De Beers Diamond Jewellers opened in Beijing, marking its first store on Mainland China, as it looks to capitalize on growing consumer demand for diamonds in the country. De Beers research indicated that consumer demand for diamonds in China grew an estimated 25 percent in 2010 with bridal solitaires accounting for about 50 percent to 60 percent of total sales during the year. The company expects demand in China and India to spur growth for the diamond industry in the near term.
The new store is located at Skin Kong Place, a luxury shopping area in Beijing and opened with a new addition to the Talisman Collection on display. The “Pink Talisman Medal,” which was specially designed for the launch, features a rare pink rough diamond at its center; surrounded by white rose-cut diamonds and a mix of white and fancy pink polished round diamonds, set in pink gold.
De Beers Diamonds Jewellers CEO, François Delage, hosted the opening. “We are excited to open our first store in Mainland China, enabling us to fully share our exceptional passion and expertise in diamond selection, craftsmanship, and diamond jewelry design with one of the largest and most discerning markets in the world,” Delage said in a statement.
At the Geneva Magnificent Jewels auction sale at Christie’s on May 18, a heart-shaped 56.15 diamond was sold for $10.91 million which was more than double the previous highest price for a heart-shaped diamond.
The heart-shaped diamond exhibits all the characteristics of perfection. It is of D color, Internally Flawless clarity, Excellent polish and symmetry, and it belongs to the elite of the Type IIa diamonds.
The buyer was famed London diamantaire Graff Diamonds.
An emerald and diamond tiara, circa 1900, formerly in the collection of Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck, was sold for $12.7 million at Sotheby’s Magnificent and Noble Jewels Sale, held on May 17, 2011 in Geneva.
Sotheby’s said that this tiara was the most important to have appeared at auction in more than 30 years and apparently those assembled at the auction Hôtel Beau-Rivage agreed as the bejeweled headpiece sold for more than $2 million above its high estimate. It comprised 11 rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops, which weigh over 500cts. and may have originally adorned the neck of a Maharajah. These emeralds are also believed to have been in the personal collection of Empress Eugénie.
The tiara was commissioned circa 1900, possibly from Chaumet, the Parisian jewelry house, by Guido Count von Henckel, First Prince von Donnersmarck, for his second wife Princess Katharina, Sotheby’s said. It was worn whenever royalty was present.
A pair of spectacular ear-pendants featuring the world’s rarest diamonds from the legendary Golconda mines will be offered atChristie’sHong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale, which will be held on Tuesday, 31 May, 2011 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. The Imperial Cushions, a pair of 23.49 carats and 23.11 carats D Potentially Flawless Golconda Type IIa diamonds ear-pendants, is estimated at HK$55 million to 78 million / US$7 million to 10 million.
The occurrence of such a pair of Golconda gemstones, with a limpidity that is particular to the world’s finest Type IIa diamonds, is a natural marvel. At 23.49 and 23.11 carats each, this pair of cushion-cuts is of exceptional caliber – matching in size, cut and shape, and represents a true jewel of majestic proportions. With Type IIa diamonds being less than 2% of the world’s production, this superbly matched pair ofThe Imperial Cushionsis a unique example of magnificence and rarity. While the present diamonds do not actually come with an imperial provenance, the quality, workmanship, size, and rarity are certainly of a caliber worthy of a royal collection.
Since their discovery more than 3,000 years ago, diamonds have retained an unrivaled position in the mineral kingdom. For centuries the extraordinary properties and characteristics of these beautiful gemstones have mesmerized explorers, financiers and aristocrats all over the world. Golconda diamonds in particular, have a degree of transparency rarely seen in stones from other localities, such as Africa, Brazil, Russia or Australia. The characteristic that sets them apart from all other diamonds is the subtle, luminous, Type IIa quality. Type IIa diamonds are the most chemically pure form of diamond lacking in nitrogen which therefore yield exceptional optical transparency. From ancient Indian to modern times,
The Imperial Cushionsare a glittering survival of the past and remains one the most outstanding jewels to ever appear on the market today. Besides the exceptional size and quality of the gemstones, the ear-pendants are fashioned in the cushion shaped cutting style as a perfectly matched pair. The cushion form is seen in many historic gems includingThe Koh i Noor,The AgraandThe Regent. The pair of stones illustrated here are as rare as you can possibly find and would be at home in royal collections anywhere in the world.
The Imperial Cushions, a magnificent pair of cushion-cut diamonds, imperial in quality and size, recalls some of the most important Golconda stones ever auctioned at Christie’s. Of significance is theArchduke Josephdiamond, a D SI1 cushion-cut Golconda diamond of 78.54 carats that sold at Christie’s Geneva in 1993 for US$6,487,945.
The Imperial Cushionsbear a striking resemblance to the shape of theArchduke Josephdiamond with its rectangular cushion cut and horizontally divided pavilion main facets – perhaps a style of cutting that is not entirely unfitting with its Indian lineage.
If the amped-up prices of gold and silver weren’t giving jewelers big-enough headaches, now they must contend with more-expensive diamonds.
De Beers on Feb. 11 reported its rough prices rose 27 percent throughout 2010, mostly due to strong polished sales in China and India, where gem demand has soared more than 20 percent. In February, India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council estimated that rough prices in January were 27.2 percent higher than the previous year.
And it looks like diamonds will only get pricier: Louise Prior, spokeswoman for the DTC, De Beers’ sales and marketing arm, says the company “had mid to high single-digit increases on a number of our sight boxes” in February. She declined to say which rough diamonds would be increasing in value.
According to dealers, the jumps have been felt across the board.
“Basically, everything is going up,” says Jeff Fischer, owner of New York City’s Fischer Diamonds. “The market is overheated. VSs and SIs have gone up tremendously. D colors, in all qualities, are rising. The oversizes are impossible. Trying to find a 2.05 carat or 2.55 carat stone is very difficult. For a 2.85, it becomes a joke. Prices are just amazingly strong in light of what I would call satisfactory but lackluster demand in the United States.”
He says the higher prices have made retailers reluctant to buy for inventory—but when they do, they accept the increases. “When the jewelers have to buy, resistance is breaking down,” Fischer says. “I have customers, who, a year ago, when I would offer them a 20 percent discount off the Rapaport list, would say, ‘I want 30.’ Today, they are okay with 2 percent.”
Stuart Samuels, a principal of DTC sightholder Premier Gem Corp. in New York City, says that most retailers haven’t realized “the extent of the increases,” adding that he’s paying 15 percent more for diamonds than he did just a few months ago. “A sample category of rough that was selling for $1,250 in August 2009 is now selling for $1,730,” he says. “This isn’t American-driven, but retailers here are going to have to accept it.”
While Michael Greene, an owner of Wick & Greene Jewelers in Asheville, N.C., foresees challenges—“We’re no longer the drivers of demand in this country, so we’re going to see our supply go away and prices go up”—others view the changes as an immutable fact of life.
“The thing about diamonds is they go up and rarely go back down,” says Lawrence Hug, president of Hug Jewelers in Cincinnati.
*Note : Derived in real-time from actual asking prices of the global diamond industry, IDEX Online Diamond Prices objectively reflects price trends as they happen. The Diamond Index and Diamond Drivers were formulated following comprehensive research and analysis of the IDEX inventory database, aggregated since February 2001. Research and development were conducted in cooperation with Dr. Avi Wohl, Senior Lecturer of Finance at the Faculty of Management, Tel Aviv University.
This story appears in the April 2011 issue of JCK Magazine.
The 110-carat vivid yellow Cora Sun-Drop diamond is on loan to the Natural History Museum in London and the museum decided to promote it with a photo shoot with former model Jerry Hall. The unusual gem, the largest vivid yellow pear-shape diamond, belongs to Cora International.
The Cora Sun-Drop was mined in Africa and polished by Cora International, a company that specializes in very large and fancy color diamonds.