“It is very distinctive, it is very stylish – it is very Louis Vuitton… wherever you go in the world you will see people carrying the distinctive Louis Vuitton brand… whether it is a little bag or a huge suitcase. It talks of distinction and taste” – Cherie Blair at the London Louis Vuitton New Bond Street Maison Opening.
Marilyn Monroe famously sang “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” in the Broadway produciton of Gentleman Prefer Blondes. Many people however see dimaonds as a bad investment. This is often the case when buying diamonds from a retail jeweler and then selling back at a wholesale price (often when a relationship has ended). Naturally this would be a bad investment as you are buying at the top and selling at the bottom. Diamonds can however be an excellent investment. Diamonds are the most concentrated store of value in the world. Due to the customs in Western society , mainly marriage, there is always a market for diamonds. Diamonds are the most wanted of all the precious stones.
The secret is to buy and sell in the same market. If you bought a diamond on the secondary market, put it into a quality standard setting, put it on consignment – you should make a profit. The key is buying right.
My Video about Dealer Sharks - Selling your Diamond or Watch Collection. A social experience when I tried to sell a collection of watches/jewellery/pearls. Be very careful when selling your collection or you will be low balled!
Whilst I am a huge fan of brand names for most things, diamonds are the exception. Buying from top end jewelers like Cartier and Tiffany & Co will ensure you get what you pay for however you will be paying full retail. Hand made custom settings have very little value on the used market unless coming from a well known brand. It is much better to use standard type settings. A standard gold setting is a few hundred dollars wholesale. A good bench jeweler is a good friend to have. It is also worth having a good diamond valuer up your sleeve to ensure the quality of what you are buying.
The general rules for diamonds are:-
Buy round brilliant cut diamonds only. Fashion cuts go in and out of style whilst round brilliant cuts always stay in style
Always buy at least a 50 point diamond or just under (1/2 carat)
Ensure the clarity is at least SI1 or VS2
Ensure the color is not lower than J
Stay away from fracture filled or radiated stones
Stay away from clarity enhanced stones
Learn the 4 Cs about diamonds
Ideally a .75 carat SI1 G is a good equalibrium of price, size and quality. Buying just under the carat mark can also represent some good savings.
Whilst a GIA certificate is the most highly regarded opinion of a stone a certified valuation by a registered valuer is often just as good.
In the past when I have bought and sold diamonds I would try and buy for 25% of retail valuation and sell for 33% of the valuation. Naturally these margins are difficult to obtain without experience. Pawnshops can be as savage as paying only 10% of retail valuation. Wholesale prices tend to be 50% of retail prices.
Learn the margins, learn the 4Cs, get a good professional valuer and setter and you will not loose money on diamonds.
In the pre-internet days diamonds were harder to resell on the secondary market. Traditional diamond dealers required expensive shop fronts to effectively trade in diamonds. Traditional dealers were very savage when buying from the public. They justified this by there high running costs.
Although no two diamonds are the same the value of a stone is determined by the 4Cs. I believe the internet will greatly commoditize the diamond market. This is a good thing and will lead to diamonds becoming an excellent investment and store of value.