Jewelry Biz - Change Happens at Christie's

An essential part of keeping up with the estate jewelry business is monitoring the auction results at Christie's, Sotheby's, Bonham's, etc.  and after watching the big fancy colored diamonds going for bigger and bigger numbers, we were a little surprised  to see that the big pink failed to sell at the latest Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction yesterday in New York. In fact the results from the entire auction were a little weak.

A Fancy Vivid Purple-Pink Cushion-Cut Diamond 10.09 carats

Estimate: US$12-15 million

From Reuters
Pink Diamond Fails To Sell
NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) – A more than 10 carat purplish-pink diamond expected to fetch up to $15 million failed to sell at Christie's Magnificent Jewels auction on Tuesday which took in a total of $31.8 million.
"We were disappointed that the 10-carat purple-pink diamond did not find a buyer, (but) top-quality white, blue, pink and yellow diamonds fared very well," said Christie's head of jewelry in New York, Radul Kadakia.
He added that a Fancy Vivid blue diamond sold for $3.67 million, or more than $1 million per carat which exceeded it high estimate.Five jewels topped the $1 million mark. Christie's said the sale saw heavy competition among both trade buyers and private collectors for colorless diamonds, large gemstones and signed jewels.
But the 10.09 carat Fancy Vivid cushion-cut was expected to be the sale's highlight, with prices for large pink diamonds, the most expensive colored diamonds on the market, having skyrocketed in recent years. Fewer than 10 percent of all pink diamonds mined weigh more than .20 carats.

And why have big pinks been so desired by collectors?
From the Christie's website
In recent years, prices for top-quality colored diamonds have increased rapidly, driven by both collector demand and increasingly limited supply. Pink diamonds of this type gain their highly desirable color as a result of a rare, naturally-occurring slippage of the crystallographic lattice in the stone while it is forming deep within the earth’s crust. Only a few mines in the world produce pink diamond rough, and of the stones that are cut and polished, only one in about 10 million diamonds will possess a color pure enough to be graded as “Fancy Vivid”.

For more on historic Fancy Pinks and their per carat price click here

Is the market saturated with big fancy stones?
Is this a signal of a turning point in demand?
Are the Chinese taking a break from taking over the world?

I don't know the answer to any of these things but with inflation apparent in all things from the price of gold and basic commodities to gemstones and jewelry, maybe it's a good thing to have a brief correction in the market.

And on the topic of inflation....did you know that if we calculated the inflation rate using the pre 1980 methodology the real rate would be 10%.
“Given ongoing inflation problems with food and the spreading impact of higher oil-related costs in the broad economy, reporting risk is to the upside of consensus expectation,” said Williams, citing a 10 percent jump in gasoline prices in March, in the note.

“While the federal government would have us believe the numbers are rather tame, our own personal gauge leads us to believe inflation is running between 5 percent to 6 percent annually,” wrote Alan Newman in his latest Crosscurrents newsletter that refers to Williams’ statistics.

Has your personal gauge been telling you that prices have been going up regularly now for years?
Mine has.