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Bonhams proclaims 2015 as the year of the coloured gemstones
Its April Fine Jewellery sale in London set to light up auction room with colour
By: Diamond World News Service
Apr 11 2015 5:24PM
Reference: 11362  

There has been a growing popularity for coloured gemstones on the red carpet and in the auction rooms, as per leading auction house Bonhams. Thanks to A-List fans like the Duchess of Cambridge, Beyonce, Naomi Watts, Rosamund Pike and Mila Kunis, rubies, sapphires and emeralds are this year’s must-have gems. Bonhams has proclaimed 2015 as the year of the coloured gemstones.

Bonhams notes that although diamonds would never lose their classic appeal, coloured gems are outstripping them in value and enthralling jewellery lovers around the world. Coloured gemstones are also proving to be an investment having outstripped other stones in price gains – some having risen by a staggering 2,200 per cent over the past decade.

In December 2014, Bonhams sold a pair of Cartier art deco ruby and diamond clip brooches, circa 1930, for £482,500 on a pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000. And a single-stone ring by Van Cleef & Arpels, set with a sugarloaf cabochon Burmese ruby weighing 13.34 carats, sold for £350,500 to a Hong Kong buyer. At USD 44,000 per carat this broke all ruby price per carat records in London that year.

Experts at Bonhams are expecting the strong market to be reflected during sales in London at its Fine Jewellery sales in London and New York in April and Hong Kong sale in May. Jean Ghika, head of jewellery in the UK and Europe at Bonhams, said: “I think there is a new move towards colour. Women are bolder in their choices and looking at alternatives to diamonds when it comes to engagement rings and everyday jewellery. They are not afraid to experiment with colour. Women are also in constant pursuit of something truly original, and a coloured stone, where every example is different they are able to have something unique. I think coloured stones like emeralds and rubies are viewed as a bit less formal and more fun and do reflect the wearer’s personality a bit more than diamonds. When combined in ‘tutti-frutti’ form, the results are beautiful. Some of the finest jewels ever created were set with gemstones not diamonds. As ever, fashion is partly celebrity-led and we’re seeing some of the world’s biggest stars looking stunning in coloured gemstones on the Red Carpet.”

Bonhams has tracked a significant increase in the price per carat achieved for coloured gemstones in its auctions over the last decade. Jean Ghika said the attraction to collectors and investors was that such stones appeared to be a very safe investment. She said: “While diamonds are typically seen as the more ‘robust’ area in the gemstone market in terms of seeing a return on investment, figures over the last decade demonstrate that coloured stones have actually overtaken diamonds in terms of growth. Each gem stone is slightly different so small differences in shade, tone, body colour and transparency can have a huge difference in price.”

Sapphires: Recent gemstone sales by Bonhams have include a sapphire and diamond ring, set with a cushion-shaped Sri Lankan sapphire weighing 30.08 carats, which sold for £326,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £80,000-120,000. Ten years previous, a similar sized ring (29 carat sapphire) sold for £11,950. This equates to a 2,600 per cent increase per carat for large Sri Lankan sapphire stones over the last decade.

Emeralds: In April last year (2014), Bonhams London sold a ring set with a Colombian emerald weighing 10.49 carats for £362,500 against a pre-sale estimate of £150,000-200,000.

“Rubies are in most demand and command the strongest prices per carat, followed by Kashmir sapphires and then Burma sapphires and Colombian emeralds.”

In its forthcoming April Fine Jewellery sale, Bonhams will be auctioning a number of pieces featuring coloured stones. Highlighted lots include Emeralds, Sapphires, Rubies

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