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What if we considered gems credible and secure alternative to stock market investments?

Gemstone investing has become an increasingly attractive option for investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

Gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires have been considered symbols of wealth and status for centuries. Still, they can also offer an attractive alternative to traditional financial investments for those who know how to buy and sell them effectively.

However, investing in gemstones can be a complex and risky business. The knowledge and skills needed to assess the quality, rarity, and value of a gem are not easily acquired, and there is often a high risk of buying counterfeits or treated stones. 

Elke Berr, principal of Berr & Partners and a recognized gem expert guides us through this type of investment by detailing the criteria to consider when purchasing gemstones so that investors can make informed decisions when considering investing in this exciting, yet complex market. 

a couple of hands holding a valuable blue gem
How would you define gemstone investing? 

From a regulatory and legislative perspective, gemstone investments fall under the category of hedge funds under the term “exceptional commodities”.

For our part, we like to present them as medium and long-term investments, passion investments, or even safe havens, as the intrinsic qualities of gems make them highly singular and multifunctional.

The oldest investment vehicle in the world and the most compact form of wealth, with no correlation to the stock market, offering an unparalleled level of discretion and mobility, gems are the goods par excellence for diversifying one’s portfolio as well as for preserving or transmitting one’s wealth. 

Is fine jewelry an investment in return or pleasure? 

Pleasure rhymes with investment when it comes to gemstone investment: the pleasure of creating a custom-made piece of jewelry from an investment stone; the pleasure of offering a piece of jewelry; the pleasure of wearing one’s investment, instead of leaving it in a safe. 

But be careful. If the purchase of a jewel or a stone generally rhymes with pleasure, the opposite is not true. In fact, not all investments in stones or jewels necessarily rhyme with a return. It is essential to know certain elements to make a good investment such as the quality/price ratio, buying at the right price, etc.  

How to invest in gems? What advice would you give?  

A very small portion of the gems on the market falls into the category of investment stones. These gems must be untreated, of good provenance, and of good quality; neither too dark, nor too light, nor too included.

The presence of a gemological certificate from a reputable laboratory is also mandatory but is not a guarantee of quality. The presence of a trustworthy partner, established for decades and therefore possessing the knowledge of the stones and the market, is strongly advised – if not necessary – for a responsible and safe investment. 

Diamonds or colored gems. What are the differences?  

While the diamond market is a standardized industry, where prices are set weekly by the Rapaport Price List and large groups (such as De Beers) own both the mines and the distribution systems, the colored gemstone market, made up of small players, is solely dominated by the law of supply and demand. 

Can we be sure when investing in this type of product that we are respecting certain ethical standards? If so, how can we be sure? 

Numerous associations and measures guarantee the respect of ethical, social, and environmental standards in the stone market. In particular, the Kimberley Process ensures that no rough diamonds entering the legal gem trade come from conflict zones. Recent blockchain techniques – of which NFTs are a part – are also disrupting the market and helping to make it more transparent. 

Can you tell us how you select your gems? 

We only work with untreated gems of the highest quality, representing only 2% of the stones on the market. We travel to the mines and buy directly from operators known for their social and community commitments. We also work with second-hand jewelry that has been in private hands for generations. This way we avoid the middleman and guarantee our sources.  

You recently took the step of offering gemstone investments through NFT. Tell us about it… (why, how, etc.) 

We are honored to have been chosen by Galerie Demeritte’s to participate in this concept, which is new in Switzerland and rare in Europe. It is an exciting challenge because it is new. We believe in the future of NFTs and Web 3.0 in general, and we are looking forward to the perspectives they bring to the world of stones and investment. 

elke berr analyzing a gem

Elke Berr  

About Berr & Partners:

Berr & Partners SA is a family-owned gemstone trading company founded in 1986 in Geneva by Elke and Thomas Berr. Specialized in the trade of precious and fine stones of the highest quality and in consulting and art banking, the Geneva-based company offers its clients gemological expertise and decades of experience to assist individuals and professionals in the appraisal of jewelry and the purchase and sale of precious stones. Berr & Partners SA also offers its clients alternatives to traditional investments.  

About Elke Berr Creations:

The high jewelry brand as well as custom creations under the brand Elke Berr Creations were launched by Berr & Partners in 2003. Each piece is unique, set with rare and/or unusually cut gemstones, and designed with a combination of highly sophisticated technical skills and an unconventional spirit.

Designed for all occasions, Elke Berr Creations is available in 3 collections to be worn on a daily basis or for special events. Seen on the red carpets of international festivals, Elke Berr CrĂ©ations pieces have seduced movie stars and the international press.  

About Elke Berr:

Director of Berr & Partners, a recognized gemologist, designer, and trainer, Elke Berr, with over 30 years of experience in the industry and a love of fine and precious stones, launched her own line of fine jewelry and creations in 2003, Elke Berr Creations. She is also a lecturer on gemstone investment and valuation and a trainer. At the same time, she founded Elke Berr Creations where she is the designer and creator of her fine jewelry collections. 

About the author

Driven by a need for clarity and simplicity on all things wealth related, the i-vest team works closely with senior financial experts and advisors to dive deeper into the world of finance, investment and wealth to make it more relevant for you.

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