5 things you need to know before investing in coloured gemstones

As physical objects gemstones have an intrinsic value, but they are increasingly viewed as a lucrative investment opportunity too. Here Finch Private Client specialist Karen Waugh explains some of the things to look out for if you’re thinking of making an investment.


1. The value of coloured gemstones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds has increased by more than 500% over the last 10 years. And they’re still rising! Low to moderately priced gems can make a good investment as they have greater potential to increase in value.


2. The origins of a gemstone can have a significant impact on its value. The most valuable origin for a ruby is Burma, for an emerald it’s Columbia and for a sapphire it’s Kashmir. Only an experienced gemmologists can tell you with certainty where a gemstone is from.


In 2004 a 30-carat Sri Lankan sapphire sold at Bonhams London for £11,950. A decade later, a similar 30-carat Sri Lankan stone sold for an impressive £326,500. Ruby remains the best gemstone to invest in. Last year a particularly impressive 10.8 carat ruby sold for a staggering £10.8m!


3. The most important physical features to consider include:

  • Colour: consider hue, tone and saturation. The more vibrant the gemstone, the better.
  • Clarity: as few ‘inclusions’ as possible. Inclusions are materials trapped in a gemstone during its formation and most gemstones have some.
  • Carat: gemstones over 1.5 carat make the best investments.


4. It is possible to improve the appearance of a gemstone. Treatments like irradiation, heat, diffusing and dyeing can improve their colour while their transparency can be improved by using organic fillers like oil.


5. If you do decide to invest in gemstones there could be insurance implications if you wear them or keep them at home. Look out for single item limits and speak to your broker if you’re unsure. Your insurer may also require you to take specific measures to protect against theft. Remember that the value of gemstones is likely to go up, so you’ll need regular professional valuations too.


At Finch we take the time to get to know your lifestyle including your jewellery wearing habits, so we can design insurance solutions to protect your most valuable and treasured possessions.


For more information, please contact our Private Client specialist Karen Waugh on 07545 929438 or email karen.waugh@finchib.co.uk


Source: ’Investing in Jewellery’ presentation by Emma Reeves at Jewellery Discovery