Calvin Lo says pricey gems are a buffer against global economic uncertainty!


For future financial planning, it is crucial to be aware of the assets worth examining given the world economy’s more unpredictable appearance. While emerging markets like cryptocurrency have once again reminded us that rapid climbs are frequently followed by even faster declines, stock markets throughout the world have demonstrated uncertainty. The prospect of a global recession, too, is continuously growing. 

Calvin Lo recent activities are intriguing since it might be useful to keep track of what large investors are doing in this newly developing moment of economic instability. One of the most reclusive billionaires in the world, Lo recently acquired the Williams Formula One Racing Team and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Taipei. Lo has built a career on making wise and profitable investments. Given his track record of success, his previous movements can provide some insight into steps we can take to preserve our assets in the future.

Highly Collectable Jewelry

A consortium that will be committed to investing in rare and extremely desirable jewelry is being led by R.E. Lee Octagon, a private investment firm owned by billionaire Calvin Lo.

Lo’s US$10 billion Singapore based asset management fund was not a participant in this “Legacy Jewelry Fund,” but his individual contribution, combined with that of other investors of US$1.1 billion, made it one of the largest funds in the world devoted only to the purchase of rare and extremely collectable jewelry. The demand is very high according to Hong Kong media, which Lo is now building up tranche 2, in which Lo’s primary fund may participate.

Lo is the richest person you have never heard of—the most secretive billionaire in the world, and someone who avoids the spotlight almost compulsively. He has a personal fortune of US$1.7 billion, based on a Forbes estimate; rumour has it that when he was first included in its rich list, his staff petitioned the magazine to leave him out. The iconic Williams F1 Racing Team, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Taipei, and his US$230 million champagne collection are just a few of his high-profile acquisitions that have drawn attention in recent years. Many claim that he has the Midas touch, and is able to make money from everything he sets his mind to. Lo was able to fund an astounding US$1.1 billion in a short of months, which is not surprising. 

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Lo summarizes how to tell whether an item is investment-worthy in his leaked email to investors: it should be old, of high quality, in good shape, gorgeous, and signed by the manufacturer. Lo wants to select items from a house’s greatest era, say 1920 to 1930, for certain designers, which virtually goes without saying. This implies that instead of 80 years’ worth of selections, in certain circumstances you only have 10 years’ worth to gather. According to sources close to Lo, only three names stand out above the rest for him: Bulgari, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels. And rumors have it that he already has a sizable personal collection from them. While most historic houses are solid investments, Belperron, Oscar Heyman, and Harry Winston are the only three who stand out for him. 

Each has experienced a golden age. These would be the 1960s La Dolce Vita era for Bulgari. Along with its 1960s and 1970s designs, Van Cleef & Arpels is renowned for its Art Deco era pieces. Among the most recognizable items from the house of Cartier are its Art Deco designs from the 1920s and 1930s, including the fabled Tutti Frutti.

Jewelry naturally has worth in and of itself. It is formed of precious stones including diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires that are set in platinum, gold, and silver, all of which have intrinsic value. Many items also have sentimental significance since they were gifts from loved ones or received on memorable occasions. The most valuable items, however, go beyond the worth of their metals and diamonds because of their degree of artistry and exclusivity, which distinguish them from the lovely ornaments that are made every year. These are not your typical jewelry items that a mall jeweler could offer for sale. In fact, it would be difficult for buyers of these items to witness a considerable increase in value over time. 

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Investing for the Future 

The 2022 Hurun Chinese Luxury Consumer Survey of Chinese HNWIs, which was published earlier this year, found that 92 percent of of the nation’s wealthy people have a collecting habit, with jewelry remaining their most favored collectable. The market prognosis is positive, and Lo appears to, once again, be far ahead of the curve.  Although Lo is regarded as a leader in the financial industry, he is undoubtedly not the only one who has noticed a move toward expensive collectable jewelry. 

Despite the fact that it appears that Lo is once again entering a market at the perfect time and that many high-net-worth individuals are also realizing the value of such tangible investment assets, we can learn from his approach to such investments and see how investors can benefit from that same market. Those who own such assets now or in the near future will unavoidably discover possibility for value increase given the market’s concentration of considerable wealth. Rare collectible jewelry is shining brilliantly in the modern world, while many classic investment vehicles have unclear futures. 

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