Chapter 5: Unimaginable Value
Translated by me, Edited by Kai.
Philips. Established in 1796, it couldn’t compare with the well established and well known Sotheby’s or Christie’s. In the west it can only be considered a second tier auction house. This all changed in ’99 when it was bought by Bernard Arnault, the chairman of the French luxury-goods brand Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH), and merged under the same brand name for 70 million Pounds (1). With the ensuing scandals, Philips was brought to the forefront of the competition where their main focus is on works of contemporary art, design, jewelry, photography and editions. They are also known to sell everything from furniture to art and estates.
This is Jiang Hai’s main target. With an appointment booked for tomorrow, he can only wait and hope for good luck tomorrow.
On the following day, in front of Philips office in Beijing, you can see someone carrying a bag with a hopeful look on his face. This person is of course, Jiang Hai.
“Hello. How may I help you?” Asked the receptionist as soon as entered the office.
“Hi, I have book an appointment for today under the name of Jiang.” Was the response.
“Oh, Mr. Jiang. Since it’s almost 9am, please come with me to our secure meeting room. I’ll also give a call to manager Zhang.” Hearing Jiang Hai’s response, the receptionist brought him to a VIP room, provided refreshments and then left. Not long after, a 40ish year old man wearing a stylish suit entered.
“Mr. Jiang, I am Philips’ Auction’s Beijing branch manager. Call me Zhang. How may I serve you?” The middle aged man asked after introductions.
“I have some gems that I want appraised.” Jiang Hai got straight to the point.
The man is not surprised at all. Anyone who comes here is here for only 2 services. If it isn’t appraisal then its for the auction. Even if it’s for auction then they still need the item(s) to be appraised. Therefore Jiang Hai’s purpose is very ordinary.
“This is perfectly fine, but we do need to charge an appraisal fee for the items.” The manager replied.
“Great, how much is the fee?” Jiang Hai had already researched this fact. Auction house appraisal includes a fee, this fee is the main source of profit for the auction house. As for the auction, then it is just like any luxury brands. They usually don’t do business, but when they do, they make tons of profits (2).
“There are two types of appraisal fees. The first type is where we charge you 1% of what the item(s) are worth. It’s pretty worth it for antiques worth a few thousand to tens of thousands. The second type is 2000 for an item.” Stated the manager matter-of-factly.
“Oh, so it is like this. Then let’s go with the flat fees.” Although Jiang Hai doesn’t know exactly how much all of his gems are worth, but they are definitely worth more than 200,000.
Hearing his decision, the manager invited in two other people. One of them looked like a middle aged professor and the younger one is probably his apprentice. After short introductions, Jiang Hai pulled out all of his rewards from the cavern. There are a total of 213 different pieces of gems which didn’t shatter under his very barbaric test. Confirming that he does not have the required fees, they can only check the rocks first then talk about fees later. Jiang Hai really don’t want to use his scales to grow flowers. He now only hope there is some gems in the pile that are worth billions.
When the two finished setting up their equipment, Jiang Hai took out some of the gems and waited for their appraisal.
“This is natural crystal, not worth much, roughly 3500.” Quickly the gemologist quickly came to a conclusion on the first ‘gem’. Jiang Hai can only sigh disappointedly because he knows; ever since mankind figured out how to farm crystals, the price of natural crystals plummeted. If it wasn’t for the high purity of this piece, it might not even be worth 3500.
“Looks like I was too optimistic.” Jiang Hai muttered to himself as he put away the ones that looked similar. Since they are all crystals then there is no point in appraising them. On the other side, the appraisal master payed no mind since there is too many types of gems, there is no point to swindle him.
After confirming some tens of pieces to all be crystals, Jiang Hai can only feel helpless. But at the very least, all the crystals are worth more than 2000.
“Eh?” Just as Jiang Hai was about to get used to the outcomes, the appraiser suddenly let out a voice and continued to examine the piece of gem in his hand with greater detail. After ten or so minutes, he stated. “You are lucky, this piece is not natural crystal but a 10 carat natural sapphire. Estimated value at around 1.2 million.”
Jiang Hai was dumbfounded for a second before putting away all those gems that are confirmed to be crystals since he just made back all of the appraisal fees, leaving 132 pieces to be checked. The appraiser can’t help but smile since the more work he’s got, the more cut of the total fees he gets. Appraising a gem costs 2000, he gets 1500. This is just like Jiang Hai saying “TAKE MY MONEY!”.
Maybe it’s because of the sapphire, but the appraiser proceeded with greater attention to details. Sadly, crystals are just crystals. They can’t be identified to be gems no matter how hard you look. In pile, there are 121 pieces of natural crystals. Basically, most of the big rocks are crystals and the small one are gems.
After examining 130 pieces, there are only 9 gems.
The most expensive is a piece of 12.37 carat ruby estimated to be at around 2.3 million.
Two other smaller rubies worth a total of 500,000.
Two pieces of 50 carat deep blue sapphires worth 400,000 total.
Finally, three pieces of emeralds estimated at around 1.6 million together.
If the emeralds are sold together then they can fetch another million. The total worth of these gems is estimated to be 7 million yuan (3).
Although this is far from Jiang Hai’s original estimate of between tens of millions to couple hundreds of millions, but 7 million is still not bad.
Of the last two pieces, one of them is a piece of crystal worth a couple thousand. But when the appraiser set his eyes on it, his eyes pretty much went green. Looking at this rock, he studied for more than half an hour, then told his assistant to get more specific equipment. Very quickly, the assistant came with the equipment required. Another half hour passed before the appraiser just sat there looking at the gem.
“Um, is there a problem?” Seeing the appraiser’s looks, Jiang Hai asked strangely.
“No, no problem, it’s just if there is no accidents then Mr.Jiang, you just hit the jackpot.” Looking at the piece of roughly 4 thumbnails large pink hexagon shaped diamond, the appraiser answers with enthusiasm.
“Jackpot? En, I really did hit a small fortune of 7 million with those gems.” Jiang Hai replied self-deprecatingly without even thinking.
“No, let me rephrase this. All of the your other gems in comparison with this one are all roadside rocks.” Stated the appraiser with absolute certainty. “This gem, I can 99% guarantee is a piece of pink diamond. Excellent gradings on all four Cs. Net weight of 31.6 carat. Do you know the final price of these diamonds? Every carat’s final price is 380,000 USD! (4)”
“380,000 USD, a carat? Then 31.6 is just 12 million USD?” Hearing this, Jiang Hai felt like he get was hit by a hammer and doesn’t know how to think anymore. Sadly the appraiser wasn’t going to let him of this easy.
“No, not even. This is a piece of intact pink diamond. An intact 31.6 carat pink diamond. This price, at the very least needs to be multiplied 20 folds.” (5)
“Siiiii…… Wait, wait, hold on, let me calm down first…”
1. Yeah, history. https://www.phillips.com/about
2. 三年不开张，开张吃三年 – no business for 3 years, do business once, earn enough for 3 years … Ed: I dont always make profits, but when I do, I make a killing :>
3. Gems. Gems are truly, truly, truly outrageous. 😀
4. This price is not guaranteed to be accurate presently.
5. And JACKPOT. xD