Jewels in new sale seen as financial market hedge

Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:31pm EDT
 
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By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - More than 450 jewelry pieces, including a rare blue diamond, should draw at least $40 million in a Christie's auction this week from buyers seeking to hedge against financial market risk.

Diamonds and colored-stone jewelry prices have shot up 20 percent from a year ago, and record prices likely will be set at this sale, Rahul Kadakia, head of the jewelry department at Christie's in New York, said in an interview.

"A lot of investors and clients who enjoy jewelry have started purchasing important diamonds and gems as a hedge against what's going on in the stock market, against what's going on with currencies," he said.

Diamonds are typically traded in U.S. dollars, which this week weakened to around eight-month lows versus the euro and near 15-year lows versus the yen.

"A lot of people are putting their money into a gem, and then there's the appreciation of the gem and the appreciation of the currency that they buy in," Kadakia explained.

"Jewels: The New York Sale" on October 20 features the Bulgari Blue Diamond, a two-stone ring designed in the 1970s being sold from a private European collection likely for at least $12 million. The ring, which was given as a gift from the collector to his wife to celebrate their first son's birth, was purchased for about $1 million in 1972.

The ring features a 9.87 carat colorless triangular-shaped diamond paired with a triangular 10.95 carat "Fancy Vivid" blue diamond, the largest such blue diamond of this cut ever offered at auction. One in about 10 blue diamonds of this size has a color pure enough to qualify as "Fancy Vivid."

"Ear pendants" designed by Joel Rosenthal, known as JAR, originally owned by actress Ellen Barkin and sold four years ago are being auctioned again for $300,000 to $500,000. Barkin wore the 2-3/4 inch long imperial topaz, ruby and diamond earrings at the 2005 Oscars.   Continued...

 
<p>The Bulgari Blue Diamond, a two-stone ring, is seen in this handout photograph October 18, 2010. The ring, which was designed in the 1970s, is being sold from a private European collection likely for at least $12 million. The ring, which was given as a gift from the collector to his wife to celebrate their first son's birth, was purchased for about $1 million in 1972. It features a 9.87 carat colorless triangular-shaped diamond paired with a triangular 10.95 carat "Fancy Vivid" blue diamond, the largest such blue diamond of this cut ever offered at auction. One in about 10 blue diamonds of this size has a color pure enough to qualify as "Fancy Vivid." REUTERS/ CHRISTIE'S IMAGES LTD. 2010/Handout/</p>