Under the Microscope
Updated: Aug 20
An Intimate Look into an Ultra Rare Red Color-Changing Diamond.
When I first began my career in the diamond industry, my mentor told me about red diamonds, and how the Smithsonian obtained one from Harry Winston's widow and shrugged:
"You'll probably never see a red diamond in your life. Most diamond experts never do. They're beyond rare."
At that moment, I wanted in. I wanted to be one of the people who got to see red diamonds, handle them, study them, and be in their world. The more I learned about what makes a red diamond (and pink diamonds too for that matter), the more I fell in love. I connected spiritually with the idea that they had gone through more stress and pressure than white diamonds -- too much, enough to break them -- and yet still, they survived. Red and pink diamonds became for me a symbol of the unbreakable spirit and the beauty in surviving the unsurvivable.
The Color Changing Red
When Fred Cuellar, author of "How to Buy a Diamond" and CEO of Diamond Cutters International, asked me to study the Red Argyle stone now known as the Argyle Millennia Red™, he didn't have to ask twice. To intimately study a high quality red diamond under a loupe, with no time limit, is an opportunity afforded to a small number of the world's diamond experts, but to study one as long as I'd like under a microscope and to take pictures? He didn't have time to finish the question before I had said an enthusiastic yes.
I placed this magnificent red diamond, full of so much personality and richly saturated beauty, under as many different kinds of light as I could. It's ability to change color is unparalleled in the world of red diamonds. It is at once pure red, indeed GIA gave it a Pure Red grade, and also a rich wine red, which Argyle graded a Purplish Red. For me, it was a color dancer. It held onto its red even while flirting with other high-impact colors.
As I spent more and more hours just gazing at it, I realized its true beauty for me, like most things, lies in its heart: a gentle inclusion made of another gemstone - peridot - that lies in the heart of the stone.
As a Diamond Consultant, I was honored to spend time capturing the light through the eyes of the Argyle Millennia Red™. My mentor's words ring true, particularly now that the Argyle Mine in Australia has closed. Little did I know at the time, but I had spent hours grading the last VS clarity Red Diamond that will ever emerge from that famous mine. I am honored to share my photographs from under the microscope with you, too.
Something this beautiful and this rare should be seen by all who fall in love with them, not just a handful of diamond experts in vaults. I'm grateful to the owner of the Argyle Millenia Collection™ for allowing me to share these photos here.
Dr. Elle Lawson is a GIA Graduate Diamonds and serves as the Chief Communications Officer of Diamond Cutters International . She is a international Diamond Consultant and Argyle Investment Advisor.