By most measures the dip was moderate. Fancy blue colored diamonds registered the most significant reduction, falling by 1.3 percent. In contrast, fancy yellows were down 0.3 percent and and fancy pinks saw a 0.9 percent fall in price.
In the “vivid” categories in all colors and sizes there was better stability, with an average decrease of only by 0.4 percent. In the “intense” categories the average reduction was 0.9 percent, and the “fancy” categories it was 1 percent.
Established in 2014, FCRF’s stated mission is to empower the trade by providing fact-based support for fancy color diamonds as an asset class. Its data traces back to 2005, when transactional fancy color diamond data was first systematically captured. Using analytical tools, it produces a Fancy Color Diamond Index, tracking prices of yellow, pink and blue fancy-color diamonds in Hong Kong, New York, Geneva and Tel Aviv. It also has introduced a proprietary method to analyze and compare fancy color diamond rarity.
“2020 was a fascinating year, said Eden Rachminov, a member of the FCRF advisory board Wholesalers and retailers alike had to overcome many logistical hurdles in order to finalise simple transactions, while demand for fancy colour diamonds was solid.”
FOURTH QUARTER OF 2020 MORE STABLE
The fourth quarter of 2020 was marked by greater stability. The prices of all Pink diamonds overall remained without a change, with fancy and fancy intense categories presenting a slight increase. The 1.00-1.49 carat and 2.00-2.99 carat segments increases of 0.4 percent and 0.6 percent respectively, with the 2-carat fancy pink showing the highest increase of the quarter , at 1.4 percent.
In the blue color category, 1.5-carat diamonds and 5-carat diamonds stood out, with an increase of 0.5 percent. However, blue diamond prices overall decreased by 0.5 percent during the last three months of the year, led by the vivid goods which fell in price by an average of 0.6 percent. This was due to the soft price of the 1-carat segment during the quarter.
The prices of fancy yellow diamonds during the quarter were stable for all saturations, with the 3-carat segment increasing in price by 0.4 percent. The fancy intense 5-carat segment increased in price by 0.8 percent and the fancy vivid 3-carat segment rose in price by 0.7 percent.
Prices of fancy yellows were down 0.3 percent on average during 2020, but rose across almost all color intensity categories during the fourth quarter of the year.
Interestingly among yellows, the fancy intense 1.5-carat segment showed a decrease of 0.5 percent, while the fancy grade 1.5 carat showed an increase of 0.6 percent.
“I expect 2021 to be a bullish year for yellows, their current price is relatively low, and I think that a price increase is inevitable,” Rachminov said.
The entrance to Argyle’s underground pit. The closure of the Western Australian mine is likely to have a noticeable effect of fancy colored diamond prices over the long term.
MINE CLOSURE TO HAVE GREATER IMPACT THAN COVID
COVID may have been a decisive factor in 2020, albeit less so toward the end of the year, but its long-term impact on fancy color prices is in any case expected to be temporary. Supply, or rather the lack of it, is believed by many to be a more important influence moving forward.
The closure of the Argyle Mine in Western Australia at the end of 2020 is likely to have a major impact. For decades it has supplied up to 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds, so in that category at least prices can be expected to increase significantly over the long term.
“Argyle’s closing is like the death of an artist,” said Larry J. West, owner of L.J. West Diamonds in New York, speaking last year to the New York Times. “After Picasso died, what was his best art worth?”
But that does not mean that fancy-colored pinks will become an impossible to acquire category. What many believe is more likely that the gap in the market left by Argyle will be quickly filled by laboratory-grown diamond producers, who in case will sell their goods at a mere fraction of what one would have paid for a natural fancy pink stone from the fabled Australian mine.