Last week in Geneva history was set in dramatic fashion as the “Oppenheimer Blue” diamond shattered a world auction record set just six months earlier, selling for $57.5 million. The 14.62-carat gem sold for more than $3.9 million per carat (another world record), leaving a legacy that will surely be around for years to come. Imagine the price it would have achieved if it had an F or IF clarity grade instead of VVS1.
The Oppenheimer Blue diamond
This was followed by a record-set for the “Unique Pink,” a 15.33-carat pear-shaped vivid pink diamond that sold for $31.6 million at Sotheby’s Geneva a day earlier (just over $2 million per carat).
The Unique Pink diamond
The demand for coloured diamonds didn’t end there. At both auctions high prices and records were set for several pieces, including:
* A 7.32-carat IF, fancy blue diamond on ring that sold for $17.1 million
* A fancy intense diamond on a brooch that sold for $13.6 million, setting an auction record for a jewel designed by the Parisian jewellery house, Reza.
* The Oriental Sunrise, a pair of 12.20 ct and 11.96 ct fancy vivid orange-yellow oval-cut diamond earrings that sold for $11.5 million ($476,238 per carat).
* An 18.51-carat modified pear brilliant-cut fancy pink diamond pendant that sold for $9.7 million ($528,721 per carat), setting an auction record for a fancy pink diamond.
* A pair of intense blue and pink diamond ear pendants that sold for $9.95 million.
A pear shaped fancy blue and fancy orangy pink diamond earrings that sold for nearly $6 million, double its high estimate, setting a new record for an online purchase during a live auction.
* A 6.03-carat IF, pear-shaped fancy intense blue diamond ring, 6.03 carats that sold for $5.7 million ($955,254 per carat).
It’s no secret that statement fancy coloured diamonds has been in great demand in recent years based not only on their rarity and beauty, but as a source of investment. Its investment potential is likely to continue, according to one industry specialist.
“The sale of the ‘Oppenheimer Blue’ is likely to inspire a whole new generation of collectors,” said Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77Diamonds.com, an online diamond and diamond jewellery retailer. “Most people know that wine, classic cars and art are collectibles, but diamonds are now coming into their own. This is part of a wider awakening among wealthy individuals who see diamonds as an attractive and viable investment asset.”
But will the success of statement coloured diamonds trickle down to the broader market? That’s a little trickier to answer. Several fancy coloured diamond dealers I speak to are optimistic and sales have been increasing. However, what the dealers lack is a cohesive marketing program that takes advantage of the demand for the statement gems.
In addition, there’s no real objective research of the coloured diamond market that can relate the recent top selling gems with the rest of the market. The only research I see is from a few of the coloured diamond companies that a vested interest in the results.
So convincing the average consumer of jewels on the investment potential of fancy coloured diamonds (if it exists) is a difficult task.