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GemShares Files For Diamond ETF

Cinthia Murphy

GemShares, a Chicago-based financial firm, has put into registration a physical diamond trust that follow by eight months or so the first round of news suggesting the firm was looking to patent a process for having diamonds become tradable securities.

The GemShares Physical Diamond Trust sets out to reflect the wholesale price of diamonds included in a fungible basket—called the “GemShares Global Investment Grade Standard Diamond Basket”—minus expenses, according to the filing submitted to regulators this week.

The filing is vague on the details. While it does say that each basket will consist of three “weight classes” of diamonds—each class comprising gems that meet specific weight criteria—it doesn’t say what that criteria is or what the total weight of each basket will be.

It also fails to disclose the custodian of the diamonds, or how much it will cost investors to own shares of the trust. It does say that only authorized participants will be allowed to redeem shares for diamonds—an arrangement that seems akin to the way the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is organized. GLD only allows redemption for physical gold for lots of 100,000 shares or more.

Diamonds neither have the financial history of gold nor do they work as a hedge against a falling currency, IndexUniverse’s Stacey Brorup pointed out in a blog last year.

In fact, only 30 percent of mined diamonds are of gem quality, meaning an investor who buys into GemShares’ trust would in theory be missing out on 70 percent of the market. Natural diamonds are also used industrially.

Still, GemShares is not the first to plan a physical diamond ETF. Rye Brook, New York-based IndexIQ, too, put a diamond ETF into registration a year ago.

“The shares are designed for investors who seek a cost effective, transparent and convenient way of making an investment similar to an outright investment in physical diamonds,” GemShares said in the filing.

“For many investors, transaction costs related to the shares will be lower than those associated with the purchase, storage and insurance of physical diamonds,” it added.

Diamonds included in the trust must meet certain physical and optical standards, as well as be a conflict-free gem, the filing said. No ticker was disclosed.


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