The New York Times yesterday mentioned in a story about the spending habits of wealthy Chinese, an upturn in the buying of diamonds for investment purposes:
in Hong Kong, wealthy mainlanders are turning up at jewelry stores in growing numbers seeking diamonds, big ones. “They’re looking for five-carat diamond rings and six-carat diamond earrings — three carats for each ear,” said Yollanda Lam, the marketing manager for the King Fook jewelry store chain here.
The Chinese aren’t the only ones looking to diamonds in these troubled times. The trade is seeing a positive flow of funds. At least that’s what this story from the National Jeweler says:
Levinson Jewelers in South Florida has seen a 100 percent increase in sales of jewelry for investment purposes, says owner Mark Levinson. He says clients like to add jewels to their investment portfolio–especially because the asset is easily transportable to the best market.
“If the euro is stronger than the dollar, you can have your diamond in pocket and take advantage of that,” Levinson says. “You can’t put gold or platinum or real estate in your pocket. But you can put millions of dollars of diamonds in your pocket. In that way, it is discreet–it’s not like a piece of real estate you have to register. [ . . . ]”
B.W. David Leavitt, owner of Antique and Estate Jewelry in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., says business has been booming among his high-end customers who are scooping up significant investment jewels.
“All of the biggest diamonds I’ve ever sold have been to men who buy as investments to hoard,” Leavitt says. “If it’s over 20 carats, it’s for an investment. They don’t let their wives wear it–even if it is in a ring. Today, there is more interest in that than in the past. People understand that diamonds are a good investment, and they’re hedging against inflation.”
[ . . . ] Three years ago, Leavitt sold a necklace of 149 total carat weight, D-color, Asscher-cut stones for $525,000, and in late November, sold it for his client at $1.42 million.
“What other investment could I have sold in the worst week of the year?” he asks.
In Shift, Chinese Move More Money Overseas (New York Times)
Wealthy Clients Investing in Significant Jewels (National Jeweler)