Luxury jewellery are among the most favoured passion investments among rich Asians, according to Julius Baer.
New findings from the Swiss private bank’s inaugural wealth report examining price trends for luxury jewellery in Asia showed that China remains the most expensive city to purchase luxury jewellery.
The Cartier Love Bracelet made of 18K white gold with 204 diamonds, for instance, cost $48,143 in Shanghai, the most expensive among regional peers.
As mainland rich Chinese continue to invest in top-of-the-line diamonds, coloured gemstones and jadeite as part of portfolio diversification, Hong Kong has in fact become one of the top three jewellery auction hubs for Sotheby’s.
The total value of jewellery auctions in Hong Kong increased from $57.32 million in 2008 to $185.98 million in 2017, Julius Baer said.
‘From our conversations with clients, high-net-worth individuals allocate part of their wealth to jewellery assets such as high-end diamonds,’ said Cindy Tang, managing director senior adviser at Julius Baer.
‘Nevertheless, caveat emptor applies. Returns from collectables may be hard to realise, while the market for precious stones is difficult to predict,’ she added.
Over the years, while fine jewellery have gained traction as an investable asset class, Vintage signed jewellery has also garnered investors’ interest, the Julius Baer Lifestyle Index, tracking the price of luxury goods and services showed.
What’s more, when buying jewellery, Asians have been more focused on quality than size.
‘Asian buyers have always been focused on quality. They would rather have a 10-carat D-flawless diamond instead of a 20-carat F-VVS one. They go for quality instead of size,’ said Quek Chin Yeow, Sotheby’s Asia deputy chairman and chairman of international jewellery.
Last year, Sotheby’s auctioned off The Pink Star, a diamond weighing 59.60 carat, to Hong Kong jeweller Chow Tai Fook for $71.2 million. The Hutton-Mdivani necklace, Julius Baer said, fetched $27.4 million.