Should I buy an Argyle Diamond Without an Original Argyle Certificate?

Should I buy an Argyle Diamond Without an Original Argyle Certificate?

When purchasing Argyle diamonds, you will come across a few different paperwork scenarios. This can be confusing and cause anxiety: you’re likely making a significant financial investment and don’t want to have any regrets. You may ask yourself “Should I buy an Argyle diamond without an original Argyle certificate?”

An Original Argyle Certificate

I like to think of a diamond with an Argyle certificate and a laser inscription as having “new with tags” status. These diamonds do come with a higher price or “premium tax” because you’re paying for the irreplaceable Argyle certificate and the laser inscription. These are great things to have as they make it simple to verify the authenticity of your diamond and add to ease and profitability should you ever decide to resell your diamond.

Click here to learn about how to verify an Argyle certificate.

Without an Original Argyle Certificate

However, there are many Argyle diamonds in the marketplace that don’t have certificates and only have Argyle Lot numbers, and some that don’t even have Argyle Lot numbers.

Overall, in my opinion it’s important to at least have an Argyle Lot number and/or paperwork that explicitly states that your diamond is of Argyle origin. With that said, it is possible for an independent gem laboratory to verify if a diamond is of Argyle origin by the characteristics that are only unique to Argyle diamonds. However, this service will attract a fee.

The General Hierarchy of Desirability

The following list identifies the general hierarchy of desirability:

GOOD ARGYLE DIAMOND CERTIFICATION

  • With certificate from independent gem laboratory stating Argyle Origin only.

BETTER ARGYLE DIAMOND CERTIFICATION

  • Without Argyle Certificate (missing or lost certificate) but has an Argyle Laser Inscription and a new certificate from an independent gem laboratory stating Argyle Origin.
  • With certificate from independent gem laboratory stating Argyle Origin and stating Argyle Lot Number.

BEST ARGYLE DIAMOND CERTIFICATION

  • With Argyle Certificate and Argyle Laser Inscription.
  • With Argyle Certificate and No Argyle Laser Inscription (very early Argyle diamonds do not have laser inscriptions) and certificate from independent gem laboratory stating Argyle Origin.

In general, as long as it is a diamond of Argyle origin, it will command a higher price than other non-Argyle pink diamonds and will be of interest to Argyle collectors and investors.

An Industry Opinion on Argyle Certificates

The following is a quote from Lawrence “Larry” West on this subject, a prominent Argyle diamond dealer and president LJ West Diamonds:

“The general consensus is that an Argyle diamond must have an Argyle Certificate to prove its provenance, but this is a misconception… only a small fraction of Argyle’s entire production of Pink and Violet diamonds actually carries Argyle certificates”

LJ West Diamonds has a long, shared history with Argyle Pink Diamonds (Rio Tinto) having been an Argyle Authorised Partner since the late 1980s. LJ West Diamonds possesses a large collection of notable Argyle diamonds, including one of the most exceptionally significant stones: the “Argyle Violet.”

Click here to read about the history of LJ West

The Argyle Violet, a 2.83-carat from the 2016 Argyle Tender. The largest and most valuable violet diamond unearthed from the Argyle mine. The Argyle Violet is currently held within a platinum ring, set within a halo of Argyle pink diamonds. (Photo: LJ West)

Certificates Issued by the Retailer

There are certificates that are issued by the retailer. These certificates are usually created 'in-house' and branded by the retailer. This is usually done when the diamond has no official paperwork, it may only have an invoice stating its Argyle origin (which you cannot pass on to the consumer) and the retailer wishes to enhance the purchasing experience by providing some sort of documentation stating that it is of Argyle origin. These certificates usually come with a disclaimer saying that these are not valuations or gem reports. Sydney based Argyle pink diamond retailers Pink Kimberley Diamonds have created their own certificate based on the design of the official Argyle certificates.

A combination of certificates from retailer Pink Kimberley Diamonds. This diamond does not have an official Argyle certificate. It is accompanied with a GSL, GIA and Pink Kimberley certificate. (Photo: Pink Kimberley Diamonds.)
An image of the Pink Kimberley certificate. Note that it is shares similar design elements and the same size of the Argyle pink diamond certificate. This particular diamond was not graded by Argyle and you can see the disclaimer on the (4PP*) that the 4PP grade was determined by Pink Kimberley. (Photo: Pink Kimberley Diamonds.)

List of Certificates Not Issued By Argyle: The Independent Gem Laboratories

There are a few certificates that Argyle diamonds come with that are not issued by Argyle. These are independent gem laboratories and they are able to verify the diamond is of Argyle origin. These certificates are generally accepted as being sufficient within the jewellery industry, both with retailers, auction houses and collectors. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) issues highly regarded gem certificates but they do not state the origin of the diamond. A GIA certificate should be accompany another certificate which states the Argyle origin.

  • International Gemological Institute (IGI) "On Behalf of Collector's Edition". IGI is headquartered in Antwerp, Belgium with numerous offices around the world. Visit IGI
  • Gem Studies Laboratory (GSL) Located in Sydney, Australia. Visit GSL
  • Independent Gemmological Laboratory (IGL) Located in Sydney, Australia. Visit IGL
  • DELTA Diamond Laboratory Located in Perth, Australia. Visit DELTA

A GIA certificate of an Argyle Pink Diamond. Note that it does not state the origin of the diamond. You can only identify that this certificate is for an Argyle diamond because of the section "Inscription(s)" with the Argyle "A" logo and the Argyle lot number.

A IGI certificate "On Behalf of Collector's Edition". This certificate is a marketing collaboration between Glajz (Singapore) who is an authorised Argyle partner and IGI. (Photo: Musson Jewellers)

A GSL certificate which includes a photograph of the Argyle diamond and states the diamond is of East Kimberley, Western Australia origin in the "Comments" section.

A IGL certificate which includes a photograph of the Argyle diamond and states the Argyle origin in the "Comments" section.

A DELTA certificate which includes a photograph of the Argyle diamond and states the Argyle origin in the "Conclusion" section.

 

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