When looking to invest there are many options out there. Some have more risks than others but nonetheless, it is always a smart idea to invest when you can. Some people prefer to invest in property, some decide to invest in stocks and shares and there are a distinguished group of individuals who prefer to invest in jewellery over anything else, and why not? You can buy some beautiful pieces of jewellery from different eras to invest in, but with the added benefit of you actually being able to use your investment whenever you want until you either decide to sell it or leave it to your family.
When buying antique or vintage jewellery it can be difficult to navigate your way through the number of vital questions you need to ask before purchasing. In this article, we will go through some essential questions before purchasing your next investment to save you from making mistakes and potentially getting ripped off.
1. What Era Is The Jewellery From?
When investing in jewellery, it is important to know how old it is as this can alter the price tag dramatically. To understand the importance of what era a piece of jewellery is from, we must first understand the different ages of jewellery and what actually classes as antique.
Antique jewellery is no doubt the oldest jewellery you can invest in with it being anything over 100 years old. This includes Art Deco, Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Nouveau Eras, so it is best to keep an eye out for these and invest when you can.
Other ages of jewellery that needs to be outlined are vintage jewellery and estate jewellery. Vintage jewellery is usually anything between 50 and 100 years old but can also be classed as vintage at 30 years old. Estate jewellery is anything less than 30 years which has had a previous owner.
2. Can You Confirm The Jewellery Is Authentic?
There are many fantastic antique jewellery dealers out there but there are also a lot of back alley jewellers who will try to pass something off as another. Some sellers use counterfeit stones which are then set in aged casings and some opportunist sellers will actually sell whole pieces of brand new jewellery which is treated to look old. The point is, it is extremely important to have a certificate of authenticity before you purchase the piece of jewellery.
Before looking at jewellery, it is extremely important to look for a trusted auction house or a certified jeweller. This will ensure that you are getting what you are paying for without having to worry about reselling later on and finding out that it is a counterfeit. The best tip to remember is if the price is too good to be true, then it is more than likely the case.
3. Does The Jewellery Have designer labels or hallmarks?
Like with anything, the better the brand, the higher the price tag and that is no exception with jewellery. If there is a famous designer signature or hallmark on the piece, this will dramatically increase the value of the jewellery.
Antique designer jewellery pieces used to have signatures where they wouldn’t usually be found. Some pieces of jewellery barely have any visible marks which make it difficult to indicate their unique features. This makes it difficult for the average buyer to notice these features meaning that it can be easy to brush past this.
It is crucial before purchasing any piece of jewellery to have an expert inspect the piece for labels that are in discrete positions. An example of this is an old necklace which was valued at £6,000 until it was discovered that there was a Chanel engraving which raised the valuation to an amazing £68,500. This shows the importance of the presence of a designer signature. Other ways in which you can see whether a piece is what it says it is through its hallmark.
4. Will This Piece Hold Its Value?
When investing in antique jewellery it is tempting to go for the shiniest piece, the most beautiful piece or even the piece that is trending right now, and to be honest, many people are happy with this as it looks good, and they spent a decent amount on it.
The issue is that if someone purchases a piece of antique jewellery that is either of poor quality or has a unique, less desirable design, then it may not hold its value. It is essential to think about the bigger picture when investing. If the item comes with a designer label or exquisite diamond then it may be worth an impulsive buy but if not, it is best to research pieces of similar look and style and see what the pricing has been on them.
5. How Long Have You Had This Item?
Asking how long they have had the piece of jewellery may sound forward but this is definitely an important question to ask. Asking will give you a good indication of whether the piece is either valued too high, the jewellery is not a desirable piece to wear or the piece may not be as legitimate, meaning that there is some bargaining power to start negotiations.
If the jewellery has been for sale for a while, it is worth taking a deeper look into the jewellery and speaking to a professional. This will save you from picking up a less desirable piece which you may struggle to sell on at a later date.
6. What Materials Are Used
Depending on when you are looking to buy antique jewellery and the current state of the market can make a big difference to your profit margin. It is always important to find out the materials that have been used in the piece of jewellery because sometimes, the materials used can actually be worth more than the precious gemstones used in the jewellery depending on the materials used.
The most desirable materials are obviously gold, silver and platinum but some other materials are still found in antique jewellery. The higher the carat of the material the better, so it is also important to find this out also before you buy.
7. What Gemstones Are Used
Like with the previous question, it is also important to ask what gemstones are being used in the jewellery. This can also help with your profit margins pending on the current state of the market. The truth is, if the gemstone is of good quality or is rare, then you will always make a good profit if purchased at the right time.
If the piece includes Diamonds, Ruby’s, Emeralds or Sapphires then there is going to be a good chance that it will sell on, even if it is just for the stones as sometimes the stones are worth way more than the material used for the jewellery.
It is also worth mentioning that many jewellers will transfer the precious gemstones to a newer frame due to quality so if you find an original piece with the original casing, then it is worth picking this up due to them being very rare which will increase the value.
8. What Carat Are The Gemstones
When purchasing jewellery and you have found out the materials and gemstones used it is then a good idea to ask about the four C’s. Carat, Colour, Clarity and Cut are all vital features that must be taken a look at. This will determine whether the price is right, as well as whether it will sell on and be desirable.
If the gemstone has a bad cut or clarity, the gemstone will not look as bright and shimmering but rather dull and more of a matt colour. If this is the case, then it probably isn’t worth investing your money into. For better clarification on this, it is always worth bringing a professional with you to properly examine the jewellery.
9. Can You Tell Me What You Know About This Piece?
It is always best to do your own research before purchasing any investment piece, and it is always best to have an expert with you so that they can verify everything for you. This will include how the piece was made, the types of diamonds or gemstones and also how long ago it was made.
If the jeweller doesn’t know much about the piece, then you should not buy it unless a professional is with you. A good jeweller will be able to give you these facts.
10. How Were You Trained?
This is an important question as this will tell you whether they are a reputable jeweller and whether they can be trusted. It is a good idea to ask for their certification as this will also demonstrate that the jeweller can be trusted. You want to know who authenticated the jewellery as this could save you a lot of money. If the jeweller is acting off and you feel uneasy, then don’t purchase anything. However, if the jeweller is a certified gemologist and you are happy to do business then go ahead!