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Market Outlook

Securing Value in Today’s Market  

As a high jeweller, advisor and collector, I’ve always got one eye on the market. In the past 12 months, we’ve seen some volatility, particularly in white diamonds, thanks in large part to the state of the global economy. But there is still upside in both diamonds and gemstones, for those who know where to find it. In terms of market outlook, there are a number of categories I believe will outperform and offer collectors impressive long-term gains. 

Tastes have evolved, post-pandemic

Ever since the outset of Covid, we’ve seen a powerful shift in consumer behaviour. With the luxury of time, our clients, and enthusiasts in general, have turned to education, demonstrating a strong appetite for diamond and gemstone knowledge. In the course of that self-education, they’ve changed their whole approach to jewellery, asking questions now as informed collectors and with a sophisticated taste level to match.

If we use the analogy of wine, they’re not just asking for a particular vintage, they want to know about the environment, the weather outlook and soil conditions during the growing season. In other words, the information needed to find the perfect grape. But even with that knowledge, it’s not always an easy pick. In jewellery terms, it’s actually very simple; the answer is, and will always be, rarity. Nothing represents better, consistent value than something which is limited or unique.

Understanding rarity and how that translates into value is a speciality at Ronald Abram. For decades, our reputation has been built on the quality and excellence of our stones, with provenance, rarity and beauty at the heart of every acquisition. And today, collectors better understand how these three elements factor into making an astute jewellery investment. So, where exactly should they be looking? 

Antique stones and jewels are gaining momentum

In recent years, we have redoubled our focus on antique stones and jewels, successfully anticipating the increased interest in these collecting categories. Last year, estate jewellery, antique diamonds, unheated Mogok Burmese rubies, Kashmir sapphires and Old Mine emeralds all performed well. For example, Kashmir sapphires have shown a 20-25 per cent increase in value over the past two years, with larger stones(10 carats and above) of exceptional quality appreciating even more. 

A good example of how rare antique diamonds are becoming, and how much their value has increased, is reflected in our famous Old Mine necklace. This stunning piece took 10 years to create and features more than 140 carats of old mine cushion cut diamonds. Today, it’s unlikely we’d be able to remake this piece, there are simply not enough stones of this size and calibre to create it. This alone demonstrates the intrinsic value of antique diamonds, which should therefore be on every savvy collector’s radar.

The same can be said of rare estate jewellery. Over the past year in particular, our estate acquisitions have reflected the growing interest in unique, signed and unsigned pieces, some of which have belonged to well-known families or formed part of important collections. The value of such pieces will only increase over time as the appetite for seminal estate jewellery continues.

Of course, we can’t talk about market rises without also acknowledging market falls. While the market for newly mined diamonds took a downward turn in 2023, I believe pricing has now stabilised. That said, our focus will remain on antique diamonds and gemstones, including Old Mine emeralds, Kashmir sapphires and unheated Mogok Burmese rubies. These can only be acquired from off-market sources and private collections, two areas which we specialise in. 

Over the past 50 years, I’ve built a network of the world’s most important collectors. When they want to sell a piece, they come back to where they acquired it.

- Ronald Abram

The jewellery landscape in Hong Kong 

There is little doubt that 2024 is going to be a challenging year for the luxury industry. Beyond the attention-grabbing headlines stating that certain luxury groups witnessed record global sales in 2023, individual markets tell a different story. Dealers in Hong Kong are expecting a bumpy year ahead, with a fundamental shift in the mindset of consumers. More value-conscious than ever before, they have educated themselves and are looking to invest their money wisely in pieces which are not readily available. 

This careful approach to collecting is being mirrored in other alternative asset classes, such as art. “Collectors are becoming more discerning and intentional in their choices,” says UBS’s Chief Economist Paul Donovan in The Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collectors 2023. “They are spending not just their money, but also their time, delving deep into research to ensure their acquisitions truly resonate with their values.”

With clients prioritising uniqueness, my predictions for 2024 inevitably revolve around rarity. The heroes this year will be the antique gemstones and estate jewels of peerless quality that are our signature at Ronald Abram. Seeing the strength in appetite for these highly sought-after treasures should give both collectors and the market reason to be optimistic for the year ahead.

If you wish to discuss your collection strategy, please contact us to set up an appointment.