Investing in gems: a good idea?

Oct 2, 2019

Dear English readers, this story was originally published under the title ” investing in gemstones : a good idea ? ” on the Jewelry Connoisseur blog. This translation is mine. You can read the original article through this link. Enjoy !


It’s a question that many people ask: can you invest in gems and make a profit with them?

The Hope Spinel: originating from Tajikistan, the 50.13 carat gemstone was part of the Henry Philip Hope collection and had not appeared on the market since 1917. Estimated at US$220,000-300,000, it sold for $1.4 million at Bonhams in 2015, fetching $30,000 per carat. World record for a spinel. Image: Bonhams.

The subject of gemstone investing is often in the news, mainly about small savers who have been seduced by dishonest scammers presenting it as an easy way to make money. Moreover, in July 2019, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) in France published its blacklist of diamond investment companies, proof that the subject is taken seriously. So, is it possible to invest in gems and make a profit?

The Orange Diamond: VS1 pear-shaped diamond, 14.82 carats, fancy vivid orange. It sold for $32 million at Christie’s, or $2,398,151 per carat.Image: Christie’s.

Is there such a thing as an investment stone?

The answer is yes, but it is not easy to find and requires reliable advice on quality, certification and provenance. It is essential that all the descriptive elements of the stone are presented to potential buyers on certified documentation. For example, a GIA certificate for a diamond or if it is a coloured gem, a certificate from one of the most reputable gemological laboratories such as SSEF, Gübelin, AGL, Lotus or GGTL.

Diamond industry expertEdahn Golan says: ” For a diamond to be an investment, buyers and sellers must have a clear idea at all times of the value of the diamond. This is so that they can decide to buy or sell. This transaction can only occur in a commercial environment. It is something that cannot take place in a shop

It is important to remember that investing in a stone does not always mean that you will make a large profit on resale. As Emmanuel Piat, a Paris-based gem dealer, explains, ” A beautiful stone can always sell, but with sometimes little profit and in times of crisis, an exceptional stone will always find a buyer, even if it may be necessary to concede a loss.

Ronny Totah, co-founder of GemGenève and a dealer specialising in natural pearls and Kashmir sapphires, adds that “gems should be bought for their beauty and above all for the pleasure they give. It is true that some stones have increased in value over the years, but what has happened may not happen again So it’s best to be cautious.

The Graff Ruby: an exceptional ring set with diamonds and a perfect 8.62-carat Burmese ruby. Image: Sotheby’s.

Diamond or coloured stone?

Either type of stone of the highest quality can be an investment. Edahn Golan added: ” For a diamond over five carats, D colour, IF and perfect polish or colour such as pink, red, orange, green or blue with perfect and uniform colour, these diamonds are prime pieces for investors. The ever-record prices of these gems show that they are an investment, and a good one at that.

The Lotus Lab in Bangkok regularly tracks and publishes the prices achieved at auction by rubies, sapphires and spinels, showing that stones over five carats in perfect colour and cut, with historical provenance have achieved very good prices at auction since the late 1980s. This price guide also shows that most stones have been kept under cover for, in some cases, several decades.

The increasing rarity of some deposits is attracting the attention of collectors. An interesting example is the 8.62-carat Graff Ruby, a stone from Burma. This gem was purchased in 2006 by Graff for $3.6 million, which is equivalent to $424,000 per carat. Set in a ring, it was then sold to Greek financier Dimitri Mavromatis before being bought back by Graff for $8.6 million in 2014.

In conclusion, Ronny Totah adds: ‘ If we want to buy (not invest) in gems, hoping they will retain some value, we should focus on relatively rare stones. The rarer a stone is, the more desirable it will be when eventually resold. ” You have been warned!

This diamond ring is set with a natural, untreated Brazilian alexandrite of 15.58 carats. Estimated at US$570,000-830,000, it sold for over US$920,000 at Christie’s Hong Kong in 2012. Image: Christie’s.

This 1.42-carat, bright red, oval-cut VS2 diamond from the Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia was estimated at US$1.5 million to US$2.5 million and sold for US$2.1 million at Christie’s in New York in 2014. Image: Christie’s.

See you soon!

See you soon!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

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