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Investment is a Real Gem

Published: 11/10/2017

Investment is a Real Gem 

Diamonds might be a girl's best friend, but according to jewellery valuers coloured gems, namely sapphire, emerald and ruby make pretty loyal companions too. It is apparently these stones that have seen the biggest growth in the jewellery trade, with a 500% increase in prices over the last ten years, and they are still going up.

Whilst the most famous sapphires in the world are from Kashmir, much of the material that exists from there was found over a 100 years ago and it's not just these stones that are on the rise. In 2004, a 30-carat Sri Lankan sapphire sold at Bonhams London for £11,950. A decade later, a similar Sri Lankan stone, also weighing 30 carats, sold for a staggering £326,500. An increase of 2,800%.

Rubies have performed even better, with prices still increasing every year at a high level, making it the number one gemstone to invest in. The rubies fetching such sky high numbers are those hailing from the reputed deposit of Mogok in Burma and exhibiting the vivid but saturated colour referred to as “pigeon’s blood” red. Large specimens from the Mogok mines with this hue are exceedingly rare, as auction prices indicate. Last year a very impressive ruby, 10.08 carats of Burma origin and pigeon blood colour, sold for £8 Million!

Emerald is the blueish green to green variety of beryl, a mineral species that includes aquamarine. Colour is the most important factor for emeralds, with vivid colour saturation and a tone that isn't too dark. The most highly prized emeralds are very transparent, with an even colour distribution. Most emeralds are treated with oil/polymers to reduce the surface of inclusions and surface reaching breaks.

Christie's Auction House recently reported that an 18.04-carat emerald once owned by the esteemed Rockefeller family sold at auction for $5.5 million (£4.3 million) in New York in June this year; at $305,000 per carat, it broke the world record price-per-carat for an emerald sold at auction.

Important considerations

There are five important factors that make a gem worth investing in:

  1. colour – considering tone and saturation
  2. clarity – whether free from inclusions, moderate and heavy inclusions
  3. origin – where the stone was mined
  4. carat – size
  5. treatments – coloured gemstones undergo treatments to improve colour, transparency, strength and stability. Sapphire, ruby and emerald may classically undergo treatments such as irradiation, heat, diffusion and dyeing to enhance the colour; heat and fracture filling for transparency; impregnation with organic filler in the form of oil to improve stability. 

One other very significant factor is branded/signed jewellery made by top designers continues to be very sought after, including such names as Cartier, Bulgari, Boucheron, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet etc.

Flint works with Jewellery Discovery, the fine and antique marketplace who provide a service to find and source jewellery for clients. As well as sourcing jewellery for collectors and investors, they also offer a professional valuation service for those with existing collections. 

For more information on insuring or assessing your jewellery call Mike Nightingale and his team on 0208 309 3434.


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