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High50, Nov 22, 2012
Prices start high and get higher. But is there profit in them pretty stones, or should we buy them because we love them?
In such shaky financial times, the money experts will be looking for smarter places in which to entrust your hard earned cash, or as the City argot has it, alternative asset classes.
I remember ostrich farming being a dead cert in the early 1980s. However, after a flurry of fly-by-night operators, the market turned ugly, rather like the flightless bird, and never got off the ground. In fact, it got so bad that an ostrich investor chum told me he’d already buried his head in the sand.
Other alternative asset classes have included bond washing, villas in Spain, Ponzi schemes; the list goes on.
But I brightened slightly when I read that coloured diamonds might be the next big thing. After all, a diamond is easy to conceal and transport if times get bad, and there’s no shelf life. It is, by very definition, a hard asset.
For high net worth individuals
Chris Blacklock, of family-owned firm Blacklock Jewellery, says, “Due to the financial crisis, alternative investments are the areas where money can be made. For the very high net worth individual, one with in excess of £300,000 to invest, coloured diamonds should definitely be considered as part of a balanced portfolio.”
In fact, if you look at a website such as Fancy Diamonds, you can marvel at graphs showing the amazing rise in the prices of the pinks, reds, greens and blues over the past decade or so.
It looks such a fail-safe investment, and each stone has such an exclusive value of being unique, that I rushed to my favourite diamond dealer in Hatton Garden to seek urgent advice.
Caring for your colours
David (not his real name, for security purposes) said, “Of course the investment opportunities look immense, but the colour makes things complicated and you have to be certain of what you are buying.
“It is totally different from cutting white stones. It’s all about the hue and how to shape it. The blue diamonds contain boron, the yellows contain nitrogen, and all this calls for extreme care in the cutting. So you have to buy from an expert.
“That said, a red diamond still holds the record price achieved: $1m a carat.”
To stay on the pricing, there is a ‘bright pink’ stone within the strongrooms of Hatton Garden for which the agent has been offered $19 million (that’s $2m per carat). He’s holding out for $23m.
And it’s rumoured that the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, wanted to view a similar stone recently. By the time the stone had been from the owner, through Geneva, the various valuing agencies, lawyers and the gemstone equivalent of Uncle Tom Cobley, it cost the poor man $50,000 just to view it. I hope Lyudmila is worth it.
Are they a good investment?
David continues: “Sure, if you’d invested in the S&P 500 (the benchmark US stock index) for the past ten years, stones would have beaten it tenfold. But diamonds aren’t a commodity which is traded every second of the day.
“In the stock market you can get a fairly good idea of the value of your investment through the normal valuation methods. These coloured stones are trophy pieces and the best barometer is the auction room.
“If it’s a ‘strong’ room, with lots of bidders, then good luck. But that wasn’t the case during the credit crunch and those who needed to sell took a big loss. The rest effectively shut up shop.”
Tray upon tray of these wonderful stones are indeed a rich sight, each of them worth a couple of houses in Kensington. The best entry level for coloured stones is as depressingly high.
As David told me, “If you want to make real money, then don’t go for less than $300,000 a carat. But my real advice is don’t do it as an investment. Buy whatever you buy because you love it.”
Blacklock agrees, saying: “We’ll soon be launching a section of our website catering for the sale of these exceptional diamonds. In the meantime we’re focusing on creating fine jewellery with beautiful stones that the wearer can enjoy and pass on to future generations.”
Ah, I thought, as I joined the others trudging home through Hatton Garden on their way to Chancery Lane tube: it’s all , in the end, about romancing the stone.
Exclusive member offer Free pink diamond worth £650 when you spend £2,500
If you are interested in diamonds that could provide returns, see Blacklock’s diamond brokerage page. Blacklock is offering specialist consultations to high50 members. Phone Chris Blacklock on 020 3086 8778 or email email@example.com and quote high50
Retail Jeweller, Nov 2, 2012
Blacklock Jewellery has relaunched its website with the express intention of combining fine jewellery and high fashion, with the help of celebrity stylist Rachel Anthony.
In a new lifestyle section on the website – http://www.blacklockjewellery.com/ – Anthony provides style advice to go with pieces from the Blacklock collection. Anthony said: “I am excited at the potential of Blacklock’s history of custom jewellery design being available for fashion led clients. It enables customers to invest in a truly unique luxury piece, personal to them.”
The relaunch has coincided with the introduction of more product and collection pieces that aim to appeal to a younger, more fashion conscious audience.
Commenting on the relaunch of the website, partner Chris Blacklock said: “With the ongoing growth of our business and increased focus on e-commerce, it was essential that we reviewed our offering. The new website engages our customers at every level and the introduction of Rachel has added real depth.”
The North of England and London based jeweller and diamond merchant also has plans to launch more collections in the New Year.
“The ongoing challenge has been to maintain the quality of our product whilst increasing the inventory and this has been achieved by designing everything in-house,” said Blacklock. “With the introduction of a collection such as Delphini we’re showing our belief in being able to sell extremely high value goods online.”
Blacklock Jewellery continues to work with outside jewellery designers but the focus has been to move more of the design focus in-house.
Professional Jeweller, Oct 31, 2012
"Blacklock Jewellery has re-launched its website - designed to showcase its jewellery collections to a younger, more fashion-conscious consumer - with a little help from a fashion stylist.
The family jeweller has worked closely with stylist Rachel Anthony on the re-launch of its site, which offers a wider range of product crossing both fashion-led and fine jewellery categories.
The site features a Lifestyle section through which Anthony will provide style advice to go with pieces from Blacklock’s collections, pulling together mood boards of fashion and celebrity images and Blacklock jewellery to fit with current trends.
Blacklock has also increased its engagement ring collection online, and has launched a section dedicated to just wedding bands, while its Special section will showcase one-off items and seasonal pieces.
Blacklock partner Chris Blacklock said of the new site launch: “With the ongoing growth of our business, and increased focus on e-commerce, it was essential that we reviewed our offering. The new website engages our customers at every level and the introduction of Rachel has added real depth.”
The retailer plans to increase its online offering in the new year, when more collections will be launched and a series of eternity rings added to its portfolio.
“The ongoing challenge has been to maintain the quality of our product whilst increasing the inventory and this has been achieved by designing everything in-house,” explained Blacklock. “With the introduction of a collection such as Delphini we’re showing our belief in being able to sell extremely high value goods online.”
Blacklock Jewellery says that while it is continuing to work with external jewellery designers, the focus has been to move more of its design focus in-house to promote its history as a bespoke jeweller.
So far this year Blacklock Jewellery has been very busy.
New packaging has been invested in and will be arriving in the uk next week. We are delighted with the outcome - it exudes all the right Blacklock values - elegance, style, substance and sophistication. Pictures to follow soon.
We have also been designing lots of new jewels which we will be launching very soon. The focus this year has been to build on our previous collections, updating and renovating in some cases and adding in some new one-off pieces. We are delighted with the results and hope that all the months of designing and re-designing will pay off. We would really value hearing back from you as to what you think - so do not hesitate just drop us a line on facebook, twitter or direct.
Our award winning website is also in the process of receving a much needed make-over. It is a great website but we feel we need to update it over the next 6 months - with additional functionality and a new homepage we are really looking forward to getting it up and running. Keep your eyes peeled!
Finally just to keep your appetite whetted I have recently viewed this beautiful golden oval cut yellow sapphire - a stunning stone, ideal for the summer.