How many times when selling engagement rings, diamonds and high end jewelry have you encouraged your clients by reminding them that it’s an investment? Speaking knowledgeably about jewelry and gems as investments helps to gain your client’s trust and burnishes your reputation. For both novices and seasoned investors, reviewing a few guidelines and caveats is useful. Jay Boyle, Senior Buyer for JTV (Jewelry Television, www.jtv.com), considered the world’s largest purveyor of colored gems, buys millions of dollars of gems yearly. Frequently traveling to buy from the source at exotic mining locales while also presenting gems directly to customers on live TV, his perspective on the colored gem market is unique.
“Gems as an investment are more like art than any other classical investment. It takes an expert’s help to resell your gemstone. Gemstones are collectibles and not classical investments. But many collectibles can become a good investment over time.
“We’re currently in a bull market for colored gemstones fueled by increased demand from formerly emerging economies like China, India, Russia, Brazil and all the Asian tiger countries. Global demand has greatly increased and far outstretches supply, resulting in substantial price increases in the last 5-10 years.
“Some rules of the road for prospective investors: Buy from a trusted source. Nothing is more important. Take time to learn the market. Buy only what you love. If you love it you will enjoy it as a beautiful, rare collectible regardless of market prices. Have a long term investment horizon of at least 5-10 and preferably 15-20 years before deciding to sell. If you’re willing to wade into those waters you too may fall in love like so many others with the amazing world of colored gemstones.”
Dr. Christopher Hartnett (www.globalgemstone.com) focuses on high-end investment grade gems. He separates gems into 4 categories: 1. Museum quality, should be kept in a vault, are too precious to be worn. 2. Top grade, may be worn on special occasions, may require $1000 a day insurance to cover the risk. 3. High end jewelry, $50,000-$500,000, may be worn with caution. 4. Normal commercial jewelry, $100-$50,000, may be worn daily.
Recently returning from selling trips to Dubai and Shanghai, he begins with a few caveats particular to high end investment grade gems. “Liquidity is an issue. You should be able to liquidate your gem assets if necessary. Focus on rare but marketable gems. When buying, consider your dealer’s policy towards buy backs.
“Laboratory certifications are essential. Not all labs are equal. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) lab is the accepted standard, but for a gem $50,000 and above, three separate lab certifications such as AGL or Gubelin should be customary. Understand treatments. Some treatments, such as heat treatments for certain gems, are considered acceptable. But new hi-tech treatments are rapidly proliferating, may be hard to detect, and can significantly affect a gem’s value. The purity of the gem cannot be overemphasized. Color, cut, size all affect value. But the clarity of a gem, its degree of freedom from inclusions or imperfections, is paramount.”
The bottom line? “Buy top quality. There’s always a market for rare top of the line gems. But buy at a good price. You make your profit in buying, not in selling. Know and trust your supplier.”
Encourage your clients to experience the joy of jewels. Wise investment in gems, jewelry and art opens a world of investment possibilities. Beauty is eternal. Through investing in jewelry and gems, your clients may enjoy the timeless beauty of life’s finest treasures coupled with the long term preservation of capital for posterity.
Mia Katrin is an award-winning jewelry designer featured in over 70 top stores nationally. She is available for lectures and seminars. To add her Collections or book a lecture: www.jeweljewel.com, 877 539-3569, facebook.com/MiaKatrinforJEWELCOUTURELLC.