Monday 06 October 2014

Rock Star Prices

Rock Star Prices

Rapaport By Ettagale Blauer
Colored diamond prices are reaching the stratosphere and beyond. Rapaport Magazine takes a look at colored diamond price trends over the past five years.

How does one price a work of art? That is the rhetorical question posed by dealers of singular, large, fancy color diamonds. If there’s an answer, it would seem to be “anything the market will bear.” With lots of new money coming into the marketplace from freshly minted billionaires around the globe, demand is very high. 

The soaring prices are encouraged by the fact that mines continue to dole out fancy color diamonds with an eyedropper. Other than Argyle’s annual 20 million carats of browns, the supply of fancy color diamonds is tiny and likely to become even smaller as older mines produce fewer important colored diamonds.

Unlike white diamonds, where production is relatively predictable, and where color, clarity and cut can be matched to precise price lists to determine value, the unique individuality of colored diamonds makes their pricing much more subjective. The only constant in the colored diamond market is the regular upward trend of prices.

Natacha Langerman of Langerman Diamonds, based in the diamond trading district of Antwerp, Belgium, says there has been a “huge change” in prices over the past five years. “For the rarest colors — blue, pink or green — when you can get them, five years ago, a 3-carat stone was $300,000 per carat. Today, that stone would be $1.5 million to $2 million per carat.” The ever-elusive orange and purple diamonds were $20,000 a carat five years ago. Today, they would command $300,000 a carat. Langerman points to a 14.82-carat orange diamond that fetched more than $35 million at Christie’s Geneva in November 2013, a price she called “completely crazed.”
One of the reasons for the explosive increase in prices is the absolute rarity of pure colors. For this reason, Langerman advises her clients to consider a modified color such as an orange diamond with a yellowish modifier. She points to the small range of grades available for fancy color diamonds as a reason for the pricing frenzy.

“Each colored diamond is different, yet there are only five intensities on the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) color scale,” explains Langerman. This has the effect of awarding two stones with widely varying intensities of yellow the same color grade. For example, “intense” may describe a yellow that sits right on the borderline of the category even though it literally pales next to another yellow with richer body color that still falls within the GIA’s “intense” grading box. This is why Langerman says, “I tell my clients to buy a diamond and not the paper. It’s not good that people focus so much on the description” contained in the gemological grading certificate.
Larry West, president of L.J. West, a colored diamond supplier in New York City’s Diamond District, sees prices for the rarest colors — vivid pink and vivid blue — going up the most. West says these stones have increased at a faster pace than the increase in white diamonds. “Intense pink and blue may have doubled in price over the past five years,” he says. “They are 10 times to 20 times the price of a fine white of comparable size and clarity. Prices on the wholesale market are very strong.”
At the same time, West notes that “Traditional sources have diminished. There is very little coming out of South Africa. There is a demand for anything that is very special in natural fancy colors. Even some of the orangy pink is in demand. People are informed. They are looking to extend their color palette. Retailers are asking for specific colors.”

The auction market lies in a strange middle ground, somewhere between a retail store and a wholesale market. But, when it comes to fine, large, fancy color diamonds, here, too, prices are up and goods are extremely scarce. Rahul Kadakia, international head of Christie’s jewelry department, says, “Colored diamonds are rarer and will get extremely expensive. In October 2010, the Bulgari Blue — a triangular-cut fancy vivid blue VS2 weighing 10.95 carats — set in a two-stone ring with a white diamond, sold for $15,762,500 at Christie’s New York. The Winston Blue sold for $23,795,372 at Christie’s Geneva in May 2014 — almost $1.8 million a carat.” Comparing those two stones, the price of a vivid blue increased by 25 percent in less than four years.
Vivid pinks, Kadakia says, are “up 25 percent” in that same time period. “Five years from now, it will be the same increase again.” As for green and orange? “You cannot find them” at any price, he says firmly.

The fancy colored stone industry often waits a long time for a special stone to come out of a vault. Consider the 14.82-carat VS1 pear-shaped fancy vivid orange that was sold at Christie’s Geneva in November 2013. “The seller had owned it for 30 years,” says Kadakia. “Thirty years ago, maybe it was $2 million to $3 million total price. Now, it’s that much per carat.” The stone sold for $35,540,612, setting a world record price for an orange diamond. The $2,398,151 price per carat also set a record at auction for an orange diamond.
Even at that stratospheric price, there was no buyer’s remorse. Two days after the sale, the underbidder called in to ask if the new owner was interested in selling, at a profit. The answer was “No. We love it.”
Well-saturated pinks are in their own price bracket, agrees Alan Levy of J. & S.S. DeYoung, a New York City dealer in fine antique goods. “Seven years ago, we sold a 14-carat intense pink diamond. If the buyer was going to buy it from me today, it would cost four times as much — just under $20 million.” Virtually all of J. & S.S. DeYoung’s goods come from estates. With private dealers, everything changes hands “quietly,” Levy notes, out of the glare of the auction market. “In every town in America, there is a family-owned jewelry store or two. Retail customers will walk in and offer something for sale. The retailers turn to us because they don’t have the expertise or experience with this kind of merchandise.”

Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby’s New York jewelry department, compares prices of fine yellow diamonds against whites of comparable size and notes an intriguing difference. At the 3-carat to 5-carat level, he says, both a white and a yellow might go for $50,000 to $75,000. When you get to larger stones, though, he says, “A 10-carat white might be $650,000, while a 10-carat intense yellow will fetch $250,000 to $300,000.” The disparity in price between white and yellow increases with size.

At the other, smaller end of the spectrum, prices are also up dramatically. Harsheel Shah of Prigems in Los Angeles offers melee ranging from one-half point up to 10 points in a “big range of yellows and browns.” The quality of the melee, he says, is “very high end.” Colors range from fancy light to fancy intense yellows. “Fancy yellow melee is priced at $1,000 to $1,500 a carat. Five years ago, it was half the price.” Prigems maintains its own cutting factories in India, with 50 to 75 cutters working exclusively on fancy color diamonds. “This helps in keeping costs down,” he says, “because we’re not competing with everyone else who can only buy cut stones.”
Prigems deals only with natural colored diamonds and tests the material often to be sure no treated stones have made their way into the parcels of rough. It helps, Shah says, that “we are close to the source. Our stones haven’t had a chance to be tampered with. For companies buying finished products, you don’t know where the supply is coming from.”

Availability is at the heart of the pricing equation. Raphael Maidi of Maidi Corp. in New York City says, “There is bigger competition for the stones coming from China, India, all over Asia. There is more demand.” Although prices dropped during the recession, today, he says, “prices are up 20 percent to 25 percent on fine goods. On high-quality stones, prices are double. Commercial qualities are about the same.”
Maidi deals in stones from one-half carat up to 15 carats to 20 carats. While yellow diamonds are available, he says, “it’s a bit more difficult to get matching stones.” As for blues, “they’re scarce and prices are very high. When I can find something nice, I buy it, even lower quality, but generally, blues are overpriced.” Though Maidi says he doesn’t see a “correction coming,” referring to a price decline, anytime soon, he notes that “There has to be a point where prices are unsustainable.” Pinks are more available, he adds, at least compared to blue, with lots of demand. “Prices are probably double for pinks in any size, from melee up.”

While prices for natural colored diamonds have escalated, even treated colored diamonds are more expensive than they were five years ago. Nilesh Sheth of Nice Diamonds in New York City says his treated stones satisfy the very large part of the market that cannot afford natural color. In general, he says, “The price differential between natural and treated can be ten times, depending on the color and size.”
Some colors are more difficult to achieve, and therefore more expensive, in treated stones because the starting material is more expensive. Pinks, for example, are more difficult to achieve while blue, yellow and green are easier. Prices of treated diamonds have increased by 10 percent across the board in line with the increase in the price of natural diamonds.Sheth says it’s important to make sure all the paperwork relating to the sale of treated diamonds specifies they are enhanced or treated. “We want the retailer to know,” he says. “Even our packaging indicates ‘color enhanced.’” The irradiation treatment used on these stones is indicated on the certificates and the girdle is laser inscribed by GIA. The treatments, he adds, are permanent.
With mine production of natural fancy color diamonds limited and no new sources on the horizon, coupled with ever-increasing demand, it doesn’t take a crystal ball to forecast higher prices continuing into the future. As Henri Barguirdjian, president of Graff USA, says, “How many Michelangelos are there?”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - October 2014. To subscribe click here.

Step into the mesmerizing world of natural Pink diamonds, synonymous of elegance and sophistication. These exquisite gems have stolen the spotlight in the realm of fine jewelry, captivating the hearts of fashion enthusiasts around the globe. 

In this article, we’ll explore the enchanting features of Fancy Pink diamonds, uncovering their origins, possible tones, and the growing fascination around them. As we delve into their unique characteristics, you’ll learn how they compare to other popular pink gemstones, revealing the distinct advantages that set them apart.

The Origin Of Their Mesmerising Hues

Fancy Purple-Pink diamond from Langerman Diamonds.
0.11 ct Radiant Pink VS diamond.

Fancy Pink diamonds are the result of a remarkable geological process that lasted millions of years. During their formation process, atomic traces of minerals such as hydrogen, nitrogen, or boron were introduced into their crystalline structure, resulting in impressive hues.

However, another scientific theory states that the pink hue comes from a deformation in the crystal lattice of the stone, a phenomenon caused by extreme pressure.

Whichever the cause, thanks to our Earth’s natural transformations, today we get to enjoy the exceptional shades of Pink diamonds.

Fancy Intense Purple-Pink diamond from Langerman Diamonds.
0.22 ct Pear Pink diamond from Argyle, Australia.

From delicate pastel tones reminiscent of blooming cherry blossoms to intense, vivid shades that command attention, natural Pink diamonds offer a diverse palette of hues that ignite the imagination.

Rarity And A Growing Fascination

The allure of these unique stones lies not only in their enchanting beauty but also in their rarity. 

Fancy Intense Brownish Pink diamond from Langerman Diamonds.
0.13 ct Marquise Rosé VS2 diamond from Argyle, Australia.

As luxury enthusiasts and jewelry connoisseurs seek to come in possession of the most exclusive and coveted pieces, the interest surrounding fancy pink diamonds continues to grow. With the recent closure of the renowned Argyle mine in Australia, a significant source of Pink diamonds, their scarcity has skyrocketed.

Pink Diamond’s Unparalleled Properties

Fancy Intense Brownish Pink from Langerman Diamonds.
0.32 ct Oval Pink diamond from Argyle, Australia.


The refractive index of a diamond is approximately 2.42. This high refractive index is one of the factors that contribute to the exceptional brilliance and sparkle that diamonds are renowned for. The high refractive index allows diamonds to bend and reflect light in a way that creates maximum dispersion and brilliance, resulting in their captivating play of light and fire. It is this unique optical property that sets diamonds apart from other gemstones and contributes to their timeless allure and desirability.

0.35 carat Trapezoid Step-Cut Raspberry diamond with GIA report.


Diamonds are renowned for their exceptional hardness, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale, which is the highest possible rating. This remarkable property makes diamonds highly resistant to scratching and abrasion, ensuring their longevity and durability even with daily wear.

Split-shank Pink diamond engagement ring with double halo by Langerman Diamonds.
Pear-shaped Pink diamond ring with double halo.

The hardness of a diamond contributes significantly to its value. Diamonds are prized for their ability to withstand the rigors of everyday use without losing their beauty or succumbing to damage. This durability ensures that diamond jewelry, such as engagement rings and heavily worn pieces, can be cherished forever and passed down through generations.

What About Other Pink Gemstones?


This pink gemstone is often used in jewelry for its vibrant color. Pink tourmaline can be found in various parts of the world, including Brazil, Afghanistan, Mozambique, and the United States. Each location may produce unique variations in color and quality, making it more complicated for the regular customer to understand how to measure and compare characteristics.

Tourmaline ranks 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs' scale of hardness, making it moderately durable, but relatively softer compared to Pink diamonds. With a refractive index between 1.624 and 1.644, pink tourmaline exhibits a good amount of brilliance and light dispersion.

Pink quartz

This mineral showcases a soft, delicate pink hue that does not typically offer much sparkle. There are multiple levels of transparency available, from very translucent to milky opaque or smoky with yellow or brown undertones.

Scoring a 7 on the Mohs scale, pink quartz is relatively durable and suitable for some types of jewelry. However, it is still important to protect it from impact, and best suitable for earrings and low-wear pieces.

Pink Sapphire

The intensity of its color depends on the place of origin and the combination of trace elements present within its crystal structure.

With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, pink sapphires are very durable and resistant, making them suitable for all kinds of jewelry pieces. However, they are more prone to scratches than diamonds.


Kunzite is quite affordable because it’s relatively unknown although it can be found in many places like Afghanistan, Brazil, Madagascar, and the USA.

Like most color stones, kunzite can be undergo irradiation or heat treatments to enhance its color. Exposure to heat and bright light can cause color in both natural and treated kunzite to fade over time.


Most morganite deposits are found in Brazil, but the highest quality specimens come from Madagascar. Typically, morganite enjoys a high transparency with minimal inclusions resulting in clear, polished stones.

Scoring a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, Morganite is safe and durable enough for jewelry.

Your Best Choice: Pink Diamonds

Fancy Intense Orangy Pink diamond from Langerman Diamonds.
0.29 ct Shield cut Pink diamond from Argyle, Australia

There are multiple options to choose from to create a jewel with pink gemstones. However, they all fall short when compared to the durability and brilliance of natural Pink diamonds. With sources becoming more scarce while demand continues grows, Pink diamonds keep appreciating in value making them a better financial choice when compared to other gemstones which tend to loose value in the resale marker. Pink diamonds present multiple advantages for their investment potential and as a valuable asset to be passed on for generations.

Bespoke Pink diamond ring by Langerman Diamonds.
Emerald cut Burgundy diamond set in a ring with channel-set and pavé-set white diamonds.

When purchasing color gemstones, it’s important the buyer requests a professional laboratory report that discloses any enhancements to make an informed decision. Unfortunately for most consumers, it’s hard to find full-detailed information on a finished jewelry piece and it requires additional effort and inquiries to confirm the quality of a gemstone.

Langerman Diamonds has over 50 years of expertise in sourcing and trading natural color diamonds. Explore our online inventory and contact us to learn more about the purchasing process.