Traditionally, jewellery is considered a personal treasure not an investment, something you get to wear that makes you feel special and which you’ll eventually pass on to your heirs or loved ones, who will also pass it on to theirs. Most of us imagine a pretty necklace and fancy earrings that you love wearing during the holidays will remain in your family for future generations to enjoy.
While there’s no reason your favourite pieces of jewellery can’t become heirlooms, there’s also no reason why you shouldn’t also think of at least some of your gemstones as a potential investment. Unlike stocks and bonds, you can always wear and enjoy your coloured gemstones until you decide it’s time to trade them in for cash that helps you through your retirement.
Why You Should Consider Investing in Coloured Gemstones
When most people think about investing, they think in terms of stock markets, business partnerships, and real estate. In some ways, investing in coloured gemstones is a lot more fun. While the value of your gemstone collection might decrease during recessions, the decline won’t be nearly as severe as if the stock market falls, nor will you experience so many ups and downs. In fact, during recent recessions, the market value of many coloured gemstones has increased as investors seek alternative stores of wealth.
Another advantage is that the stones are small and easy to move. Perhaps the best thing about deciding to invest in coloured gemstones is that you can have each of the stones placed in a beautiful setting and wear them anytime you want, which makes them a beautiful and smart investment.
The Switch to Coloured Gemstones
Investing in gemstones is hardly a new concept. People have been doing it for centuries, but one thing has changed. Traditionally, most gemstone investors focused their attention on diamonds and ignored the potential investment value of coloured stones. That’s changing. The four coloured gemstones that considered sound investments are:
Coloured gemstones have always been around but started to really gain popularity when John F. Kennedy ignored a nice selection of diamonds and selected a lovely emerald for his fiancée, Jackie’s, engagement ring. Desperate to be like this handsome couple, young couples flocked to jewellery stores and demanded emeralds. The pretty green stone’s popularity has steadily risen ever since.
Today, emeralds are a good choice for anyone who is interested in investing in coloured gemstones but lacks experience. The biggest advantage of investing in emeralds is that flaws are more readily acceptable in emeralds than any other type of gemstones. That doesn’t mean clarity doesn’t matter, just that a small inclusion doesn’t cause the stone’s value to plummet.
The five big factors investors want to consider when investing in emeralds are colour, size, clarity, origin, and enhancement. Where the emerald was mined plays a massive role in its overall value. The most prized emeralds are mined in Columbia. It’s not unusual for Colombian emeralds to cost up to 30% more than emeralds mined in other parts of the world.
Rubies are another popular choice. Investors love rubies, particularly rubies that were mined in Myanmar (Burma,) which is where 90% of all rubies are found. According to some sources, the most prized rubies, the ones that are what jewellers consider top colour is extremely rare, so rare the IGS is unable to provide any trade data. However, a 25.59-carat Ruby that was judged top colour was sold in 2015 for a staggering $1,000,000 USD per carat.
Rubies collected from Myanmar mines command the highest price, in large part because these rubies have the most brilliant colour. The reason the Myanmar rubies are so brilliant is that the mines in that region have low iron content. The value of rubies mined in other parts of the world is typically two or three times lower than that of the Myanmar rubies.
True, high-quality sapphires are rare which is what makes them a good investment. The traits that drive up the value of sapphires include colour, hardness, lustre, saturation, and durability. The best sapphires are the ones that have are pure blue and with vivid saturation. These stones should be very shiny and look royal blue, not the pale or greyish colour most sapphires adapt. Sapphires that came from the Himalayan Mountains near Kashmir are considered the most valuable.
Spinel is the least well known of the coloured gemstones investors like. The purest of spinel gemstones are clear, but most have impurities that give spinel gems a wide range of brilliant colours. The most valuable spinel stones are red which are often mistaken for rubies. Even though spinel is harder to find than rubies, the gem has never gained the widespread popularity of rubies, which has resulted in a value that’s approximately 30% lower than a ruby of equal size and quality.
While emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and spinel are attracting the most attention from people who are interested in investing in coloured gemstones, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to those stones. Other gemstones you may want to consider include:
- Green Tsavorite Garnets
- Orange Spessartine Garnets
How to Invest in Coloured Gemstones
When you decide to invest in coloured gemstones there are a few rules you need to live by.
Be Aware of How Much Your Spending
When you decide to invest in gemstones have a clear idea of what your budget is and stick to it. It’s in your best interest to shop around and find dealers who will give you a good deal on quality gems. You’re going to have the gemstones for a long time so make sure you really love what you’re buying.
Always Get the Gemstones Appraised
Not all dealers and jewellers are honest. Some will tell you they’re selling a genuine Myanmar ruby when it’s actually a lab-generated ruby. You need to know exactly what you’re getting which is why you need to arrange for an appraiser who doesn’t have any stake in the stones to inspect the gemstones you’re considering and confirm their authenticity. The appraisal will add more upfront costs to your investment, but in the long run, they could save you a great deal of money. It’s better to know exactly what you’re getting instead of finding out that you have a significantly less valuable jewel when you try to sell it.
Don’t Shy Away from Less Than Perfect Gemstones
While perfect gemstones make the best investments, that doesn’t mean you should automatically walk away from gemstones that aren’t perfect. While they won’t net the highest price when you decide to cash in on your investment, imperfect but still high-quality stones still appreciate in value and will attract interested buyers. There have even been instances when an investor has found that selling not-quite-perfect stones has been easier than finding buyers for their top-quality stones. The trick is figuring out which inclusions are acceptable and which inclusions aren’t.
It’s Not a Short-Term Investment
Gemstones aren’t stocks that will rise rapidly in value, allowing you to sell them shortly after you’ve purchased the stones and make a tidy profit. When you purchase gemstones, be prepared to hang on to them for several years. The longer you can hold onto the stones, the more they’ll appreciate in value, and the higher the return on your investment will be. Some experts recommend thinking of investing in coloured gemstones like a portfolio. You are collecting pretty stones that you like and eventually, you’ll sell the entire portfolio.
Good Buyers Take Time to Find
When you’re ready to sell the gemstones be prepared for it to take some time before you find the right buyer who is willing to meet your price. Don’t expect to sell all your coloured stones at the same time. Most investors find that they get the best price when they market the stones individually. They often sell to people who are interested in investing or who are looking for a specific stone.
If the stone is set into a piece of jewellery, you may have to update the design so that it meets current fashion standards before you market the piece. While stones and good jewellery never go out of style, different types of settings do. Taking the time to have the pieces redesigned and reset shortens the amount of time it takes to find a buyer and increases the amount you can expect to get from the sale.
Visit Haruni Fine Jewellery and Gemstone Shop
Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring to give to the love of your life or some coloured gemstones that you’re adding to your investment portfolio, you can’t go wrong when you come to Haruni Fine Jewels. For three generations, we’ve been working with some of the finest gemstones in the world and turning them into stunning pieces of jewellery.
Many of our creations have become precious heirlooms. Contact us to learn about our responsibly sourced coloured gemstones. We have a solid relationship with many gemstone sources which increases the chances of us having access to the gemstones you want to add to your investment collection. We are not financial advisors and cannot guarantee any returns on gems bought, but we have the experience and the sources to know when a gemstone is priced well and what makes the good value in the gem world. We are happy to share that knowledge with you.