Diamonds — A precious new asset?
During the recent turbulences in the world's financial markets, diamond companies have started advertising diamonds as a new asset that can hedge against market volatility and be a valuable portfolio component. To put this claim to the test, this article investigates (i) the performance of investments in diamonds of different quality grades, (ii) time-varying correlations between the returns on diamonds and traditional asset classes and (iii) the role of diamonds as a potential diversifier in a world market portfolio. Our results, based on monthly PolishedPrices diamond index data for the years 2002 to 2012, show that in this crisis-ridden period, an investment in a diversified diamond portfolio has outperformed a diversified stock market investment. Additionally, evidence on low time-varying correlations to traditional asset classes highlights that diamonds offer some diversification potential. However, further analysis shows that diamonds can only generate economically significant value in a world market portfolio (by either reducing risk or increasing mean return) when rather high diamond proportions are included in the portfolio.
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