It’s shaping up to be another year of shattered records and major news developments for the colored diamond industry, with the first half of 2017 marked by several auctions amid increased interest by investors.
Colored diamonds have been a long time favorite of those who follow the market. The popularity has driven a sustained boom since 2009, with overall growth of the gems up by 142 percent, according to The Fancy Color Research Foundation. But it’s the pinks that have really appreciated, with a whopping 315 percent gain.
It is no wonder that the big news of the year was the Sotheby’s April auction in Hong Kong of the renowned Pink Star diamond. The diamond went for an astronomical $71.2 million, a price that speaks to its standing as the largest flawless fancy vivid pink ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. The diamond was acquired by Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook.
The sale speaks to the underlying fundamentals for pink diamonds, according to Paragon International Wealth Management, a Toronto-based firm specializing in acquiring and managing hard investment assets, with a specialty in fancy colored diamonds.
Colored diamonds’ rarity continues to bolster strong demand and price appreciation. That should continue unabated into the foreseeable future, given the scheduled 2021 closing of the Rio Tinto Argyle mine, which has been the largest supplier of colored (mainly pink) diamonds.
In the interim, Rio Tinto made some news of its own this year – more good news on the supply front for diamond investors – with its January report on 2016 production. Its rough diamond production grew 4 percent to 18 million carats; production also advanced 4 percent at its Argyle mine, to 14 million carats.
Investors are also enthralled with other colored diamonds besides the pinks, and Toronto’s Paragon International Wealth Management noted that some other noteworthy sales this year have highlighted just how much.
Take Sotheby’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels sale in May, where a pair of mismatched fancy colored diamond earrings commanded a price of $57.4 million – a world record for auctioned earrings. The pieces included a 14.54 carat, pear-shaped blue diamond, which Sotheby’s said was the largest internally flawless fancy vivid blue ever to be offered at auction.
Christies Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale in May also featured pieces in settings that were as stunning as the jewels themselves. The highlight was a fancy vivid blue diamond ring by Moussaieff, its setting highlighted by a surround of pink diamonds. The price? Somewhere between $8 million and $10 million.
While sales like these have grabbed the headlines and public fancy this year, other developments have maintained the interest in today’s fancy colored diamond market.
The Israel Diamond Exchange, for example, wowed the community during its sixth annual International Diamond Week. A highlight? The exchange hosted a replica of the Great Imperial Crown of the Russian Empire. With a weight of 1,180 carats, it has a value of about $20 million, and was created by Kristall Smolensk, a Russian diamond manufacturer, in honor of its 250th anniversary.
And then there is the tale of the diamond find, versus sale. Amazingly enough, in March, a 14-year-old boy walking a riverbank in the aptly named Crater of Diamonds state park in Arkansas spotted a brown stone, coffee colored and frosty, about the size of a pinto bean. He and his dad had park personnel take a look – and it was more than a rock. It was a brown diamond, at 7.44 carats, the seventh largest ever found there. The boy is keeping it as a souvenir, naming it the Superman Diamond.
The park has a finders keepers policy, something any fan can appreciate considering that more than 75,000 diamonds have been found there since the first was discovered in 1906.