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Auctions

Young people dazzled not by diamonds but iPhones, producer in Hong Kong says

Claim comes ahead of auction involving 51.38 carat diamond expected to draw bids starting from US$10 million

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 4:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 10:05pm

Young people are spurning diamonds in favour of Apple products, according to a Russian company presenting its newest collection in Hong Kong and featuring the largest such gemstone to be produced in the country.

Evgeniy Tsybukov of Alrosa, the world’s largest diamond miner, offered the insight as his company revealed its Dynasty collection would have a 51.38 carat cut diamond as its centrepiece.

The collection will be up for auction at the end of November. Bids for the centrepiece, which the company claims is the largest ever produced in Russia, are expected to start at US$10 million.

Tsybukov predicted that experienced investors, collectors and jewellers would vie for the collection, but he said the company saw a trend of young people shunning buying diamonds, even affordable ones.

Young people ... prefer to go to the Apple store to buy gadgets
Evgeniy Tsybukov, Alrosa

“Young people are losing interest in diamonds. They prefer to go to the Apple store to buy gadgets,” he said.

The world’s diamond associations and marketing specialists needed to confront the decline, he added.

A study last year by a US polling firm found 72 per cent of millennials preferred to spend their money on experiences rather than material items, even forgoing traditional diamond engagement and wedding rings.

Parties interested in the high-end diamond collection in Hong Kong will be able to place their bids through a secure web portal at the end of November. Online bidding has grown popular among diamond producers, bypassing traditional auction houses.

The collection was unveiled at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, before making its way to the jewellery expo in Wan Chai. The collection will next be showcased in Israel.

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Alrosa claimed the collection was produced from a single 179 carat rough diamond and took cutting specialists 18 months to create.

The company also claimed to be the only miner in the world to extract, cut and sell its own diamonds.

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“We strategically chose Hong Kong as the location launch,” Alrosa president Sergey Ivanov said. “The Dynasty roadshow is meant to mark our valuable partnership in Asia.”

The recent slowdown in luxury purchases by mainland Chinese had not affected the company’s business, Tsybukov said, and prospective buyers from over the border had expressed interest in the collection.

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A major Hong Kong jewellery retailer was also considering submitting a bid, he added.

The rough diamond was extracted from the Sakha Republic in northern Russia.

Temperatures at the diamond mine can drop to as low as minus 65 degrees Celsius, Alrosa said.