In an ever shifting diamond landscape there’s one thing we can count on---things will always change. Take the global luxury sector for instance. With all the hubbub swirling about over earth mined -v- synthetic diamonds, the world’s luxury market wisely took its own path and separated itself from the regular guys who sell fake and real diamonds --- whichever they can make money on.
Forecasts & Observations
So what can we expect to see on the immediate horizon? I predict 2023 will be dominated by a great shortage of fine gemstones and true collectible color diamonds.
This in turn, will whet the appetite for top goods amongst Chinese customers who were just recently freed from a two-year forced Covid-isolation. And most importantly, they are now armed with $2.6T – which they stashed away during the pandemic, according to a CNN report. The great roadblock to this flood of spending is the dramatic shortage of fine goods available in the marketplace.
Those legendary gemstone mines in Myanmar remain in lockdown thanks to the ongoing civil war in that country. So no fine rubies or sapphires will be coming from Burma (Myanmar).
Mogok the legendary home of famous Ruby’s
At the same time, Russian diamonds which account for a third of the world’s diamond production can’t really reach the market either since they require a circuitous route all the way to Dubai just to lose their Russian origin. And then they must be cut and polished in India which results in a much too high final price.
Colored Stones in 2023
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2023, just held in early February reported stellar sales in top quality offerings but claimed a more sluggish demand for the rest of the mediocre goods. This signifies a savvier understanding amongst buyers and their customers about colored stones.
The Pink and Red Craze
Collectors are now turning their attention to other fine pink and red gemstones to get their “Argyle” fix. Because of this, we’ve seen prices for fine rubies increase by 30% to 40 % in one year alone.
On the Hunt for Pigeon Blood Stones
It’s not surprising that consumer sentiment is off-times quite the opposite of available goods. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is an old adage we can apply to gemstones as well as the human heart. But with no chance of replacing those treasured Argyle Tender pink and red diamonds now, it has driven up the desire for red and pigeon blood color rubies which are quickly gaining traction.
We went with my old friend, noted ruby and colored stone expert Federico Barlocher on motorbike across the gemstone market in Bangkok looking for those elusive “no-heat rubies”. Sadly we discovered that the market is suffering from a case of anemia caused by a lack of red blood colored goods.
The Brand is the Message
Great luxury brands like Tiffany have shown exceptional growth in sales and profitability. It’s like they opened the windows in every direction to capture the fresh air of business.
On one hand they scooped up the last-of-the last private Argyle Tender with its remaining 35 stones. In doing so, Tiffany soaked up most of the finest Argyle goods from the market. But still, that coup is a small quantity for such a mammoth luxury brand like Tiffany.
Next, they realized they needed to reach out further and reinforce the concept of luxury with a healthy lifestyle. They accomplished that by incorporating a Tiffany - Nike sport shoe into their portfolio of goods. I find the genial move of Andrea Davey, Tiffany & Co.’s chief marketing officer to be brilliant touch. The implication was, “you can wear a million dollar Argyle pink diamond ring and walk around in a Tiffany-Nike sport shoe.
Tiffany-Nike Sports Shoe and Collection of Tiffany Argyle Diamonds
Living a Luxury Mindset
The desire to excel is a powerful human motivator. We all want to stand out from the pack and move around in an exciting luxurious lifestyle. But really, the concept of luxury is a way of life. It’s not dependent on the narrow focus to certain brands.
You may feel in your daily life that you want to indulge in a luxury vacation. It’s fun--it’s natural, and it’s a normal reflection of our deepest desires.
Tiffany’s strategy tells consumers, “If you can’t yet afford $400K on a Tiffany diamond ring, don’t worry! Start with some $400 Tiffany blue sneakers - start to walk before you run.” Brilliant message.
LEIBISH Argyle Diamonds