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Color Me Profitable


Nothing says luxury like diamonds in rare natural fancy colors. Despite the declining economy, these unique and rare gems are still in demand. On May 12, 2009, Sotheby’s sold a 7 carat fancy vivid blue diamond for almost $9.5 million, a world record price per carat for any gem ever sold at auction.

Growing education in the value of color diamonds, celebrity trendsetters wearing them on red carpets, and the trend for individuality in personal style are all helping to drive consumer demand for these treasures.

Yellow, cognac, and black diamonds have been particularly hot in Hollywood. At the Golden Globes, Kate Flannery of “The Office” donned a black diamond snake cuff by Erica Courtney and “Heroes” Hayden Panettiere chose a cognac diamond briolette ring by Fred Leighton. At the Oscars, Jennifer Aniston dangled pear-shaped yellow diamond earrings by Bulgari and best supporting actress Penelope Cruz flashed a 21 carat starburst yellow diamond ring by Chopard.

FASHION FAVORITES

Robert May, executive director for the Natural Color Diamond Association says the rapid rise in demand for color diamonds has persuaded jewelry manufacturers to create fancy colored diamond jewelry in a wider range of price points, broadening the market.

Designers from Roberto Coin to Todd Reed are driving the trend, May says. For example, Pratima Sethi of San Francisco-based Sethi Couture uses color to add cutting edge style to designs from classic to couture. May describes her style as “refreshing, brimming with vitality and youth, yet anchored in its sophisticated use of natural color diamonds.” Sethi shades her styles in colors from fancy, intense and vivid pink, canary, fancy yellow and golden, burnt orange, olive, bluish gray, green, cognac, and champagne, sometimes in ombre fades.

Jonathan Landsberg of Landsberg Jewelers in Rye Brook, New York, says that Sethi’s collection appeals to both self-purchasing women and gift-giving men. “She has these long necklaces that mix gray diamonds with black and champagne diamonds, which are not cut in any particular shape, very organic,” he says. “It’s a hot look in a great retail price range from $2,500 to $3,000 that our customers love. We also do well with her fashion diamond rings and earrings in mixed colors like yellow and champagne, in retail prices from $3,000 to $5,000. Especially popular are her hoops in pink diamonds with rose gold or yellow diamonds with blackened gold.”

CENTER STAGE

Although celebrity trends have some influence on consumer demand, the tendency for color in bridal rings is also fueled by the fact that more brides are playing a more active role in choosing their rings. Brides want to differentiate themselves from everyone else, says May, and color can personalize the moment. “Many colors are trending well in bridal like yellows, browns, and pinks.”

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