Buy it because you love it
Here is our expert advice on what to consider when you acquire your designer piece. Always keep in mind that the value of a designer jewel is best captured by how it makes you feel. Whether you start your collection with a 1000€ or 10000€ or more, there are several guidelines that apply:
Understanding the jewellery industry
From Dirt to Rock
The jewellery industry is multidimensional. It begins with studies of the grounds for extracting precious metals and gems. Just like the other fields of speciality in the industry, mining has many facets.
Your gems may come from large modern diamond mines such as those in South Africa or from smaller artisanal mines like ruby mines in Myanmar. They may even come from one of the adventurers who travel the world in search of treasures.
It’s always good to know the origin of the gems in your jewel. It gives more depth to a jewel’s story and raises awareness over the entire microcosm behind its creation. Also, a fun fact – only about 20% of all extracted gems are fine enough for jewellery purposes.
From Rock to Gem
Once the gem-quality crystals have been sorted out, they go to the cutters and polishers. Today, technology has greatly improved the art of polishing gems. Often the first cuts of a rough diamond are made by laser. With today’s technology, it’s easy to plan a standard cut that will optimize the diamond’s clarity and size. However, the rarest diamonds are still cut and polished entirely by hand. Despite the advancements of technology, an expert eye still ensures the best colour, light and brilliance. And when it comes to coloured gemstones cutting and polishing also mostly remains artisanal.
From Gem to Jewel
Once the rock has been cut and polished into a gem, it goes into the hands of the goldsmiths. They set it into precious metals alongside other gems and make it into a jewel. The jeweller’s craft has thousands of years of history. The steps have remained the same: casting, forging, filing, soldering, setting and polishing. Even though technique and technology have evolved, they are still based on ancient movements. Moreover, the most important part of the jewel precedes any technique or technology – the jewel’s design.
From Jewel to Heirloom
Collecting designer jewels
The emotional value of a jewel doesn’t have a price but its signature certainly does. You can be sure that a recognized signature will outlast the emotional reason it was bought for. Unless the owner of the jewel is more famous than its creator.
An anonymous jewel can be incredibly beautiful and worthy of a collection. However, it lacks the added value of a charming story that a recognized signature adds. That said, a signature is not always a guarantee that your jewel will increase its value with time.
There is no way to say which designer will become the next Grima or the next JAR. When choosing a designer, you should consider someone with a striking visual identity, a strong story and values you relate to. Especially if you’re considering starting a collection.
When choosing a designer, you should consider someone with a striking visual identity, a strong story and values you can relate to. Especially if you’re considering starting a collection.
Often a designer builds a reputation on a specific skill or an iconic design that can further define the value of their work. If you’re not sure which jewel to choose, go for the one that shows the designer’s touch. Go for the signature piece. Especially if it is one of a kind jewels, or created in a limited series. As it becomes older and rarer, demand for it could increase.
We always recommend that our clients keep the original packaging of their jewel even if they prefer storing it in another box. It is also best to keep related documentation, such as the invoice and certificates you received with your jewel.
Speaking from a collectors point of view, it adds a dimension to the jewel that marketers try to master: the unboxing experience! This will always come in handy if you ever decide to part from your jewel.
The best places for designer jewels
You might decide to let go of a jewel at some point in your life. As a non-professional, you will probably find it hard to sell your jewellery, since most buyers will only consider their material value.
The Good – Collectors & Auctions
Ideally, you want to sell your jewellery to another private collector. Someone who admires its beauty, and value. Someone who also admires the designer and feels a strong connection to their work.
If you don’t know any private collectors, use an intermediary. You can auction your jewel for example. This option can take a bit more time, but collectors love auction houses. Plus, there is the chance that your jewel will sell for a higher price than you expected.
Be sure to check sellers’ fees (commissions, cataloguing and other extra costs). To stay on the safe side, specify a limit under which the jewel shouldn’t be sold. This helps you avoid uncomfortable results.
The Bad – Gem Traders & Jewellers
Gem traders will give you an estimate of the material value of your jewel based on precious metal and gemstone value. However, the craftsmanship, design and story of your jewel are of little interest to them.
As this is business for them, they need to make a profit. Your best option is to find a competitive marketplace such as the Antwerp diamond market. There you can compare different offers and take the best one. Gem traders and jewellers are a reliable option if you’re looking to sell your jewels fast.
The Ugly – Pawn Shops & Gold Buyers
Pawn shops and gold buyers will only pay the gold weight of your jewel. They don’t care who made it, how beautiful it is, and how good the gems are. They will give you slightly less than the gold price per gram.
Again, it’s best not to settle for the first offer. Rather have a look around multiple goldsmiths and pawn shops so you can compare offers. However, selling your designer jewellery to a pawn shop or a goldsmith is like selling a sports car to a spare parts dealer.
You will always get a less than optimal deal, and your jewels will probably be smelted and resold at the current gold value. This is not an option we recommend.
Make sure you understand what you’re buying. Every gem is unique and the value of a gem is appraised by specific measures. Always make sure that the designer jewellery you’re buying has all the accompanying papers – documentation and certification. They will greatly help you when it’s time to sell your jewellery.
Buying jewellery is always an emotional experience. But you shouldn’t let yourself be pushed into making a fast decision. You should always think through your luxury purchases properly. If you still want to buy the jewel a week later, that’s a good sign it’s the right one for you.
One of the best things you can do to ensure the longevity of your jewellery is to take good care of it. Store your jewels in a box. Send them to your retailer for a professional cleaning from time to time. Remember that a good retailer will also do revisions, small repairs and polish when it is needed. With good care, jewels can technically last forever.
Staying safe & insured
It is important to keep your jewellery in a safe place when you don’t wear it. Discretion is your friend. Consider safes in your home, safety deposit boxes or hidden panels. If you ever wish to ship your jewel you may also want to consider going through high-value item transportation specialists.
Get help from an industry expert
The jewellery industry is filled with peculiarities. Having an expert by your side can help you discover many new opportunities in a safe way. However, you first need to find a partner whom you can trust.
A great jewellery retailer has a flawless reputation, excellent services and strong connections with the best talents of the jewellery industry. Moreover, a great jeweller will protect your best interests over a long period.
Before placing your trust in a jeweller, you want to ask a number of technical questions:
What are their policies concerning delivery, returns & exchanges?
Do their ateliers include resizing and other made to measure services?
Do they offer maintenance services such as cleaning and repairs?
And last but not least, ask about the packaging. A special jewel needs a special box. A service oriented jeweller may go a step further to create a special unboxing experience for the delivery.
The OnlyJewels team is dedicated to supporting you through every step of your jewellery journey. We cherish the relationship with every one of our clients. Join the OnlyJewels family on social media and accompany us on our journey to discover new jewels every day.
Read through our article to know some tips on how to maintain your jewellery and ensure longevity: How To Keep Your Jewels Safe To Ensure Their Longevity?
Illustration & editorial by Daniel Román