World of Colored Diamonds
There are many reasons why colored diamonds have become more popular. Garry Holloway, owner of Melbourne fine retailer Holloway Diamonds, points to production improvements.
“The main reason there are more fancy-yellow diamonds is that cutting skills and technology improved – rough goods that were made into rounds are now cut into cushions, radiant and non-brilliant cut ovals,” he explains. “There has been a little more rough material thanks to the Kimberley mine in WA. But the cutting is the main game changer.”
According to Kalleh Levonian, director of Sydney-based KL Diamonds, another reason has been increased promotion of colored diamonds. “There’s been a lot of interest, especially in the past five to six years. And retailers are recognizing the importance of colored diamonds.”
Levonian puts that down to the increased profile of the Argyle mine and its pink diamonds. And also because suppliers are dedicating more resources to marketing and promoting the beauty of colored diamonds. He adds that it is a more interesting product range for retailers and their customers.
Colored diamonds are not boring
“I’ve been in the industry for more than 20 years and colored diamonds are a niche market – it’s more interesting; it’s not your boring white,” he says. “From the different colors and different hues that you get in a diamond, it’s a lot different to just selling white diamonds.”
According to Steve Der Bedrossian, CEO, Sams Group Australia, there are two main reasons for the increased demand for colored diamonds. “The demand has really increased ever since the mining companies announced they’re running out of stones. And there’s only eight to 10 years left in the mines. As a result, the demand has gone crazy for pink diamonds and now the problem is it’s hard to get stock.”
When it comes to local demand Der Bedrossian says, “I think Australians are very patriotic and when they know that something is Australian. They want it. The most beautifully colored diamonds in the world are from Australia – we do have the best. Everyone just wants to get a piece of Australia and tuck it away.”
One possible reason for increased consumer demand that’s hard to deny is the publicity surrounding “Celeb Culture”. Benji Margolese, director of content marketing at Israel-based online diamond vendor Leibish & Co says, “With the increasing exposure among the most popular celebrities, and other rich and famous individuals, the market [for colored diamonds] is very quickly getting bigger.”
Leibish & Co is a member of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI), a non-profit, public interest organisation that represents Israel’s diamond industry.
“The biggest trend with color diamonds is yellow-diamond engagement rings. All brides-to-be want to be different while not veering too far off the most commonly-walked path. There is more than enough reason to avoid the almost boring colorless diamonds. But every girl still wants a diamond ring on her finger. Fancy-colored diamonds have become that edge that people are hungry to learn about. And yellow diamonds have managed to garner the majority of the spotlight,” Margolese said.
Traditional engagement rings no longer have to be set with a white stone
Another IDI member agrees that colored diamonds are capturing a larger chunk of the traditional engagement ring market. “The colors that have controlled the market still do – yellow and pink – but we do see the market opening to all other colors. And the portion of all sales these two take is decreasing,” Noam Flint, chief technology officer, Peled Diamonds says.
“What is interesting is that while [coloured diamonds] were once fashion jewelry, it seems people are now stepping out of the box – colored diamonds have strongly penetrated the engagement rings market,” Flint says. “This is a great evolution of the market; finally not all engagement rings look alike.”
When it comes to the local market, Chris Soklich explains demand has been slowly increasing but says the Asian market is where the strength is really happening.
“They have no supply there [Asia] and it’s very limited stock,” Soklich says. “I’ve noticed that yellows have been increasing in popularity. So their price is steadily increasing as well. And while many Australians and Kiwis like the pinks at this stage, they aren’t really prepared to pay the prices, so a lot of those goods are going overseas.”
Investing in diamonds is another reason for the increase in demand. This according to Witold Wolski, director of Melbourne-based Wolski’s.
“Global demand for colored diamonds is also increasing because, worldwide, many people want to purchase investments that will appreciate more than inflation. There are reports that Argyle pink diamonds have appreciated annually by at least 15% since 2005, even during the years of GFC.”
While both Margolese and Flint agree that there has been a noticeable trend in diamonds for investment purposes. Flint offers caution: “We completely agree with the Natural Colored Diamond Industry Association approach – consumers should fall in love with natural color diamonds because of their beauty, not their ability to appreciate in value over time. Although there certainly is a history of appreciation for natural color diamond values, in no way does NCDIA endorse purchasing natural color diamonds as an investment.”
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