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There are many ways to invest one’s time and effort into buying antique jewellery. As retailers, we purchase many items from customers who perhaps just want to scrap their items for ready cash. However, we try to avoid this. So many items are just too pretty to throw into the melting pot. We try to save what we can, repolish, maybe claw work, or replace stones, and then hopefully we have brought something back to life.

If you want to invest in buying antique jewellery then you need to really look at what you are wanting to purchase. If its for yourself or a loved one, then the investment side should take second place. The key is to buy what you like, and not worry about how much it may be worth in ten years time. If its investments you want, then the bank paying you 1% is safe (ish), stocks and shares, risky, property, (very good, but hardly the same thing).

If you are buying just for pure investment, then you need to be very aware of where you are putting your cash. There are obvious ways of buying, Ebay, or online sites, auction houses, or markets and retailers.

Lets look at Ebay etc. Well you pay the price and take the risk. Some items are reproduction, would you know? Others may be antique, but do they require expensive gold work, or maybe replacing of stones? Its subjective, if you are happy with those risks then this is a great way to invest. But say you buy an Art Deco ring for £500, maybe this would be £1000 in a retail shop. If you need to replace a stone or two, maybe resize it to fit you, or build up the shank, possibly new claw work, then this could easily set you back £300-£400. However, you can buy and send back, so its not the end of the world if you dont like the item. Turning to auctions. The cheapest way to purchase, but not always the wisest. Remember that most charge 20-25% saleroom commission, so when you buy that item for £500, there is maybe another £100-£125 to add on, then maybe other online purchase percentage and possibly postal charges if its sent to you. Then of course, if it needs work, you are up a creek without a paddle, you cannot send it back! Great, if you know what you are buying, and you have people that can do repair work for you at trade, in other words, good for people like us :).

So that leaves antique markets and retailers. The former can be good, but you need to be aware that many may only give a lightweight guarantee, and many dont offer a refund policy. But can be good value if you know what you are buying. Then there are retailers. Again, depends where they are situated. In a big city centre site their price may be the highest, but then they have much larger overheads and indeed have rents that would make one’s eyes water, so their margins need to be wider. But then you have the security of knowing that they will often stand by an item, ensure its in good condition when you purchase it, and will be there in years to come if you need advice an help. We are a family jeweller in a small town. We dont have rents, but obviously have the usual High Street overheads, but much less than many other retailers. Our margins are lower, but you as the buyer still have all the advantages of a retailer, so you have the best of all worlds. Competitive pricing, an item that has been cleaned, checked, and restored where required, returns policy, guarantee against defects, free appraisals, gift packaging. If you look at our online store, you will see just how keenly priced our range of antique jewellery and rings are. An investment? Well yes and no. If its something you love and will cherish, then the investment has been made, the return is happiness. If you want to buy and sell it in a year, well maybe you should try stocks and shares for a better return. Over the long term, antique jewellery will, if looked after, return your investment and more. Another way to purchase jewellery is to go into the pre-owned non antique items. Really good value, and in time will themselves be antiques.
Like all investments, spreading your portfolio over a number of differing offers if the best way to protect your lot. Antique jewellery is not just one investment, but we say, its the prettiest, and most likely to bring the pleasure that owing jewellery only can.

May 30, 2018 — CG Hart