Exceptional Diamonds to Remain Strong Despite “Recent Volatility”
In a recent article on Solitaire, an B2B gem and jewelry magazine published by India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky discusses “the momentary let-up” in the value of the expectational stone market, claiming that “the long-term value of diamonds as a tangible and rare asset remains strong, and the market is expected to rebound as the global economy stabilizes.”
Zimnisky begins by noting the purchase by Tiffany & Co. of 35 diamonds from the iconic Argyle mine in Australia, which has been closed since November 2020. Ranging from 0.35 carats to 1.52 carats, most of the purchased stones are pink, while some are “almost purple” and one is red. Three of the diamonds are over 1-carat in weight. Tiffany’s did not disclose the price it paid for the diamonds, but Anthony Ledru, the jeweler’s president and chief executive, told The New York Times that it was the brand’s largest single purchase of 2022, and that the sum paid was “probably not enough compared to what it’s going to become in the next five, 10 years”.
This, says Zimnisky, is a testament to the continued importance of the exceptional stone market for the natural diamond industry, especially as it “jockeys for position with the mainstream emergence of lab-grown diamond jewelry.”
Zimnisky points to another example – the sale of the “Pink Star”. a 11.5-carat cushion mixed cut, internally flawless, fancy vivid-pink – for upwards of $58 million. This followed the sale of the “De Beers Blue” diamond, a 15.1-carat emerald-cut internally flawless, fancy-vivid blue, for $57 million in April 2022.
In the second half of 2022, however, the exceptional stone market “hit some resistance,” when Sotheby’s failed to see three fancy-blue diamonds: a 5.5-carat, which was estimated by Sotheby’s to sell for $11-15 million, did not reach the reserve. Then in December, a 3.2-carat was pulled from auction, and a 2.1-carat, estimated by Sotheby’s to sell for $1.2-1.5 million, did not reach the reserve either.
Despite this, Zimnisky concludes: “There is speculation that the result was due in part to the volatile global macroeconomic backdrop in recent months, but more particular to the expectational stone market, typical very-high-end diamond buyers in China and Russia being impacted by Covid-related restrictions and Western sanctions, respectively.”