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larry west

A diamond as rare as you.

For centuries, natural color diamonds have been regarded as the world’s most sought-after gems, from collectors to royalty. Diamonds so rare that they are only discovered in a few locations on earth, they are likened to works of art, hidden treasures and rare books.

One of the exciting factors involved in natural color diamonds is the origin of how they get their unique colors, where they are found and why they are so unique.

Rare Multi-Color Diamonds part of the L.J. West Diamonds collection.

Rare Multi-Color Diamonds part of the L.J. West Diamonds collection.

  • Tiny amounts of nitrogen created yellow and orange shades.
  • The element boron created blues.
  • Hydrogen causes the color violet to appear.
  • Tremendous pressure occasionally would realign or spiral the diamond’s crystal structure, creating red, pink, purple and brown diamonds.
  • Millions of years of natural radiation produced green diamonds.

Color diamonds have been around since the beginning of diamonds discovered approximately 3000 years ago in India; it is only the last decade where the desire and appeal for them have entered the consumer market. The growing awareness of rarity and value have created increased demand for natures most special diamonds At auction natural color diamonds are exceeding record prices with the 14.62 carats Oppenheimer blue diamond selling for an impressive $57,541,779 USD at Christie's in May of 2016. This blue diamond was the largest vivid blue diamond ever to sell at auction and holds the current record for highest price paid for any jewel at auction.

In 2014, the 12.03 fancy vivid blue “Blue Moon of Josephine” diamond sold for $48.4 million and still holds the current price per carat record for any public sale at auction at $4 million per carat. In 2015, a collector paid US$28,523,925.00 for a 16.08 Fancy Vivid Pink Diamond, setting a new world record for the highest price paid and highest price paid per carat at $1.773,875.00 for a Fancy Vivid Pink diamond.

These values highlight the exceptionally rare stones but are proven examples of the desirability for them.

The 14.62 carats Oppenheimer Blue Diamond (right) $57,541,779 USD at Christie's in May of 2016, Scott West Patriot Earrings (bottom) featuring rare Argyle Pink and Blue diamonds.

The 14.62 carats Oppenheimer Blue Diamond (right) $57,541,779 USD at Christie's in May of 2016, Scott West Patriot Earrings (bottom) featuring rare Argyle Pink and Blue diamonds.

Any buyer or collector has a spectrum of color to select from in natural colored diamonds, and there is no right or wrong in choosing what diamond can appeal to your taste. Prices for natural color diamonds can start from $100 up to $1 million per carat plus, the characteristics in determining a stones value can vary with the exceptionally rare stones being valued by rarity, size and color. However, the main reason to own any is all the same – beauty, is the ultimate reason to own a natural color diamond!

A natural color diamond is as rare as you, no color is the same and no diamond is alike. The diamonds can be compared to the endless variety of flowers on our earth, a colorful rainbow in the sky and the unique personalities found all around the world.

Consider finding a color diamond that is as distinctive and alluring as you are. You will not be disappointed in your quest to do this.

Why 2016 was the year of the colored diamond

By Nick Glass, CNN

Updated 5:27 AM ET, Tue December 20, 2016

(CNN) Relatively small, but slowly and perfectly formed over billions of years, the Argyle Violet diamond is so rare in color that it has its own unique diamond classification: "Fancy Deep Grayish Blueish Violet."

It was "a once in a lifetime discovery. I fell in love with it. We had to have it," says Scott West of L.J. West Diamonds Inc. of New York.

Like his father, Larry, and his grandfather Max before him, West is a diamond hunter, searching for the rarest and most unusually colored stones.

His most recent acquisition, the 2.83-carat oval Argyle Violet is being displayed as part of "Diamonds: Rare Brilliance" at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

An exclusive offer

Scott West spends three months every year traveling the world looking for special stones.

The Argyle Violet came from the remote Argyle Mine in North West Australia. Every year for the last 30 years, the mine's owner, Rio Tinto, has invited a select group of buyers to tender for newly discovered stones by sealed bid. It's said to be the most exclusive diamond sale in the world.

This year, there were 63 diamonds on offer, all pink, red or violet.

West says he and his father, Larry, first saw the Argyle Violet in a secure room in Hong Kong in September, and made "multi visits in differing light" before placing their bid in November.

He declined to comment on a Financial Times report that L.J.West's winning bid was more than $10 million for the Argyle Violet and 15 other colored stones, although he did agree that it was "tough" having to make a sealed bid.

The allure of the sparkle

L.J. West claims to have the largest inventory of large colored diamonds in the world with some 2000 stones of all colors, many of them pink.

But, naturally, West remains discreet about money and collectors. Though the company did admit that Halle Berry wore one of their diamond rings (the Pumpkin Diamond, Fancy Vivid Orange, 5.54 carats) when she won her Oscar in 2002.

"The Middle East is a strong market. China continues to grow. The United States is still the strongest market of all," he says.

Article courtesy of CNN

Coloured diamonds outshine whites as top mine’s sparkle fades

Jamie Smyth in Sydney of Financial Times

Pink and violet stones surge in value amid uncertainty over site where 90% are found

Over a quarter of a century Larry West has scoured the globe looking for some of the world’s rarest coloured diamonds. This week he secured a big prize, the Argyle Violet, which he bought along with 15 other coloured stones for more than $10m. 

“At 2.83 carats, this is the largest and most valuable violet diamond ever recovered from the Argyle mine,” says Mr West, founder of New York’s LJ West Diamonds. “You could fill a garbage truck with the rough diamonds produced from the mine every year, an ashtray with pink diamonds but only a half teaspoon of violets,” he says. 

Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine, which is based in the remote north-west of Australia, produces about 90 per cent of the top-quality red, pink and violet diamonds dug up worldwide. The stones are extraordinarily rare, accounting for 0.1 per cent of the mine’s annual output with the remainder made up of more affordable champagne and cognac stones used in the fashion jewellery sector in the US, China and India. 

The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia

The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia

Uncertainty over the Argyle mine’s future, as well as growing appreciation for rare pink diamonds among the super-rich, is prompting a surge in the value of these coloured stones even as the price of traditional white diamonds falls on world markets. 

A 9.14 carat pink pear-shaped diamond is expected to realise $16m-$18m when it is auctioned at Christies in Geneva next week.

“Pink diamond prices have tripled over the past 15 years and on average would be at least 25 to 30 times the value of white diamonds,” says David Fardon, chief executive of Linneys, one of 35 ateliers mandated to buy coloured diamonds from Argyle. 

By comparison, global sales of diamond jewellery fell in 2015 for the first time in six years, declining 2 per cent to $79bn. Sales of rough diamonds fell 30 per cent.

Mr Fardon says the scarcity of coloured pink, red and violet diamonds mined at Argyle has enabled them to buck the downward trend in diamond prices. He says they have become a collectable item, with some of his clients buying the stones to include as part of their retirement savings fund. 

Prices are rising 15 per cent a year because of increasing awareness of rare coloured diamonds, growing demand from China and India and the fact production at the Argyle mine is only guaranteed until 2020, says Mr Fardon.

In 2013 Rio said it was extending Argyle’s life until 2020 by building an underground extension to the existing open-cut mine. But it is uncertain whether Rio will sanction any new investment to extend the Argyle mine’s life beyond that date, in part because the valuable pink diamonds make up a small fraction of the mine’s total output.

“The odds are the mine will close a year or two after that, which means these stones will become more and more valuable,” says Mr West, one of the world’s most prodigious buyers’ of Argyle pinks. 

Mr West says he plans to show the Argyle Violet in an exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles to raise awareness of coloured diamonds.

“It’s important to let the public see them and get the word out. That can only add value to the market,” he says.

The Company that Bought the Violet Diamond

By Michelle Graff - National Jeweler

So is violet the rarest hue of diamond there is? “There’s no question about it,” said Larry West of L.J. West Diamonds, the company that placed the winning bid on this 2.83-carat violet diamond from the 2016 Argyle tender.

New York--It’s the biggest violet diamond ever found at Australia’s Argyle Mine, and it now belongs to a New York company that’s been in the colored diamond business for nearly 40 years.

L.J. West Diamonds Inc. placed the winning bid on the 2.83-carat “Argyle Violet,” the centerpiece of this year’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, Rio Tinto’s annual sale of the top diamonds to come out of its Argyle mine.

Company President Larry West said the Violet, a diamond that generated a lot of interest and excitement, was a stone he “really wanted to possess.”

“There’s such a huge disparity between this size and the next biggest violet stone that’s ever come out of the (Argyle) mine,” he said, referencing the 1.41-carat Ocean Seer from the 2008 tender. “It’s such a rarity that I felt it was worth bidding on.”

West is not saying how much he paid for the stone, which is being set in a ring and surrounded by smaller Argyle pinks, though he did reveal that it will be available to purchase next year.

But he won’t be taking the violet diamond to Christie’s or Sotheby’s to sell it.

Rather, L.J. West Diamonds will offer the Argyle Violet through its network of retail partners after it is featured in the “Diamonds: Rare Brilliance” exhibition slated to run from December to March 2017 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

“I am glad to have it shown,” West said of the violet’s inclusion in the exhibition. “It’s so rare. Nobody’s ever seen stones like this, and I think it’s important for them to be out there in the public domain. It makes it more real for people; it’s not just a story.”

This year, a total of 63 pink, red and violet diamonds--collectively dubbed “The Chroma Collection”-- comprised the Argyle tender, which was 100 percent sold by lot.

Collectively, the stones represented the highest quality, size and color composition in the tender’s 32-year history and, consequently, achieved the highest average price per carat ever.

Beyond L.J. West Diamonds, Rio Tinto did not reveal the names of any companies that purchased a diamond from the tender, nor did it share prices.

Read the full article here

Blue Belles

Joyce Kauf of Rapaport Magazine

Blue diamonds have been stealing the spotlight as prices skyrocket.

Blue Diamonds have become celebrities on the auction scene with all the attendant fame. The fan fare continues this month with an 8.01-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring by Cartier, named The Sky Blue Diamond, set to be auctioned at Sotheby’s Geneva. But what accounts for the soaring interest and stratospheric prices that these diamonds command in today’s market? From gemologists to diamond brokers to the heads of jewelry sales at the two major auction houses and an industry expert, the answer can be summed up in two words: extremely rare.

A rare Natural Intense Blue Diamond set in a white diamond necklace by Scott West by L.J. West Diamonds

A rare Natural Intense Blue Diamond set in a white diamond necklace by Scott West by L.J. West Diamonds

“more and more people are discovering the beauty of a blue diamond,”
— Larry West

“There is so much more buzz now. There is more awareness of how rare these diamonds are,”explains Larry West,president of L.J.West Diamonds, a color diamond specialist based in New York City. “Previously, information about these exotic stones was only available to the most involved collectors.But now there are more discussions within the high-end jewelry trade.”And while collectors might consider a blue diamond the ultimate investment, “more and more people are discovering the beauty of a blue diamond,” says West, who admits to being“passionate”about these diamonds.

“Perhaps one in 10,000 exhibits any color. A diamond with any evidence of blue color—even if the color is very faint—is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of what would be mined in one year.” Historically, some blue diamonds were discovered in the Golconda region in India; the Hope Diamond has been traced to that area.However, the only source to produce a very small but consistent supply of blue diamonds is the Cullinan Mine in South Africa,owned by Petra Diamonds.