Saturday, 23 October 2021

Graff's Pigeon Blood Ruby - $8.6M

In 2014 the 8.62-carat cushion-shaped 'Graff Ruby' ring from the collection of Dimitri Mavrommatis soared beyond estimates and set a then world auction record for a ruby at $8,600,410, as well as a record price per carat for a ruby at $997,727.

Another highlight of the evening was a natural pearl and diamond necklace that was likely once the property of Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Comprising 111 pearls, the necklace sold for $3,426,669, well above the pre-sale estimate of $800,000-$1,400,000.
In addition to the Graff Ruby, the collection included a rare 27.54-carat step-cut Kashmir sapphire with a velvety blue color that sold for $5,984,474, a world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire. It had an estimate of $3m to $6m.
A pair of sapphire, ruby and diamond earrings, by JAR. Each of circular form, pavé-set with circular-cut sapphires of various hues ranging from light pink to purplish blue, surmounted with a cage set cushion-shaped stone, one a diamond weighing 3.06 carats, the other a ruby weighing 4.89 carats. Estimate 385,000 — 670,000 CHF. Lot sold 557,000 CHF.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Top Investment Gemstones

Investing in gemstones is not for everybody. Rare gems do have an excellent record of increasing in value over time. When other assets are declining and currency is losing value, gemstones tend to be a reliable store of value. They are compact, portable and private.
While gemstones are not as liquid as other investments, a high quality gem will retain its value. In general the global demand for fine gemstones exceeds supply, and gemstone prices mainly move upward over time.
Fine ruby is the rarest of all colored gems, and Burmese ruby has long been the premier investment gem. Fine unheated Burmese rubies in larger sizes draw large prices. Vivid red, known as pigeon's blood, is the most valuable. Rubies tend to have inclusions, so intensity of color is more important than clarity.

Burma rubies are by far the most valuable, but fine unheated rubies from other locations such as Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania are increasing in value.
Blue sapphire is the second most popular colored stone for investment. The rarest and most valuable sapphires are from Kashmir, but no new material has been mined there in more than a century. Next most valuable is Burma sapphire, followed by stones from Ceylon and Madagascar. Fancy color sapphires, yellow, pink and padpardascha are popular.
The emerald market has seen turmoil as a result of treatments with artificial resins, but fine, untreated emeralds continue to be reliable investments. Colombian emeralds, especially in larger sizes, continue to be the most valuable, followed by the best Brazilian emeralds. High quality emeralds are also being mined in Zambia.

Investment grade emeralds must be untreated.
Spinel is a relative newcomer as an investment gem. The most valuable spinel colors are red, hot pink and flame orange. Red Burmese spinels and the neon pink-red spinels from Mahenge, Tanzania have the best investment potential.

Spinel is completely untreated and prices on fine pieces have risen significantly in the last 5 years.
Tsavorite Garnet is a rare gem that has begun to challenge emerald as the finest of the green gemstones. Unlike emerald, tsavorite is always untreated. It has more brilliance than emerald due to its higher refractive index.

Tsavorite garnets over 2 carats are very rare, and fine stones over 4 carats are exceptionally rare. Colors range from mint green to a deep chrome green.
Spessartite Garnet is a bright orange garnet colored by manganese. The finest examples, referred to as Mandarin Garnet, are a pure orange that is one of the most vivid colors in the gemstone world.

Pure orange specimens are very rare. They come mainly from Nigeria and Namibia. Large, clean stones are valuable and display a remarkable brilliance.
Alexandrite is a rare chrysoberyl that is popular with collectors for its striking color change and excellent hardness (8.5 on the Mohs scale). Alexandrite was first discovered in Russia. High quality alexandrite comes from Brazil, with medium grade material from Tanzania.
Fine translucent emerald-green jadeite is known as Imperial Jade. This rare gem is found mainly in Burma (Myanmar) and is coveted by collectors around the world, especially in Asia.

Type A jadeite is untreated natural Burmese jadeite where the color is 100% natural. Only certified jadeite of this quality is deemed worthy of investment.
The rarest topaz known is called Imperial topaz and its sole source is the Ouro Prêto area in Minas Gerais, Brazil. This topaz is golden-orange to orange to pink, pinkish-red or violet in color.

The color must be completely natural, with no enhancement by heat or other methods. Stones with a hint of pink or red are the most valuable, with a pure red natural topaz counting as extraordinary.
Paraiba tourmaline is a rare copper-bearing variety of tourmaline with a distinctive neon-like glow. It was first discovered in the Brazilian state of Paraiba in 1989. Since then small deposits have been found in Nigeria and Mozambique.

The Brazilian paraiba remains the most valuable, but color and clarity are more important than origin for these rare gems. Clean paraiba tourmalines with vivid color are the most valuable.
When buying gemstones for investment, it is critical to buy top grade gems. Low quality commercial grade stones are worthless to the investor. Fine gemstones are distinguished by vivid, intense color, outstanding clarity, and excellent cut. Buy the absolute best and ignore the rest, it is money invested, not spent.

Monday, 18 October 2021

Tanzanite

Tanzanite is the blue/purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It was discovered in the Mererani Hills of Manyara Region in Northern Tanzania in 1967, near the city of Arusha and Mount Kilimanjaro. Naturally formed tanzanite is extremely rare. Tanzanite is noted for its remarkably strong trichroism, appearing alternately sapphire blue, violet and burgundy depending on crystal orientation.
Tanzanite is a relatively new gemstone in the world of gemology and jewelry. Since its discovery, tanzanite has sold for as little as $20 per carat and as much as $1,000 per carat or more, for gem-quality, finely coloured stones.
That price may seem like a bargain in time, as tanzanite is a one-source gemstone and that source is expected to be mined out within the next 15 to 25 years.
Pleochroic means tanzanite offers three distinct colors in three crystal directions. Tanzanite has a Mohs hardness of 6 to 7.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Sapphires - Gems of the heavens

Sapphire is derived from the Latin word for blue, sapphirus. Sapphires were thought to be the gems of the heavens. Saturation is key to determining value. High quality, untreated sapphires of Kashmir or Burmese origin are the most highly prized and are considered investment grade.

Kashmir sapphires can be traced back to 1881, when a landslide in the northwestern Himalayas revealed outstanding sapphire. By 1887 the deposit was exhausted. Virtually all Kashmir sapphire comes from this initial find. Today they are extremely rare. Kashmir sapphires are a rich, cornflower blue or velvety luminous blue with a silken transparency.

A deep saturated royal blue is the most coveted.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

‘Pigeon’s Blood’ Ruby at Christie’s

The very rare, very precious ruby is 8.11 carats. The ring has a high estimate of $4.5m.
A pair of earrings featuring pigeon’s blood rubies are 5.19 and 5.03 carats. They are estimated to sell for between $2.9m and $4.3m.

Friday, 1 October 2021

Gemstone faceting - Hearts and Arrows

The commercial realities of gem-cutting means there is little emphasis placed on high-quality gemstone faceting. To obtain as great a carat yield as possible from rough, various methods are used to squeeze cuts out of the gemstone while bypassing visible inclusions at the expense of symmetry. Since each carat is real money, gem-cutters and sellers shut their eyes to optical defects.
Gemstone laboratories have systems of grading cuts, but they prefer not to draw attention to it as they don’t want to reduce the appeal of the gemstone. High-quality gem cutting ensures the perfect flatness of facet surfaces that increase a gemstone’s ‘fire’. Fire produces sparkle – light patches of colour different from the main colour of a gemstone – and is one of the advantages of a faceted gemstone. The quality of faceting is not shown in gemstone certificates.
When it comes to diamonds, the hearts and arrows diamond is the masterpiece. What is 'hearts and arrows'? When viewed from the top (crown), an ideally cut diamond should reveal eight symmetrical arrows. When the diamond is viewed from the bottom (pavilion), it should reveal eight symmetrical hearts. Not all diamonds with an ideal cut rating (AGS) or excellent cut rating (GIA) will automatically qualify as a hearts and arrows diamond. The formation of a precise patterning is due to extreme care that is taken when polishing each facet to exact angles and proportions. This level of precision goes far beyond the criteria needed to achieve a “excellent” symmetry rating.
There is a premium placed on super ideal cut diamonds, and while vendors advertise their inventories with fanciful marketing, the details are essential.
The hearts patterning is particularly critical.

Properly formed hearts require super precise facet placements and proportioning. Any slight deviations in facet alignments will show up in the pavilion view.