Jewellery auctions are attended for a multitude of different reasons and attract all types of buyers. Some are serious collectors of a specific type or period of jewellery, others buy purely as an investment, while still others are interested in buying jewellery that is unique and interesting and perhaps hope to find a bargain.
Antique jewellery collectors - Serious antique jewellery collectors tend to focus on a specific style or period of jewellery and attend auctions in order to find those elusive rare pieces and to expand their collections. They are usually quite passionate about the era or type of jewellery and while value may be a factor, they tend to be more concerned with the appearance of the jewellery as well as its rarity and collectability.
Investment buyers – Although there is often some overlap between collectors and investors, those who buy antique jewellery purely for investment will be more focused on how the value of pieces will appreciate over time. While a collector enjoys owning a rare item for the pleasure of it, the investment buyer is more interested in how much it will sell for later on.
Shoppers – Those who attend auctions as a means to shop for unique items that wouldn’t be available on the high street are on the increase. As vintage and retro jewellery styles have become popular, there are many discerning shoppers who like to wear genuine antique jewellery for its exclusivity and beauty. For these buyers it isn’t about ownership or investment so much as fashion and style.
Of course while these are the three main types of buyers who attend auctions, there is often an overlap between them, with collectors choosing to wear their acquisitions or perhaps sell them on at a profit later on. These are not the only reasons for attending a jewellery auction either. For instance someone may want to obtain a specific piece for nostalgic reasons, or as a gift for somebody else.
The mid range sector, in particular, attracts a wide variety of buyers with many different reasons for attending. The auction value of antique jewellery has a tendency to be quite a lot lower than the retail value, so an auction is an attractive proposition for anyone looking to acquire a special item at an often reduced cost.
However if your reason for attending an auction is to grab a bargain and perhaps make a profit on it, you need to do your homework. Some quality pieces will attract a premium, especially if they are rare, and the excitement of the bidding could mean you end up spending a lot more than you originally intended, especially if there is a lot of competition.
Whatever your reason for attending a jewellery auction, these are some of the factors you should consider when deciding how much to bid on an item:
- Design and aesthetics
- Material and quality
- Whether it has a gemological certificate
- Whether it has a precious metal hallmark
- Whether it has a maker’s mark or a signature
- Provenance or history
If you are interested in attending a jewellery auction in the Essex area, please see our upcoming specialist sales and fortnightly vintage sales to find out what’s coming up, or take a look at our Jewellery department for more information on buying antique jewellery at auction.