The advice of a great expert in jewelry for those who want to buy vintage jewelry at auction. It can be convenient if you … ♦
Do you like attending jewelry auctions, but are you hesitant about buying? Do you wonder when a piece of jewelry could be a safe investment and when its price is justified only a passing fashion? And then better vintage or contemporary pieces? Time ago David Warren, senior international Jewelery director of Christie’s, great jewelry expert and (obviously) of auctions, offered some advice to jewelry lovers, especially those of the period and of great value. They can also be a bargain, an excellent investment. The full text of Warren’s intervention can be found on the auction house website here. Here, then, the five tips to follow for those who want to buy a jewel.
1 The Art Deco period of Cartier
From the end of the 20th century to the 1920s, Cartier has adorned the wrists, the neck and the heart of the royal houses and the international aristocracy, explains David Warren. The unstoppable creative vein of the brothers Pierre, Louis and Jacques was pervaded by an ethic that no one else had: not to copy, to always create. The result is that these jewels of this period with their clean and linear style never go out of style. Art Deco jewels, among other things, are also signed by other big names in jewelry, such as Van Cleef & Arpels or Verdura.
2 Colored diamonds
The colored diamonds are the stars of the last years and at the auctions mark stratospheric prices. But, be careful: they must certainly have a certification with their characteristics, for example, whether they have been treated or not to bring out the color. A heated diamond can be more lively, but certainly a natural stone has more appeal. Not only. A small but refined stone is always preferable to a large but faulty one. “What’s the point of having a 50-carat emerald, but if it’s full of inclusions?” Asks Warren. “Better an 8-10-carat stone that is a jewel, worth between 40 thousand and 60 thousand dollars per carat, rather than a stone of 50 carats which, however, is worth a maximum of 3 thousand per carat”. In short, if you want to buy a stone, in addition to the overall price, also you must consider the price per carat.
Profits in jewelry auctions grow and for Christie’s every year is better than the previous one. Part of this seems to be due to portability, that is, the fact that jewels and diamonds can move easily from one place to another. In other words, they are an investment in a pocket. “You can not buy a house in central Paris and then, when the market goes down, move the investment to London. But with a diamond in your pocket you can go anywhere. ” So if someone had bought colored diamonds in the 1970s and sold them in 1990, the gain would have been great, but who bought them in 1990 and sold them now would have a much larger profit. ” And attention, it is said that also counts the provenance and prestige of the previous owner, but according to the expert this is true but not fundamental. What matters is quality.
4 It is not just a question of time
Some contemporary pieces trigger real wars at auction and their final value far exceeds the estimates. It was the case, just to give an example, of Jar’s Parrot Tulip bracelet, sold for over 3 million and a half dollars at the Magnificent Jewel auction in Geneva, despite the estimate being between 200 thousand and 300 thousand dollars . In short, there are brilliant contemporary designers working all over the world: Lorenz Bäumer in Paris, Vicente Gracia in Valencia, and Michelle Ong, Wallace Chan and Edmond Chin in Hong Kong. You can even transform an old jewel, with a result that can be surprising. For example, Warren tells of one of his clients in possession of some sapphires and diamonds mounted by Gérard, who entrusted them to Jar to make it a new jewel. According to Christie’s expert, although displeased that the artistic legacy of such an important name was lost, the transformation into a large, massive cross with five sapphires surrounded by a pavé of diamonds is one of the best creations of a true genius, the contemporary equivalent of Fabergé.
5 Go hunting
Collecting jewels, explains Warren, is like hunting: you have to be patient and wait for the right prey. In this way you can conclude a good deal and, at the same time, use your money well. Monica Battistoni