• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

A return to the stones

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Until now, gold has been sought after due to its unique blend of near indestructibility, beauty and rarity, and because of its importance as a means of exchange. Today, attention is gradually being shifted from gold to precious stones as a store of wealth and investment. Individuals are now using gemstones as a store of wealth and as insurance against the fluctuations and depreciation of paper money and to protect against other macroeconomic and geopolitical risks.

Investors in this sector say there has not been any other asset in the world which has a universal appeal like gold, yet precious stones are equally appealing to the investment sensibilities of people and this shift is increasing in recent times due to the very significant macroeconomic, geopolitical, monetary and systemic risk facing modern global financial system and economy.

“A thriving investment is all about the diversification and management of risk,” says Treasure Akinisoye, an investment analyst. “In simple terms, it means it is not advisable to have all your eggs in one basket. History has shown that markets can and do crash and if investment is not properly diversified, the egg nest can be severely affected.”

In addition, he explains that the motivation for buying precious stones is fundamental in deciding in which form the investor should buy it. “He should ask himself the following questions: am I a speculator, investor or saver? Do I wish to take a short-term speculative position in precious stones? Am I investing for the short, medium or long term? Or am I diversifying, saving or using precious stones as a form of financial insurance?”

In a bid to tap into the growing market for precious stones, local and foreign jewellers are creating unique jewellery masterpieces with an emphasis on showcasing some of the world’s most important rare gemstones.

Bola3 is one of the local jewellers who work with precious stones and have exquisite collections of rare coloured gemstones. The manager, Bola Allison, has an elite team of craftsmen and designers who work with her to showcase the natural beauty of these remarkable stones through a series of bespoke collections she has in her store at The Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki.

The yearning to acquire uncommon gemstones is growing among both consumers and investors who, aside from their captivating beauty, are driven by a loss of confidence in time-honoured assets as well as a renewed perception of the gemstone as a safe store of wealth, a tangible asset with strong investment potential. Because of this, jewellers like Bola3 have often trusted counsel to customers searching for a piece that provides a wise and strategic investment in the current market.

Today, more Nigerian jewellers are building up an extensive clientele of the most discerning purchasers of jewellery across the world. Kristos Jewellery managed by Freda Edewor and Louise Priddy is one of the latest entrants into the Nigerian gemstone market. What started like a hobby for the duo is gradually being turned into a business empire beyond the shores of the country with Wyclef Jean as the brand ambassador. “Louise and I started Kristos Jewellery as a hobby and we didn’t think we would get this much response from people,” explains Priddy. “Overnight, it has been so popular and there has been a popular demand.”

It is a luxury brand, which Priddy says she hopes will be a longstanding trusted private jeweller to international and local dignitaries, royalty, celebrities and other discerning connoisseurs. For this new venture, she and her partner are creating exquisite pieces with gemstones from Greece. The kind of stones they use are verified and prepared for the atelier. This charts the journey of each gemstone used in their collections and is involved at every stage of the creative process.

Kristos is a Greek word meaning anointed. It also means good luck, love and peace. Those have been the core values of their jewellery line since it began. The jewelleries are all made of precious stones and 18 carat gold. While some are with diamonds, some are not. The uniqueness of the precious stones and designs has endeared many people to the Kristos pieces. And so, the list of their clientele includes D-Banj, Don Jazzy, Wyclef Jean, Joseph Yobo, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, among others, including corporate individuals.

“Mostly, celebrities wear our jewellery line, but it is for everyone who can afford it,” says Edewor. “Our jewelleries are all collectors’ items. When you have gold, diamond and precious stones – those three combined – you should understand the quality of what you want to buy and the price.” The price range varies from a $1,000 to $10,000 apiece. Clients can pay in naira.

Freda Edewor, who is also a collector herself, says she has a long love affair with coloured diamonds and gemstones and it gives her such pleasure to see some of the world’s most incredible rare stones transformed into stunning jewels. “It is a privilege to work with such exceptional raw materials and I am fortunate to have such a fantastic designer in my friend Priddy who works with me to ensure that the collections showcase their natural beauty and incomparable quality.”

In the world today, investing in naturally fancy-coloured diamonds is the fad. Naturally fancy-coloured diamonds are the most valuable gemstones on the planet as determined on a price per carat basis. Although they have no fixed price, their true value will be determined when they are sold at auction.

Rare coloured diamonds are a long-term investment. The economic cycles of the past 15 years have seen coloured diamonds reach new heights in value as price records were broken. Twenty years ago, a one-carat Fancy Intense Internally Flawless Pink Diamond would have sold for approximately $70,000; today, that same diamond would be worth $500,000. The highest price ever paid per carat for a coloured diamond was $1.3 million.

 

FUNKE OSAE-BROWN and OBINNA EMELIKE