February 24th, 2020
One of Russia’s top diamond producers, Alrosa, is poised to take the lead in the global colored-diamond market as soon as Australia’s Argyle mine – currently the largest supplier of the precious rare stones – closes.
The Argyle diamond mine, widely regarded as the world’s number one source of treasurable pink gems, as well as other colored diamonds, is expected to close in late 2020 after more than 30 years of operation, due to the depletion of economically viable stones. The closure is expected to have an impact on the whole global diamond industry, and may also make Russia the top supplier of the most valuable stones.
“[Following] the closure of the Argyle mine in Australia, we will become the world’s largest producer of colored diamonds and can therefore go after leadership in the colored diamond market,” the director of Alrosa’s cutting and polishing division, Pavel Vinikhin, said in an interview with TASS. He explained that the company owns several assets rich in colored diamonds, such as Severalmaz and Almazy Anabara (Diamonds of Anabar). The latter is known for discovering a 14.83-carat vivid purple-pink diamond gem named ‘Spirit of the Rose’, which could become Russia’s most expensive gem
Another fancy diamond in the company’s collection is the unique 20.69-carat ‘Firebird’ yellow gem, which was acquired by the world-renowned high-end jewelry brand Graff Diamonds last year. Alrosa did not reveal the final price tag for the rare precious stone, but it did note that it fetched one of the highest prices per carat for such a stone in recent years. Earlier this week, Alrosa announced that it unearthed another yellow gem at its new Verkhne-Munskoye mine in Yakutia.
The bright yellow diamond, weighing 17.44 carats, was found in mid-February and will undergo further evaluation. Colored rough stones of a high enough quality to be turned into fancy color diamonds are becoming more and more rare, as known deposits mature and deplete. Thus the price for the gems – sometimes ten times higher than the cost of colorless ones – will only increase, Vinikhin says, making them more attractive to investors. For example, the price for five-carat colorless round diamonds more than doubled between 2005 and 2018, while yellow gem increases ranged between 28 percent and 87 percent, depending on the color intensity.