source of pink diamonds, was the Kollur mines of Golconda, in Southern India. The famous and historic pink diamonds, the Darya-i-Nur, the Nur-ul-Ain, Shah Jahaan, etc. may have originated in these mines. After the late 19th century, the South African diamond mines became the main source of pink diamonds in the world. The Mouawad lilac, the Mouawad Pink, the Steinmetz Pink, and other recently discovered pink diamonds, all originated in the diamond mines of Southern Africa. But today, the main source of pink diamonds in the world is the Argyle Diamond Mines  in Australia, founded in 1983. The Argyle mines are situated in the remote north-east region of Western Australia. It is currently the World's largest producer of diamonds by volume. In the year 2000, production reached 26.5 million carats, which is approximately 25 % of the annual world production. 1994 was the peak production year in this mine, producing 42.8 million carats, which was 40% of the annual world production. A large proportion of the staggering output consists of small brown to yellow rough diamonds, as well as some near colorless and colorless rough diamonds.

The average annual production in the Argyle mines is about 35 million carats. Almost 50 % of this production is industrial, 45 % near-gem quality and 5 % gem quality diamonds. Out of the 5 % gem-quality diamonds, 80 % are brown, 16 % yellow, 2 % white, 2 % grey, and less than 1 % fancy colored diamonds, such as pink, red, green and grayish blue. All Argyle diamonds, whether brown, yellow or fancy colored are Type Ia, containing varying amounts of nitrogen, from 10 ppm to 1,000 ppm. The nitrogen content of colorless diamonds are 500 to 1,000 ppm, brown diamonds, 100 to 500 ppm and pink diamonds, 10 to 100 ppm.

The mean size of the Argyle rough is less than 0.10 carats. The largest rough crystal recovered to date weighed only 42.6 carats, and was found in 1991. It has been retained in it's rough state and now forms part of the company's diamond exhibit at the mine. Inclusions are found in the vast majority of Argyle diamonds. Graphite is the most abundant inclusion, and is generally seen as black spots. Therefore, even though the Argyle diamond production accounts for almost a third of the world's annual output, in terms of size the diamonds are very small.

Processing of small diamonds is very labor intensive and requires skilled manpower. Around the time the Argyle mines started production, India was emerging as an important cutting center for diamonds, and manufacturers were eager to get more rough diamonds to feed their booming industry.

The three companies that controlled the operations of the Argyle mines-Rio Tinto Ltd., Ashton Mining Ltd., and Western Australian Diamond Trust, established a relationship with the Indian diamond cutting industry, to process the small diamonds produced by Argyle. The affordable labor available in India, would make the mine's production economic. The partnership was advantageous to both sides. Between 1983 and 2000, processing of diamonds in India grew 201 % in volume and 152 % in value.

The Argyle mines together with their Indian partners, embarked on a strategy to popularize their brown and yellow diamonds. They produced jewelry set with brown diamonds, and marketed them under the name of cognac and champagne diamonds, and these jewelry became very popular. Thus they were able to popularize their products among the consumers, and the economic viability of the company was ensured. The company expanded it's production and introduced new techniques to the industry, including a state-of-the-art X-ray diamond sorting technique, that could sort approximately 200 diamonds per second at peak sorting rates.

The Company adopted a different strategy to market the 1 % of it's high quality colored stone production, which was mainly pink in color. The Argyle mines became a consistent source of pink diamonds in the world, even though the stones were quite small. Pink diamond production from other mines around the world was not consistent. The more exceptional pink and other colored diamonds from each years production at the mine were sold individually in special auctions known as "tenders". Viewings were held in New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and Geneva. These events were held for invited clients. Each event was preceded by the distribution of a tender catalogue. The size of these polished pink diamonds average about one carat. Around 40 to 50 carats are sold at these auctions each year, with prices of over $ 100,000 achieved per carat. Since 1985, more than 700 stones have been offered for sale, at the tender, at a total weight of almost 550 carats.

Most Argyle diamonds exhibit evidence of having been plastically deformed, following formation in the Earth's mantle or during their ascent to the surface. This is apparent in their highly strained character when observed with cross polarizing filters. The plastic deformation is thought to cause both the brown and pink coloration, although the exact origins of these colors are still uncertain.


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