Jewelry & Watches

Blue, Pink Diamonds Make Fabulous Investments

Brett O'Connor, Sotheby's senior international jewelry specialist talks about what you should look for when buying diamonds.

An investment in the pink or blue diamonds that were not very popular back in '90s would have made the owner the envy of any serious jewelry collector today.

Prices for colored diamonds have shot up exponentially in the past few years because their rarity has recently come to the attention of buyers. Sotheby’s senior international jewelry specialist Brett O’Connor says that pink and blue diamonds that were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat back in in '90s now go for millions of dollars per carat.

These days, women—many of whom now buy their own jewelry instead of waiting for the men in their lives to buy it for them—are looking at colored diamonds, pinks and blues specifically, as vehicles for investments.

O’Connor flew in from Geneva specifically to talk to Manila’s well-heeled about trends in colored diamonds in an intimate discussion organized by Town&Country and Proscenium by Rockwell Land in partnership with Globe Platinum. 


Colored diamonds are part of a hierarchy and red is the rarest.
The rarest of the colored diamonds is red. These diamonds are usually smaller with numerous inclusions inside them.

Next in the hierarchy are: Green, blue, pink, yellow, and then all the variations of yellow down below.

What are the similarities and differences in value between white and colored diamonds?
White diamonds are judged by their lack of color, as determined by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)’s color grading system. A D-grade diamond is colorless, while a Z is light yellow. The more yellow or brown, the less valuable it becomes until there’s so much color that it becomes a fancy color.

Too much color for blues and pinks would cause oversaturation, says O'Connor. The price of colored diamonds increases with the color until the saturation is deemed too much and the price decreases from there. 

For both white and colored diamonds, check for inclusions in the diamond, the less the better. Other traits that negatively affect the price of diamonds include graining, bad proportions, and fluorescence.

As much as possible, never buy a diamond without a GIA certificate. The GIA serves as the founding pillar by which the first diamond grading reports, the 4Cs, and other references now recognized internationally were established. A GIA certification identifies the gem’s carat weight, color grade, fluorescence, and lists every minuscule flaw that the stone might possess. The qualities and more determine the value of the diamond.

Auctions provide a mid-range price for colored diamonds and other jewelry compared to prices listed by retailers.
In purchasing diamonds or other gems, there’s a pricing system that sometimes even the avid jewelry collector may not know about. Auction prices usually fall in below the regular retail cost, selling at fair-market value, which makes it a great place to buy jewelry.

It is good for both buyers and sellers because you can sell your jewels for more than the trade are willing to pay you. For buyers, you can buy these wonderful jewels for less than the retailer will sell it to you for. O’Connor says auctions are a great way to browse since you may attend them free of charge, examine the jewelry closely at exhibitions, try them on, and hopefully get the best price for the jewelry. 

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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