Can Diamonds Really Make a Good Insurance Policy?

It has long been thought that when times are tough, gems are one of the few things you can secretly take with you. After all, it can hide a diamond in your pocket in a way that is a $100 million boat certainly not possiblelike many Russian oligarchs learned last year.

Historical examples and decorations at the beginning of the 20th century reiterated this idea: After the assassination of Tsar Nicholas II and his family in the summer of 1918, it was discovered that young women. they had many diamonds sewn into their pants the bullets were very weak. Of the Romanovs (and their valuables) who were made abroad, there is the legend of the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, who kept her jewels in a secret compartment in her palace of St. employee (or, in other words, an old woman) to bring it back. The Windsors have this 007-worthy op to thank for their Vladimir Tiarathis is one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite crowns.

Queen Elizabeth owed it to the Romanovs—Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, in particular—for her beloved Vladimir Tiara.

Tim Graham//Getty Images

What about the 21st century? Can it slip under the fashion radar again? The answer is difficult, although there is no doubt about the value of keeping the most portable diamonds as insurance. Just ask anonymous customers in the past record sales. In October an 11.15-carat pink diamond brought $49.9 million at Sotheby’s, six months after the house was sold. the largest blue diamond it comes to auction for more than $57 million. It was all done in Hong Kong. Random?

“The use of a $10 million pink diamond can be more than a $10 million painting, which may not have a mass market,” said Lee White Galvis, an art attorney and consultant. artistic services. Although people cannot tell the difference between a 25-carat diamond and another, they will quickly recognize a Rembrandt, and it will be more difficult to sell carefully. Even a high stone can be installed a little for a new expression.

"de beers cullinan blue" Diamonds come to the Sotheby's auction

In April 2022, Sotheby’s Hong Kong sold this blue diamond for $57.5 million dollars.

Michael Loccisano//Getty Images

But jewelry is more than just a hard asset—it’s also a family heirloom. When will that precious stone become an invisible way to pass on the wealth of the family – without leaving a paper trail? “Expensive jewelry is often not revealed in one’s estate,” said a well-known New York dealer with experience. “The heirs just walked away with assets on their fingers and wrists.” More often than not, he added, no one knows that your mother left millions of dollars worth of jewelry tucked away in drawers and boxes in the house.


How to ease the tax burden of a suitable diamond inheritance.

  1. Reviewing: “The value of fashion is relative,” said Russell Zelenetz, a partner at Stephen Russell. Buying a piece of paper for estate tax purposes rather than insurance, may have a higher value.
  2. Get exclusive items: Giving jewelry to an heir while you are still alive, as opposed to incarceration, will have very different tax implications. Better yet, consider a trust.
  3. Or just sell it: This option deals with another problem that often arises when it comes to family meals: everyone is fighting over who gets what.

    Also, when it comes to estate planning, most buyers don’t discuss their precious stones, according to Parker F. Taylor, who focuses on tax law, wealth management , and trusts and estates are the head of Hughes Hubbard’s Private Client Services Group. “It is a class of private assets, and some do not want to share what they have, even with family members,” he said.

    However, Grandma’s JAR and vintage Cartier are in the same category of art or real estate and therefore need to be valued accordingly. If someone leaves a multi-million dollar estate with no decorations reported on the tax return, it will raise a red flag. In other words, don’t try to fool the IRS. “If people don’t follow the law, there will be consequences and penalties,” Taylor said. “A good candidate can dig around, do research, and find out what’s going on.” That old Instagram pic of your nonna drooling over expensive ice cream? They will find it.

    This story appears in the February 2023 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW

    Titled by Jill Newman

    Order jewelry and watches

    Newman writes about jewelry, watches, and luxury travel for Town & Country.

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