BLOG – For collectors seeking a bargain, rare white diamonds present opportunity
By David Brough
GENEVA, May 2017 – As exquisite coloured diamonds hit the headlines garnering world record high prices and become the darlings of high fashion, extremely rare and superb white diamonds could present a bargain opportunity.
Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough holds La Legende before the Christie’s Geneva magnificent jewels auction (May 2017)
A magnificent pair of blue and pink diamond earrings – the Apollo Blue and Artemis Pink – achieved a world record for a pair of earrings sold at auction of U.S.$57.4 million at the Sotheby’s sale in the Mandarin Oriental hotel on May 16.
The two stones were sold as separate lots, but both went for extraordinary prices — to the same anonymous buyer, underlining the current fascination for blue and pink diamonds while keeping the two stones together as a pair of earrings.
“If paying U.S.$57.4 million for a pair of earrings isn’t a sign of confidence in rare coloured diamonds as a viable investment asset, I don’t know what is,” said Tobias Kormind, 77Diamonds.com managing director.
The Sotheby’s sale also achieved a record price per carat for a fancy intense purplish pink diamond of U.S.$1.881 million per carat. The 7.04 carat diamond by Piaget sold for U.S.$13.2 million.
The world record price of U.S.$71 million attained by the 59.60-carat Pink Star diamond at the Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong last month, looks like a bargain for the buyer, Chinese jeweller Chow Tai Fook, particularly if the gemstone remains on its books for the longer term.
The oval Pink Star smashed the record price for any diamond sold at auction following a brief bidding battle on April 4.
The justification for such a price is rarity and beauty.
At both the Sotheby’s and Christie’s auctions in May, a number of rare blue and pink diamond jewels sold at prices well above pre-sale estimates, highlighting the current “high fashion” for rare colour diamonds.
One of the extraordinary moments at the Christie’s auction in its traditional sumptuous setting at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues, was the sale of a ring set with a fancy intense blue cushion-shaped diamond of some 7.97 carats, for 11 million Swiss francs (CHF), far above its pre-sale estimate of 2.5-3 million CHF.
While the coloured diamonds dazzled, white diamonds didn’t capture quite as much attention as the colour stones, and this could now translate into buying opportunities for collectors.
On May 17, the auctioneer at Christie’s brought the hammer down on La Legende, a 92.15-carat heart-shaped white diamond and pearl sautoir necklace, the evening’s top lot, for 13 million Swiss francs (CHF), just below the pre-sale estimate of 14-20 million CHF.
“There is vast interest in rare colour diamonds, but now could be a good buying opportunity for extremely rare white diamonds,” said “Diamonds” author Marijan Dundek.
At the Christie’s sale, La Vie Boheme, a predominantly white pair of diamond chandelier earrings, sold for 1.8 million CHF, just below the pre-sale estimate of 2-3 million CHF.Extraordinary white diamonds still achieve remarkable prices, but they do not outperform in the same way as the magnificent blue and pink gems.
If the market for coloured diamonds starts to look overheated, an astute collector might look for value in magnificent white gemstones instead.