Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ruby & Sapphire; Prices at the Hong Kong Show

Ruby Prices Way Up at Hong Kong

By Richard W. Wise, G.G.


Dateline: Hong Kong:

In the latest issue, The Guide’s Gem Market News announced 2006 price increases in natural unenhanced ruby and sapphire in the extra fine grade at between 50-100%. This follows a 35-100% increase in 2004. The Guide is a trusted industry resource with price grids for most colored gemstones as well as diamonds. Gem Market News is The Guide’s quarterly newsletter. (pictured above: 7794, 1.84 carat heat enhanced "pigeon blood" Burma ruby from our collection)

If the Hong Kong show is any indication this analysis, in ruby at least, is not far off. The strongest increases are in larger stones. This means ruby over 2 carats and sapphire in the 5+ carat range.

Hong Kong is a good place to get a feel for price increases. Many Asian as well as high end European dealers setup in Hong Kong. (Pictured right: 7249, 1.74 cart rectangular cushion, natural Ceylon sapphire with Kashmir like color from our collection)

Ruby prices for both natural and heated stones have shown marked price increases across the board with very little in the ultra-fine category available at any price. Sapphire price increases are a bit spotty and judging from what I saw on offer, more modest than The Guide suggests with some bargains still available. That said, I saw little in natural sapphire from any location to crow about. Almost nothing was available in Hong Kong in world class or connoisseur/collector quality. Fine natural Burma sapphire hardly exists. Even among heated stones there was not much of note. (Pictured left: 7133, Natural round 1.35 carat Burma sapphire from our collection)

Some of the huge ruby price increasing may be the result of strong auction prices. Two rubies in the 8+ carat range sold between 2-3 million at auction in the last three years. This coupled with the fact that the “new” ruby mines at Mong Hsu, the main source for heated ruby, are producing very little above 1.5 carats makes for a much reduced supply.

Overall business at the show was off. From those dealers I spoke with it was clear that 2006 may not be a banner year for the gem trade.

Understand ruby and sapphire from the ground up:

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Amazon June 2005

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