Summer 2020

With a decreasing natural supply and stronger-than- expected demand, the rare diamond market is glistening.

Round Brilliant Diamond 12.52 Carats, 1 Color VS11 Ideal Cut. Courtesy Bespoke Luxury Marketing

In March of 2020, diamond mines closed. Unlike closures in other sectors of the luxury economy, however, mine closures gave the diamond market the jolt it needed after years of stagnation. Though sales volume suffered in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, the demand for rarer and fancy diamonds soared in the following months. As a result, prices have risen dramatically.

According to the Zimnisky Index, a popular tool used to analyze global diamond prices, formulated each year by industry analyst Paul Zimnisky, global diamond production fell approximately 23% between 2019 and 2021. Before the pandemic, experts had already expected diamond production to decrease between 2021 and 2025, due to oversupply over the last five years. The pandemic, however, resulted in a 20% larger decrease in 2021 than predicted. Consequently, prices for diamonds above three carats rose approximately 20% between 2019 and 2020.

Rough Diamond Price Performance by Size Over Past 6 Years

The price growth for diamonds above 3 carats is starkly greater than for diamonds below 1.5 carats, signaling a higher demand for large, fancy diamonds over commercial ones.

Raymond Sancroft- Baker, Jewelry Consultant at The Fine Art Group and former European Jewelry Director at Christie’s, says that this decrease in global production caused a disproportional surge in demand specifically for large, colored diamonds, the rarest of all mined diamonds, “of which there are only about ten sold at auction per year.” Notably, this contrasts with the lesser demand for small “commercial” white diamonds, for which consumer purchasing power was more negatively influenced by the pandemic.

A “red” diamond is simply a brilliant intensification of pinkness.

Graff Lesotho Pink Diamond. Courtesy Graff

As a result of a heightened interest in large, colored diamonds, a 14.83-carat fancy purple-pink diamond, called “Spirit of the Rose,” sold for $26.6 million at auction in November of 2020. This set a record price for a purple-pink gem and ranked it among the most valuable polished diamonds in the world.

The 302 carat Graff Lesedi La Rona, the worldʼs largest square emerald diamond, was 1 of 67 cut from this 1,109 carat rough diamond.

Left: Graff Lesedi La Rona | Sold $53MRight: The Largest, Highest Color, Highest Clarity Diamond Ever Certified By The GIABefore – 1,109 Carat Rough DiamondAfter – Graff 302 Carat Square Emerald Cut

To be sure, demand for large colored diamonds was not down before the pandemic, per se. Caroline Scheufele, the Co-President & Artistic Director of Chopard, explains that “the increased appearance of important stones that we’ve seen in the last couple of years did not have the adverse effect of lowering value and price, rather it stabilized the market.

Graff Lesedi La Rona Diamond. Courtesy Graff

In addition to the lower supply of diamonds on the market, consumer behaviors shaped by the pandemic also contributed to demand. Joshua Allen, a Principal at Fabrikant, esteemed New York jewelry house founded in 1895, notes that clients who would have otherwise spent money on luxury travel opted to invest in a timeless jewel instead, with the added benefit of safeguarding against inflation. No good on the planet has a similar value-to-weight ratio as a fancy colored diamond, says Zimnisky, which can reach over $1 million per carat, and which can hold its value indefinitely over time.

Prices for diamonds above three carats rose approximately 20% between 2019 and 2020.

Graff Tribal Emerald & Diamond Earrings & Necklace. Courtesy Graff

Looking towards the next few years, industry indices predict diamonds will trade for higher prices than they are today, as diamond production is anticipated to continue to decrease at an average rate of 20% until 2025, from 144 million carats produced globally to about 120 million.

Last year, the $26.6M sale of a 14.83 carat stone broke the record for a purple-pink diamond ever sold at auction.

Fabrikant – Assortment of Diamond Necklaces & Bracelets, 134 Carats Total. Courtesy Bespoke Luxury Marketing

“As long as the market continues to trend in a positive direction, I believe we will see more of these everyday diamond purchases,” says Marc Hruschka, the President & CEO of Graff USA. “For many, it’s a way to celebrate leading a more ‘normal’ life then we have in the last year.” Scheufele agrees; one can “put on a most prized piece and simply enjoy its intrinsic beauty,” she says. Maybe that’s the meaning of true luxury.”

Elongated cuts make the diamond appear bigger and the finger more slender.

Brilliant Cut Diamonds. Courtesy Bespoke Luxury Magazine


The most popular—and most expensive—diamonds are round brilliant cuts. They have the most sparkle and brilliance, as the circle shape encourages rays of light to reflect against different facets in the diamond.


A princess diamond combines the best of both worlds: a square-rectangular shape with a brilliant cut. Princess diamonds are popular as they can work in almost any style of ring, so are often used in engagement rings.


Marquise diamonds have a unique shape, often described as lips or eyes. Due to its elongated shape, this cut creates an illusion that the stone is a greater size, while making the finger appear longer and slimmer.


Combines a square cut with rounded corners, much like a pillow. The cushion cut has been around for almost 200 years, and must be very carefully shaped as minor facets can easily change the stone’s appearance.


A modified brilliant cut, ovals possess a similar fire and brilliance to brilliant cuts, with the added advantage of an elongated shape. A limited supply of beautifully cut ovals has led to a 25 to 30% price increase over the last year.


Emerald diamonds have chiseled step cuts with straight linear facets, producing a hall-of- mirrors effect. Their unique pavilion and large, open table makes them appear larger than a similarly-sized round diamond.


Colored diamonds, also known as “fancy” diamonds, are those whose natural color range extends out of the D to Z color range used by most gemologists to classify the blue and yellow hues in a classic white diamond.

Pink diamonds, the rarest of all colors, get their tint from a “slippage of crystallographic lattice,” explains Raymond-Sancroft-Baker, the Jewelry Consultant at The Fine Art Group and former European Jewelry Director at Christie’s. Pink diamonds are followed in popularity and rarity by yellow diamonds, which retain an over-abundance of nitrogen, and then by blue, which get their color from an increased presence of boron.

“Yellow diamonds derive their color from an over- abundance of nitrogen.”

Raymond Sancroft-Baker, Jewelry Consultant, The Fine Art Group

Fabrikant – Fancy Vivid Yellow Radiant Cut 10.32 Carat, 1.28 Carat Side Stones. Courtesy Bespoke Luxury Marketing

Still, fluctuations in each gem vary within a color. More desirable than pink diamonds are “red” diamonds, which are simply a brilliant intensification of pinkness. In the case of blue diamonds, boron itself is rare, which, depending on its deposits in a diamond, can result in Light blue, Fancy blue, Intense blue, or Deep blue. “The best is Vivid blue, which is super rare,” says Sancroft-Baker.

Chopard Haute Joaillerie Earrings – Two 5 Carat Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamonds, Two 1 Carat White Diamonds in 18k White and Yellow Gold. Courtesy Chopard

“I do have a particular fondness for pink diamonds,” says Caroline Scheufele, the Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard. “For me, pink diamonds exude a fusion of femininity and boldness.”


Unlike the classic vision of an expert gemologist scrupulously analyzing a diamond under the microscope, clarity is not the greatest determinant of a diamond’s value. In reality, collectors may weigh clarity less than cut or color.

Flawless diamonds are stones whose internal lattice structure has no inclusions or irregularities, which appear as small scratches under a 10x microscope. Since inclusions are completely invisible to the naked eye, if one stone has a rare color or brilliant cut, most often it can be appraised at a higher rate.

“The average price per diamond increases about 10-15% with each upgrade in clarity and color grade.”

Robert Cornfield Principal, Fabrikant

Courtesy Bespoke Luxury Marketing




You have Successfully Subscribed!