SMART SPEND

High in de­mand and low in sup­ply, pink di­a­monds make for a great in­vest­ment, writes

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In­vest­ing in pre­cious pink di­a­monds

Es­ti­mated to com­mand more than 10 times the price of their colour­less coun­ter­parts, pink di­a­monds are pretty, pre­cious and highly priced, and this all comes down to one over­ar­ch­ing fea­ture: scarcity.

“Even within the rar­efied cat­e­gory of coloured di­a­monds, pink di­a­monds are ex­traor­di­nar­ily rare,” says David Ben­nett, world­wide chair­man of Sotheby’s in­ter­na­tional jew­ellery divi­sion. “To give you an idea, of all the di­a­monds sub­mit­ted for test­ing at the Ge­mo­log­i­cal In­sti­tute of Amer­ica each year, fewer than 0.02 per cent are pre­dom­i­nantly pink. As such, the finest ex­am­ples have achieved some of the high­est prices in the jew­ellery cat­e­gory at auc­tion.”

Paul Zimnisky, an in­de­pen­dent di­a­mond an­a­lyst based in New York, adds: “If you are go­ing to in­vest in a di­a­mond, a nice pink is the way to go. The world’s pri­mary source of pink di­a­monds, the Ar­gyle mine in Aus­tralia, will be ceas­ing pro­duc­tion by 2020 as its eco­nomic re­source has been ex­hausted. This will keep sup­ply lim­ited and prices high.” Cases in point: the flaw­less fancy vivid Pink Star, which, at Dh261 mil­lion, be­came the most ex­pen­sive di­a­mond to ever sell at auc­tion in April last year; the Dh169.5m fancy in­tense Graff Pink de­scribed by jew­eller Lau­rence Graff as the most fab­u­lous di­a­mond he has seen in his ca­reer; and the Fancy Light Pink by Harry Win­ston, which sold for Dh47m.

As with all di­a­monds, colour, cut, clar­ity and num­ber of carats greatly in­flu­ence rate and re­sale value. Of these four fac­tors, colour takes top hon­ours when it comes to a pink stone. The trick is in the de­scrip­tion: pink di­a­monds range from light to fancy, in­tense and fi­nally vivid, which is the high­est grade. Ben­nett re­veals: “It is more and more im­por­tant for col­lec­tors to make sure they have cer­tifi­cates for di­a­monds, and in par­tic­u­lar a re­port from the GIA, be­cause ul­ti­mately, the colour grad­ing that the or­gan­i­sa­tion gives is the most im­por­tant.”

Hue is so cru­cial in this niche mar­ket that it’s even rec­om­mended that col­lec­tors sac­ri­fice clar­ity and size for a bet­ter colour qual­ity. One rea­son for this could be the tricky and some­times sub­jec­tive process re­quired to iden­tify pre­cise shades. Stephen Wether­all, CEO

of Aus­tralia’s min­ing com­pany Lu­capa Di­a­mond, ex­plains: “Es­ti­mat­ing the ex­act shade of a coloured di­a­mond is not that straight­for­ward, even for an ex­pert, let alone a nor­mal con­sumer. Not every­one sees the same in­ten­sity of colour, and pink di­a­monds reg­u­larly have a sec­ond colour. For in­stance, you could have a browny pink or an or­angey pink. Gen­er­ally, two-colour pinks are sold for less than sin­gle-colour pinks. Clar­ity, which in a white di­a­mond is very im­por­tant, tends to be less so in a fancy coloured di­a­mond with a very strong colour. There is also a large price dif­fer­ence be­tween a fancy vivid and a fancy in­tense pink di­a­mond.”

This would ex­plain the high value of a flaw­less fancy vivid, such as the Pink Star. The Pink Prom­ise ring, mean­while, sold for Dh7.8m per carat in large part be­cause it was en­hanced from an in­tense to a vivid colour grade. Di­a­mon­teer Stephen Sil­ver, who un­der­took the risky re­spon­si­bil­ity of re­cut­ting the stone, ex­plains the thought process be­hind “im­prov­ing” the di­a­mond to in­crease its worth. “When I first ex­am­ined the Pink Prom­ise, I could see that the stone’s cut was not max­imis­ing its colour. The chal­lenge in re­cut­ting the stone was to im­prove the colour grade, with­out los­ing too much ma­te­rial. We ended up cut­ting away about half a carat more than I had planned, but we achieved the vivid grade, which prob­a­bly added about 25 per cent to its value.”

Loose stones, too, are a wor­thy in­vest­ment. Last month, Lu­capa re­cov­ered from its pro­lific Lulo mine in An­gola, a 1.9-carat pink stone along­side other rough di­a­monds. “While this is not the largest pink di­a­mond re­cov­ered at Lulo – we have found a 39-carat light fancy pink in the past – we con­sider it to be in the top colour range. That is, the best di­a­mond to be pol­ished from this stone has the po­ten­tial to be vivid in colour,” ex­plains Wether­all.

He sheds light on the process be­hind get­ting the stones from mine to mar­ket, and what col­lec­tors should look into be­fore pur­chas­ing a coloured stone. “To clean di­a­monds with in­ter­nal dirt, dirt in cracks or harsh colour stains, we use a deep boil­ing tech­nique. This in­volves plac­ing the di­a­monds in a tan­ta­lum con­tainer, sealed in a spe­cial mix of chem­i­cals and putting them in an oven at high tem­per­a­tures for up to 12 hours. The acid vapours pen­e­trate the in­clu­sions and cracks and clean the di­a­mond prop­erly. This process is com­monly used for white di­a­monds. How­ever, for coloured di­a­monds, this process has been known to lighten the in­ten­sity and, gen­er­ally, a less harsh acid and shorter clean­ing process is used, or the stones are placed in ul­tra­sonic baths.”

The four Cs and clean­ing tac­tics aside, when it comes to choos­ing a pink di­a­mond, ex­perts also rec­om­mend look­ing out for the prove­nance of the stone and the pro­file of the jew­eller, if you’re buy­ing a ready piece. The value goes up, ex­plains Ben­nett, “if the mount or set­ting bear the sig­na­ture of an im­por­tant jew­eller, such as Graff, Harry Win­ston or Cartier. And, of course, if a stone or jewel have an in­ter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal, no­ble or royal prove­nance, this o en adds to their ap­peal for col­lec­tors.”

David War­ren, in­ter­na­tional se­nior di­rec­tor of Christie’s jew­ellery depart­ment, cites the ex­am­ple of Le Grand Mazarin, which comes from In­dia’s famed Gol­conda mine. At 19.07 carats, the light pink di­a­mond is by no means the most ex­tra­or­di­nary in the colour or size de­part­ments, yet it sold at an auc­tion last Novem­ber for a lit­tle more than Dh53m. “Le Grand Mazarin has the most ex­tra­or­di­nary his­tor­i­cal prove­nance,” says War­ren. “The stone be­longed to seven kings and queens of France [in­clud­ing Louis XIV]. Its story goes back to Car­di­nal Mazarin, known to have been a col­lec­tor of the very finest di­a­monds, and on his death, it passed into the pos­ses­sion of the French royal fam­ily and was part of sev­eral crowns un­til the late 18th cen­tury, when the stone was bought by Boucheron. Plus, the Gol­conda mine stopped pro­duc­tion over 200 years ago – so these stones rep­re­sent a real trea­sure hunt,” he adds.

Once the stones have made their way to mar­ket, col­lec­tors and the ex­perts who guide them can and must con­sider as many of these de­tails be­fore sign­ing on the dot­ted line. And to all this, Ben­nett adds a fi­nal tenet. “Al­ways buy some­thing you like. You will get plea­sure from own­ing a di­a­mond that has per­sonal ap­peal for you. And if you like it, there’s a good chance that oth­ers will too, should you one day de­cide to sell.”

SET TO SHINE Le , the 19.07-carat light pink Le Grand Mazarin sold at auc­tion for Dh53 mil­lion. Op­po­site page, the 14.93-carat vivid Pink Prom­ise set in a ring

Top, Le Grand Mazarin, which was mined from Gol­conda in In­dia, was owned by seven kings and queens of France. Above, a rough pink di­a­mond found in the mines of Lu­capa IN THE PINK

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