Hard assets: The return of rare diamonds and gems

Luc Renneboog, Christophe Spaenjers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This note examines the investment performance of diamonds and other gems (sapphires, rubies, and emeralds) over the period 1999–2010, using a novel data set of auction transactions. Over our time frame, the annualized real USD returns for white and colored diamonds equaled 6.4% and 2.9%, respectively. Since 2003, the average returns have been 10.0%, 5.5%, and 6.8% for white diamonds, colored diamonds, and other gems, respectively. Both white and colored diamonds outperformed stocks between 1999 and 2010. Nevertheless, gem returns covary positively with stock returns, underlining the importance of wealth-induced demand for luxury consumption in collectibles markets.


► We examine the returns on diamonds and other gems using auction data.
► Diamonds have outperformed equities (but underperformed gold) between 1999 and 2010.
► Equity valuations affect the prices of gemstones
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Global Diamond Industry
Subtitle of host publicationEconomics and Development
EditorsRoman Grynberg, Letsema Mbayi
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)9781137537577
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


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