Jewellery market: 2012 auction review

2012 has seen a dazzling array of fine jewellery come to market, with rare and coloured diamonds once again coming out on top.

A handful of historic pieces have been offered from important collections, the Beau Sancy and the Archduke Joseph diamonds the most notable among them.

Hong Kong, New York and Geneva remain the prime destinations for those seeking to invest in the fine jewellery market - a well established, propitious and exciting area. 70% of the world's wealthiest individuals own precious jewellery, according to Barclays' 2012 Wealth Insights report, a significant increase from 57% in 2007, which makes it the most popular of any treasure asset.

This growth in demand has naturally encouraged increases in value, especially among rare and highly sought after items.  

Top sale

  • The Archduke Joseph diamond achieved $21.5m at Christie's Geneva in November. Its latest sale price represents a 6.5% pa increase since it was last sold in 1993 for $6.5m.
The Beau Sancy diamond

New records in 2012

  • The Archduke Joseph diamond became the most valuable Golconda diamond when it sold in November, breaking the world record price for a colourless diamond at the same time.
  • The previous Golconda record was held by the Beau Sancy (pictured above), which sold at Sotheby's Geneva in May. A smaller version of the Grand Sancy - an internationally important diamond stored in the Louvre - the Beau Sancy brought $9.7m.

See the top 10 jewellery sales in 2012.

It was a breakout year for…


This Graff-designed diamond ring sold at Christie's New York in December

  • Graff. A Graff-designed diamond ring sold for $8.4m at Christie's New York in December. Founded in 1960, Graff now represents the pinnacle of contemporary luxury jewellery design.

 A year to forget for…

  • The Zimbabwean diamond industry. On November 12, the Guardian newspaper reported that Zimbabwe's ruling elite - under President Robert Mugabe - had been involved in large scale diamond plundering. "The diamonds are being mined and sold but the funds are not reaching the Zimbabwean treasury," the British newspaper reported after a Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) report cast light on the situation.

One you may have missed…

Jane Austen ring
Jane Austen's blue and gold ring sold in July

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