Worth over US$100 billion, the gemstone industry offers abundant opportunities for affluent investors. Diamonds are an attractive investment option as they don’t take up a lot of space, are portable, durable and inflation proof. According to Quek Chin Yeow, Sotheby’s deputy chairman for Asia, and chairman of International Jewellery, Asia, “the global demand for diamonds shows no signs of abating”. Diamond prices have been “steadily growing for decades” and the gems are “recognised for their relatively high rate of liquidity”.
Quek also attests to seeing “healthy returns for white and coloured diamonds”. The Pink Star, a 59.6 carat pink diamond, sold for a record US$71.2 million at Sotheby’s Hong Kong last year. In 2016, a rare and internally flawless 10.10 carat blue diamond (De Beers Millennium Jewel 4) sold for HK$248.28 million (S$41.6 million) at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. The Blue Moon of Josephine, a 12.03 carat cushion-shaped fancy vivid blue diamond, was sold to an Asian collector at Sotheby’s Geneva for US$48.47 million in 2015.
While attractive, investing in coloured diamonds requires a much higher level of entry. “The per carat record prices of both blue and pink diamonds, for example, have gone up exponentially in the past five years, with the blue standing at over US$4 million per carat, and the pink at over US$2 million per carat, both achieved at Sotheby’s,” shares Quek.