Findings from the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) have been unveiled, highlighting the growing significance of coloured gemstones.

While jewellery as a whole has had a tough 12 months, decreasing in value by 5%, specific areas of the market have experienced a growth in value.

Unusually, after a decade of very strong growth, pearl jewellery experienced a 13% fall over the past year, while other areas of the market performed stronger than ever. For example, Belle Epoque and Art Deco jewellery saw 9% growth, while post-war jewellery was up 7%.


Moreover, the report states coloured gemstones have outperformed the wider jewellery market – so much so a special issue of the Luxury Investment Index has been dedicated to the performance of these stones

Andrew Shirley, head of luxury research at Knight Frank, shares: ““While diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, it is emeralds, rubies and sapphires that somehow seem more exotic, redolent of the tropical parts of the world where they are extracted from the earth’s clutches.

“The interesting story here is that coloured gemstones are outperforming the wider jewellery market with some significant sales taking place already in 2019.”

At Bonhams’ London sale at the end of April 2019, several coloured gemstone lots blew away their estimates. The top performer was a 17.43-carat Kashmir sapphire ring, formerly owned by a European noble family that fetched £723,063, far exceeding its £300,000 to £400,000 guide price.

The second highest performing lot was a diamond and sapphire transformable necklace by Spanish jeweller, Grassy. Dated to around 1935 and featuring a 34.59-carat Sri Lankan (no heat) sapphire, the necklace sold for £287,562 against its pre-sale estimate of £120,000 to £180,000.

Gemfields chief executive officer, Sean Gilbertson, remarks in the report: The swing towards precious coloured gemstones is overwhelming. The past decade has seen the world record prices for an emerald and ruby surpass that of a colourless diamond on a per carat basis. It surely can’t be long before sapphires overtake diamonds, too.

“We expect vibrant consumer interest and sector growth to continue. Responsible sourcing will receive ever-increasing attention and become progressively more important to consumers, making gemstone provenance perhaps the key driving factor.”

Rare whisky continues to lead the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index by some margin at the end of Q1 2019. No other asset class comes close to the 12-month (35%) or ten-year (563%) growth of the Knight Frank Rare Whisky Index despite the value of whisky falling slightly in the first three months of the year due to oversupply in the market.