DIAMONDS are a girl’s best friend – and maybe an investor’s best pal too.
Rocketing demand from China and India pushed up the value of large three-carat diamonds 144.9 per cent between 1999 and 2011, while five-carat gems soared 171.1 per cent.
Even standard one-carat diamonds have produced an annual return of 11.6 per cent in the past five years.
In the depths of the credit crunch, when shares and property crashed by up to 40 per cent, diamonds of one to five carats lost just a tiny 2.8 per cent of their worth.
And figures from loan firm Borro show there has been a 151 per cent rise in the number of Brits borrowing cash against diamonds in the past two years.
This weekend will see the biggest diamond-buying spree of the year, with sales jumping by 125 per cent as shoppers splash out on dazzling Christmas gifts.
Now canny investors see diamonds as the ultimate investment.
UK diamond dealer Vashi Dominguez, of Diamond manufacturers.co.uk, said: “Diamonds are portable and they don’t attract tax when you sell. They are beautiful, something you can use every day for pleasure… and they keep your wife happy.”
But Dominguez claims many UK buyers are being ripped off by mark-ups of up to 500 per cent on the High Street.
Punters can buy cheaper stones online, he claims — if they make sure the seller is accredited.
If you buy from a shop, it’s worth taking a 10x magnifying lens to see what you’re getting.
Buyers should look out for the four Cs in any diamond — carat, cut, clarity and colour.
Cut is the shape, carat is the weight and clarity is the number of flaws. Colour is graded from D, perfectly clear, to Z, yellowish.
Diamond types predicted to rise in value are shapes such as emerald, cushion and asscher cuts and coloured ones, like the pink engagement gem given to J-Lo by Ben Affleck in 2002.