Worth over US$100 billion, the gemstone industry offers abundant opportunities for affluent investors. Diamonds are an attractive investment option as they donâ€™t take up a lot of space, are portable, durable and inflation proof. According to Quek Chin Yeow, Sothebyâ€™s deputy chairman for Asia, and chairman of International Jewellery, Asia, â€œthe global demand for diamonds shows no signs of abatingâ€. Diamond prices have been â€œsteadily growing for decadesâ€ and the gems are â€œrecognised for their relatively high rate of liquidityâ€.
Quek also attests to seeing â€œhealthy returns for white and coloured diamondsâ€. The Pink Star, a 59.6 carat pink diamond, sold for a record US$71.2 million at Sothebyâ€™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 Sothebyâ€™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 Sothebyâ€™s Geneva for US$48.47 million in 2015.
While attractive, investing in coloured diamonds requires a much higher level of entry. â€œThe 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 Sothebyâ€™s,â€ shares Quek.