Crisis management

The fact that our industry is afflicted by the current financial crisis was to be expected. Yet the speed and heftiness of the blow took many by surprise.

In Bangkok, where at this time of the year jewellery manufacturers normally work around the clock, seven days a week, some companies have already closed shop and gem traders in Asia, Africa and Latin America bemoan dwindling sales.

What is undoubtedly catastrophic for the affected companies could, however, turn out to be a chance for all of us serving the consumer market. We of the Vienna Gem Center are firmly convinced that the increased buying of coloured gemstones is the right counter strategy at present.

Here is a short roundup of our reasons:

Many of those fed up by the stock markets and seeking a more secure haven for their assets, take to buying gold bullions or Kruger Rands. Some, however, take their money to the jeweller's.

The term "investement stone" is on many people´s tip of the tongue again. And rightly so because high end gems excel in stability of value and, with a little bit of luck and stamina, capital gain like no other commodity.

Now most people think of diamonds when it comes to gemstone investment because prices are (more or less) controlled and because diamonds are relatively easy to sell.

Coloured gems, on the other hand, promise to deliver much higher return rates given you buy them at the right time for the right price and don´t have to sell fast and when in financial distress. The latter dilemma is, of course, highly detrimental to any sale, no matter what, coloured gems, diamonds or real estate.

Just think about the prices of Kashmir sapphires and large, high-class Ceylon sapphires thirty years ago or the prices of pink sapphire, pink and red spinel, Paraïba tourmaline and tanzanite ten to twenty years ago!

And what, if not now, when producers and suppliers the world over are desperately looking for buyers and thus are only too willing to negotiate prices, could be a better time?