Flights of fancy jewels

If you’re looking to invest in a contemporary diamond piece, Helen Clemson suggests it’s the hue you choose that’ll make your next sparkly purchase the wisest yet.
Flights of fancy jewels, photograph by Jenny van Sommers/Trunk archive

At this year’s Baselworld, where leading watch, fine-jewellery, gem and technical-sector brands showcased their wares in Basel, Switzerland, a certain sizeable canary-yellow trinket cast a sunny ray across the exhibition floor. The ‘Eye of the Dragon’ is the largest round fancy intense yellow, brilliant-cut diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It was brought to Baselworld by Scarselli Diamonds. Known for its expertise in fancy canary-yellow diamonds, this family-owned and -run company is based in New York with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. The name was chosen in recognition of the importance of the emerging Asian market and in honour of the much-revered imperial dragon. Despite its impressive size – more than 50 carats – what really made this particular diamond stand out was the stunningly shaded company it kept.

Scarselli Diamonds presented other ‘fancies’, including a vast selection of blue, green and yellow diamonds. Of the collection, partner Bruno Scarselli said he was ‘especially happy to showcase a two-carat vivid green diamond set in a flower ring’. His enthusiasm is most certainly due to the fact that it’s the only vivid green diamond of this size that the industry knows of. ‘We chose to have it set surrounded by D-, E- and F-coloured diamonds and intense pink diamonds that are all GIA-certified’, he added.

Does that make this particular fancy diamond piece even fancier? Well, it does confirm the trend for these hard-to-find diamonds. Closer to home, local houses are witnessing the knock-on effect of demand from discerning jewellery connoisseurs.

This exquisite piece from Shimansky boasts a 7.20-carat radiant-cut natural fancy yellow diamond set in 18-karat yellow gold, with two trilliant-cut side diamonds set in platinum

It’s twofold, says Shimansky’s CEO and founder, Yair Shimansky. He reports that the investor is ‘seeking investment diamonds for currency protection and value appreciation with $150 000 and up to invest’. And then, of course, there’s the jewellery buyer.

They’re looking for something different in diamonds, says Shimansky. ‘Mainly fancy yellows as they are more affordable than the pinks and blues,’ he adds. Of course, if there are no budget constraints, then seeking out a red diamond will add great value to your jewellery collection. ‘A red diamond is the rarest, with one carat currently [priced] at $3 million [and] upward.’

While red may be the rarest of them all, the fairest is all down to perception. The two colours currently at the top of the trend stakes are yellow and pink, so they’re the most in demand, says Monique Erasmus, product and sales manager at First Diamonds. She explains that the craze for pink diamonds far outweighs the global supply, placing them high on the list for a gemstone connoisseur. As for their yellow counterparts, while they too are difficult to source, they are more abundant than some other fancy colours.

‘This also makes them a bit more competitively priced compared with other fancy coloured diamonds,’ says Erasmus. Once you do get your hands on your fancy diamond of choice, it’s wise to choose a cut that flaunts its hue in an unashamed manner. To do this, Erasmus recommends a cushion-cut as it ‘shows off the colour beautifully with its unique light reflection’. Now you know. But also know this: ‘Each rough diamond will determine the best polish outcome to maximise the diamond value by achieving the best colour, carat and value combination,’ says Shimansky. So if you’re not quite sold on a cushion-cut, all is not lost. Perhaps it’s a case of letting the diamond decide how it’s brought to life. After all, it is a rather fancy one.

Visit Shimansky’s website for more information.

By Helen Clemson