Diamond DNA – can a pink diamond investment be tested for authenticity?

Diamond DNA – can a pink diamond investment be tested for authenticity?
PUBLISHED 23/08/2022

Pink Diamonds have long been recognised for their investment value. Over the past two decades, pink diamond investment has gained growing popularity as the sparkling beauties have outperformed all other ‘tangibles’ many times over. Better yet, they've staunchly retained their value during times of market turbulence.

Of course, any pink diamond investment is only as good as the authenticity of the diamond itself. Since 2004, Argyle diamonds beyond specific carat weights have been laser etched with a unique identity code that makes tracing their authenticity easy for expert gemmologists. That’s great peace of mind for investors looking to add these specific stones to their portfolios.

But what about the rest?

For those seeking to make a pink diamond investment based on a stone or stones that carry no markings, the path to assured authenticity can be less clear. Granted, any expert gemmologist should be able to discern the quality of the pink diamond in question. That’s part of the equation taken care of. However, there’s still the question of provenance. Pink diamonds that can be traced back to the Argyle mine garner value above all others. But when considering a stone that carries no identification markings, can there possibly be any way to tell whether it was really born of the Argyle mine? The answer today is unequivocally ‘yes’ thanks to advances in science. And it all comes down to the DNA of the pink diamond at hand.


Pink diamond DNA – tracing ancient underground origins

It can be truthfully said that pink diamonds are ‘born of fire’. Many people understand that pink diamonds are formed under immense heat and pressure. This often means…volcanic activity. Billions of years ago, deep underground, pink diamonds were formed in the crust of the earth. The diamonds then made their way closer to the surface courtesy of volcanic eruptions. Of course, unlike diamonds, volcanoes aren’t around forever, and when they become inactive and eventually cool, the result is a ‘pipe’ of rock known as Kimberlite, which contains diamonds.

The regions where the volcanic activity took place impart a unique chemical ‘fingerprint’ on any diamonds formed. This fingerprint, which can be considered the inorganic equivalent of DNA, is quite specific, and can be traced right down to the individual Kimberlite pipe in which a pink diamond was formed. Helping reveal this unique chemical signature is an innovative, Australian-designed technology that has also been put to work identifying the origins of other materials, including gold and priceless artworks.

This amazing forensic technique, first discovered by analytical chemists working in Australia, could potentially be meaningful in the context of a pink diamond investment. In cases where the instinct of an expert gemmologist leads them to believe that an uncertified pink diamond might indeed have originated from the Argyle mine, this technique can provide concrete proof – something that has the potential to make an immense difference in the value of a pink diamond.


Ghosts, strays and fascinating backstories

So with Argyle having laser etched diamonds since 2004, you might well wonder if all this laser-powered detective work is really worth it. After all, how many pink diamonds on the market are really of unknown provenance? As it happens, for various reasons, there are many thousands.

While Argyle eventually set about laser etching selected pink diamonds, diamonds produced prior to 2004 carry no such identification. Furthermore, even following the advent of laser etching, pink diamonds smaller than a certain size were not etched. Smaller they may be, but these pink diamonds still fall squarely into the ‘investment’ value range today, nonetheless. Meanwhile, the nature of the global pink diamond market itself, along with human nature, means there will always be pink diamonds in circulation whose background is a mystery. On the dark side there’s the ‘phantom currency’ problem. Whenever an item is small, portable and extremely undesirable, the criminal element inevitably creeps in and theft leads to gems being used as illicit currency. For instance, there have been cases where pink diamonds from Argyle have appeared overseas, with no traceable links back to the mine. Of course sometimes far more innocent and random human actions come in to play. For instance, as estates are moved on, family heirlooms are sold off, various parties lose track of the meaning and value of precious items. Breathtakingly precious pink diamonds have even shown up in pawn shops, the fortunate buyers no doubt floored by the value of their chance finds when, on a whim, they take them to be professionally valued.


Pink diamond investment and the value of certainty

While the origin tales and detective work exude a certain charm, Eric Kariuki, Director of Pink Diamond Capital, is quick to point out that its relevance to pink diamond investments is very limited. “Investing at this level is all about certainty, so there’s no substitute for starting with a known quantity. The best pink diamond investments aren’t built on a freshly discovered backstory. A good place to start is with a pink diamond that has laser etched identification and a certificate of authenticity. These are the stones of unquestionable provenance that will grow in value year after year and shrug off market fluctuations.”

So, no room for mystery and intrigue then, Eric?

“Perhaps just a little. I think that the glamour of pink diamonds and the story behind their creation are what draws some people to them in the first place – they are not an ordinary investment, by any means. But investors can have the best of both worlds, with stellar market performance, as well as the dinner party revelation that their investment portfolio includes pink diamonds. That’s definitely a conversation starter!”

Perhaps pink diamonds could be part of your investment story, too. Should you wish to discuss pink diamond investment, simply request a private consultation with Eric Kariuki today.