The jewellery industry has been captivated by colour recently, and consumers too have fallen in love with bright rainbows of gems. While we tend to focus on semi-precious gemstones when delivering colour due to pricing, diamonds too can offer iridescent hues for those with deeper pockets, and with rocketing values they are also proving a savvy investment.
For the first time, coloured diamonds have been added to the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index, which tracks investable luxury assets, and the firm has released new research in its annual publication The Wealth Report 2015 that suggests the prices of coloured diamonds rose 167% between January 2005 and October 2014.
The most dramatic price hike, according to The Wealth Report 2015, has been for blue diamonds, which over the same period have risen 360%. Pink diamonds meanwhile rose in value by 161% and yellow diamonds by 56%, according to the report.
Out in the auction houses of the world, exceptional coloured diamonds have certainly been in rude health, achieving record-breaking prices. At Sotheby’s New York in November, a 9.75ct fancy vivid blue diamond pendant set in platinum smashed its already substantial top pre-sale estimate of US$15 million to achieve a final hammer price of US$32.65 million. The sale set two new world records – the highest price ever paid at auction for a blue diamond, and also the highest price per carat for any diamond at auction.
Mellon Blue Diamond – This 9.75ct fancy vivid blue diamond pendant
sold at Sotheby’s in November for US$32.65 million.
But this wasn’t a sole phenomenon. Earlier on in the year, at Sotheby’s Geneva in May, one of the largest fancy vivid yellow diamonds in the world came under the gavel – the 100.09ct cushion-cut Graff Vivid Yellow – selling for US$16.3 million, making it the most expensive yellow diamond ever sold at auction.
Graff Vivid Yellow – The Graff Vivid Yellow broke the world auction record
for a yellow diamond when it sold in May for US$16.3 million.
Coloured diamonds have also been popping up on the red carpet. At The Oscars this year French actress Marion Cotillard wore a ring set with a 6.23ct yellow diamond from Chopard’s High Jewellery collection while The Theory of Everything star Felicity Jones wore a pair of Dans les Etoiles earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels set with yellow diamonds.
Dans les Etoiles earrings by Van Cleef & Arpels set with yellow diamonds.
For those of us who don’t have millions at the ready to drop on an exceptional coloured diamond, there is a new option – lab-grown diamonds. Last month a new company called Anata entered this market, offering gems grown in a lab under conditions designed to mimic the natural forces that create diamonds underground, just at a much faster rate. And for a personal twist you can supply them with a piece of personal carbon, such as a lock of hair or the ashes of a loved one, which will be used to grow the diamond. These stones also have the benefit of being conflict free, fully traceable and eco-friendly.
Anata – A yellow-orange lab-grown diamond created by Anata.
While the investment potential of these man-made diamonds is yet to be determined, Earth-mined coloured diamonds, as Anata would refer to them, have a solid investment track record and when you couple that with strong demand and a Hollywood stamp of approval, now is a sparkling time for these bright and bold gems.