Brian Menell - Super Rich Turn to Diamonds as Prices Sparkle

By Brian Menell Group, PRNE
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

LONDON, December 15, 2010 - Unprecedented record prices for blue and pink diamonds, and
important white stones, at international auction houses may be just the tip
of the iceberg of a growing trend among the world's super rich to buy large
diamonds as safe and high growth investments.

Brian Menell, former De Beers executive, and former partner of
De Beers in the Venetia Mine (South Africa's largest diamond mine) through
Anglovaal Mining (AVMIN), recently co-founded a boutique advisory business to
assist the ultra-rich with the purchase of important white or fancy coloured

Sotheby's recently broke the world record for a diamond after
a bidder paid $46 million for a rare pink in Geneva. And an anonymous buyer
recently paid $20.5 million for a 14-carat diamond at Christie's in Hong

Brian Menell said: "Diamonds are not only a uniquely
concentrated form of transportable value, but also have a very compelling
investment outlook. Diamonds in general, and important white and fancy
coloured stones in particular, are rare and getting rarer. Many of the
world's large mines are old and production is flat or declining. New
discoveries are few and getting fewer. At the same time demand, particularly
in the big emerging markets, is increasing at a growing pace. There is no
doubt in my mind that price appreciation of polished diamonds over the next
20 years will outpace that of the last 20 years by a factor of 3 or 4 times.

"At the top end of the market, the attractiveness of important
diamonds as investments has been undermined by large retail margins - between
100 and 200% - on the one hand, and the hit and miss nature of buying at
auction on the other. The uniqueness of each stone, and hence the requirement
for expert valuation, and the reputation of the diamond industry for sharp
practices, have also been deterrents.

"My team provide a blue chip, discrete, confidential and
expert service that gives individuals making large diamond purchases complete
comfort with respect to price, origin, and certification. While my main
business continues to be mining and energy projects in Africa, I love
diamonds, and therefore assisting individuals to buy the right stone at the
right price, regardless of whether they want it to adorn there wife or to
hold in a vault, gives me great pleasure.

"While present demand at the super top end of the market
appears to be largely from Russia and the Gulf, Chinese and other Asian
demand is growing fast. Perhaps the rich of Europe and the US are being left
behind in the scramble for the world's great gems.

"Whether for love, ego or greed, it appears that diamonds are
set to grow as a focus for both new money and old."

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