Jewellers will withstand Dubai crisis – Moussaieff
By Tom Wildhern
LONDON, December 6, 2009 – The Dubai debt crisis is a hiccup for the upper tier of the global fine jewellery trade and will make buyers more cautious, but investment and wedding purchases will be resilient, a senior jeweller said.
Bond Street, London
“For me, the Middle East has always been an extremely trustworthy place in the world,” Alisa Moussaieff said in her boutique in the Hilton hotel on Park Lane, where she has regularly conducted business with ultra-wealthy Middle Eastern clients.
“This trust has not been shaken by this hiccup,” added Moussaieff, who also has a shop in Bond Street, London’s prime jewellery district.
“I call it a hiccup even though in the financial markets it is a very serious hiccup.”
Moussaieff, who has some of the world’s most exquisite gemstones in her stock, including extraordinary red, blue and vivid pink diamonds, said, “People in the Middle East will continue to buy jewellery – it’s in their blood. It’s in their tradition.”
The headlines about Dubai may elicit caution, especially among those most directly affected by the crisis, such as property developers, Moussaieff said.
“It might cause a temporary cautiousness,” she told Jewellery Outlook in an interview.
“People will be more cautious about spending money, especially if they do not have it liquid.
“It would stand to reason that the property developers who are not liquid at the moment, will not buy jewellery. On the other hand, weddings will take place…and wedding jewellery will be bought.”
Moussaieff said that investment demand for fine jewellery and gemstones would be impervious to the concerns over debt-laden Dubai, because investors would take refuge in the rarity of the world’s most magnificent jewels.
This was highlighted by Christie’s sale on December 1 of a 5-carat pink diamond in Hong Kong for $10.8 million, the highest price ever paid per carat at auction.
The gem’s per-carat price of $2.1 million stands as the new auction record price per carat for a diamond, Christie’s said.
The stone was set in a so-called “cushion-cut” ring by Graff Diamonds.
“The investment buying community will look at diamonds in the same way as they look at gold – as a solid investment,” Moussaieff said.