Our collection highlights the natural beauty of the champagne diamond. Sourced from within the dramatic landscapes of the remote wilderness in Western Australia, the Argyle diamond mine is renowned for producing some of the most spectacular diamonds to have ever been unearthed.
Like the different hues of the land and sky that lie above them, Australian diamonds come in a naturally formed and diverse range of colours from white and silver, to champagne and cognac, and the rarely seen but highly treasured pink, red and blue diamonds.
How Australian diamonds get their unique palette remains somewhat of a mystery. Scientists believe that during formation coloured diamonds were influenced by extra pressure or external trace elements such as oxygen. The romantics amongst us, however, believe their natural hues come from Mother Nature, who crafted the diamonds below to directly reflect the colours and beauty of the land above.
The Argyle champagne diamond has a natural brown hue with a subtle honey tint— like the sparkle of a fine glass of champagne. Their unique colouring occurs due to nitrogen build up between the carbon atoms as the diamond forms. The higher the level of nitrogen, the darker the shade.
We're favouring the medium champagne tinge, graded C4, and we are fortunate to have access to a selection of these for our first collection. Whilst champagne diamonds aren't as rare as their pink cousins, the supply of Australian mined diamonds is soon to end with the producing mine set to close in 2020.
Where do champagne diamonds come from?
Nestled in the remote corner of Western Australian, 3040 kilometres from the capital, Perth, the extraordinary birthplace of Argyle diamonds. It is a land without comparison, with red rocky landscapes, ancient gorges, expansive waterways, and astonishing native flora and fauna.
The discovery of diamonds in the dry creek beds in this vastly remote part of the world did not occur until the 1980s, and to this day remains one of the world’s most important diamond discoveries in history. It would result in the establishment of the Argyle Diamond Mine; change the diamond industry forever; and would bring the most coveted of all diamonds to the world – the rare Argyle pink diamond.
The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia is the world’s largest supplier of coloured diamonds. All Vela Jewellery pieces featuring diamonds are sourced from this one location—a site recognised for its innovative engineering, sustainable practices and partnerships with indigenous communities.
The Argyle Diamond Mine
The Argyle Diamond Mine was first tapped in the late 1970s and officially began using conventional alluvial and open-pit mining techniques in 1983. Until 2013 the mine produced over 800 million carats of diamonds. After extensive research, the block cave method was approved which will extend the mine’s life to 2020. The mine which consists of 40 kms of tunnels, operates 24 hours a day. The main thoroughfares consist of four tunnels, two to carry vehicles, one for ventilation and one for moving ore. There are two large underground crushers and conveyor belts that transport the ore from deep within the mine to the surface.
From Mine to Market
The majority of the diamonds extracted from the Argyle mine are sold as "rough" or uncut diamonds. These are assessed and sorted according to their colour and characteristics at Rio Tinto’s diamond sales and marketing office in Antwerp. Here they are expertly read to best understand their ideal cut and polish before heading to carefully selected jewellery manufactures for placement in finished jewellery pieces. Each step of the way, an individual diamond is tracked so that when you take it home, you know it has passed through a stringent Chain of Custody. All of our Argyle diamonds come with a unique Certificate of Authenticity to guarantee the provenance of the diamond.
Since the inception of the Argyle mine the jeweller’s palette has been enhanced by the rich natural colours and complementary shades of Argyle champagne diamonds and over the years their subtle brilliance has been fully appreciated along with their precious Australian provenance. Their unique appeal and versatility for day and night, together with their unconventional beauty has captivated celebrities, royalty and diamond lovers around the world.
We will be producing a limited run of Argyle champagne diamonds with the closure of the mine. This gemstone harks the beginning of Vela showcasing many rare gems from Australia across future collections.