Buying Jewellery as an Investment

Few of us buy jewellery purely as an investment – but probably most of us have a dim hope that our favourite rings and necklaces in particular will hold their value or possibly even increase it. The idea of ‘investment jewellery’ is an American concept but it’s definitely taken hold here recently. So how do you choose accessories that will hold or gain value?


Vintage Jewellery as an Investment

A recent story gives us all hope – an auction house customer had a piece of costume jewellery valued only to discover it was Chanel. It sold for over £68,000 at auction! And that’s not unusual because the average cost of vintage jewellery containing precious stones has risen more than 75% since 2005. To make good choices when buying vintage jewellery remember:


  • For stones you need to assess the four Cs: clarity, colour, carat and cut – in that order. Carats are often overvalued but a big flawed or cloudy stone is going to be less valuable than a smaller clearer one.
  • For metals, remember that workmanship can improve the investment value of a piece much more than the weight of the base metal alone. Twice in the past decade platinum has been less valuable than gold on the open market, but you’ll pay much more for platinum jewellery because the metal is much more challenging to work with.
  • Brands matter. That Chanel piece that sold at auction was pure costume, but the brand is so sought after that Chanel costume jewellery can outsell gemstones from unknown jewellers.
  • Some materials are no longer fashionable. Ivory, coral and butterfly wings, all mainstays of Victorian fashion, have fallen out of favour due to environmental concerns and don’t sell nearly as well as the jet, garnet and filigree items of the same period.


Modern Jewellery as an Investment

When buying modern jewellery, similar considerations apply:


  • Whether you’re buying a costume piece to complete an important outfit or choosing an item like a charm bracelet that you hope will become an heirloom the quality of stones, the workmanship involved and the reputation of the creator will all influence investment value. That’s why at H Hogarth we search hard to find innovative jewellery designers who will become the sought after brands of future years.
  • Building a collection can add value – this is great news for those who love pearl jewellery or whose passion for earrings runs away with them! While single pieces can, and do, appreciate in value, if it becomes necessary to offer your jewellery for sale, you’ll almost always get a better price if you have a set, or a theme or simply a unifying element to your jewellery box. For example, a handful of watches from the same brand or a series of amethyst rings are much more likely to appeal to a collector.
  • Bring love to your investment. Buying for investment value alone is always risky, so it’s important to value your modern jewellery for its own sake, not just because it may be appreciating in value.
  • Remember to keep your jewellery insured. When you buy or receive a new piece, check that your contents insurance is still sufficient to cover everything you own – and always photograph your new jewellery and email yourself the picture. That way, should you lose it or worse, have it stolen, you’ll be in with a chance of proving it’s yours if it’s found/recovered by police.
Categories: Jewellery