Investing wisely in gems and jewelry opens the possibility for long-term preservation of capital while simultaneously reaping the fruits of that wealth - the beauty of society’s finest riches. For yourself and your clients understanding the investment value of jewels is key.
For tens of thousands of years precious jewels and metals have been the economic cornerstone of treasuries of kingdoms, governments and generational family wealth. Rare, portable, and internationally liquid, they are natural commodities. Their beauty makes them intrinsically desirable. According to Ron Ringsrud of Muzo International, “…investors simply recognize the obvious: an investment in beauty is a timeless investment.” (www.emeraldpassion.com)
Jewels and art represent the cream of a culture. When Tutankhamen’s tomb was discovered in 1922, the sheer opulence of pure gold and rare artifacts including gem-studded regalia dazzled the world. Offering a fascinating glimpse into the glory of that ancient civilization it triggered a world-wide wave of Egyptomania reflected in jewelry of the day from top houses such as Cartier.
Historically the provenance of royalty, a society’s most precious gems have long been fabricated into crown jewels, preserved for posterity through royal lineages. St. Edward the Confessor’s gold crown with 444 precious gems, whose original version was first worn in 1065, was used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Crowns and regalia have even signified divinity. The coronation ceremony itself symbolically invests the monarch with royal, even divine, power according to the theory of divine right of kings.
In India traditionally the wealth of a family was preserved in 24 karat gold fashioned into jewelry worn by the women of the family. Periodically the gold could be melted and shaped into new designs but the pure gold remains as asset.
Today estate and designer jewelry especially can maintain or increase in value over time. Here as with art, provenance can significantly affect value. A triple strand of faux pearls worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis recently sold at Sotheby’s for over $200,000, the value added due to celebrity provenance. Through the influence of branding, designer jewelry adds value.
“Diamonds are forever,” the successful 20th century DeBeers marketing campaign - it has been dubbed the most successful advertising campaign of the century - was effective in mainstreaming the custom of the diamond engagement ring, not previously standard. In 1939 only 10% of engagement rings had diamonds. By 1990 it was 80%. The demand for diamond bridal as well as fashion jewelry and investment grade diamonds remains strong.
Gems can be considered as investments. 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 other classical investments. 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.” (Next time: Part II. Understanding Gems as Investments).
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, www.facebook.com/MiaKatrinforJEWELCOUTURELLC.