Investing in high-end jewelry is a thrilling pastime, but when large sums of money are involved, you need to make sure you are making sensible purchases that hold their value, as well as buying pieces you love and can remain in your family as heirloom pieces. This guide to high-end jewelry for beginners takes you through what to buy, where to shop, and how to look after your jewelry.
The Best Jewelry Styles to Buy
Buying high–end jewelry and luxury watches is an excellent way to show your personality; however, it’s also a sound investment strategy, as quality jewelry rarely depreciates quickly. So, when deciding on what pieces to purchase, consider resale value and your style.
Classic pieces by designers such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Harry Winston tend to retain their value more than trendy costume jewelry. Antique pieces, such as Art Deco jewelry, are always popular and make for a worthwhile investment. The real value can often be found in rare jewelry, as long as they are of high quality, such as signed pieces, natural saltwater pearls, and padparadscha sapphires.
Other factors, such as high demand, can affect the resale price of jewelry. For instance, the value of specific colored diamonds has been pushed by an increased interest in these stones in the Asian markets. To understand a bit more about how colored diamonds are graded, explore the GIA’s scale. Investment is always a risk, as you can never say with complete certainty what will appreciate or depreciate over time, but doing thorough research and keeping up with changes in the market can help you make the best purchase.
Used vs. New Jewelry
When you make your first high-end jewelry purchase, one of the first things you must ask yourself is whether you want to buy a used or new piece. There is no definitive answer as to what is better, but there are pros and cons to each, so it’s a matter of figuring out what works best for your style and budget.
New jewelry offers more options for customization, meaning you can purchase a piece that is truly one of a kind. There is also something special about knowing that you are the first person to own a piece. However, you may find that new jewelry is more limited in style, as it tends to be made to suit modern tastes. There is also usually a high markup on high-street prices, so they lose significant value as soon as you purchase them.
Pre-owned jewelry is typically more affordable and holds its value better because it doesn’t have the same markup as new pieces. You can find some unusual pieces at auctions and secondhand dealers, though it can take more patience than buying new. Many people love the idea of buying a piece with a history, and it’s a much more sustainable way to invest in jewelry, especially with precious stones. Unfortunately, there are some untrustworthy sellers around, so you must do your due diligence before purchasing to avoid disappointment.
Request a Certificate of Authenticity
Wherever you choose to buy jewelry with precious stones or pieces from luxury brands, request a certificate of authenticity from a reputable source such as the Gemology Institute of America (GIA). These documents detail features such as grade, quality, and origin. You should also ensure that the certificate you are presented with is no more than a few years old.
How to Take Care of Your Jewelry
There’s no point investing in high-end jewelry if you’re not going to take care of it. While you might toss cheap jewelry in a trinket bowl on your dresser and never clean it, quality pieces need regular care and maintenance if you want them to look good and retain their financial value over time. Follow these tips to keep your jewelry in the best possible condition:
- Keep your jewelry in a closed jewelry box. This protects your pieces from dust, sunlight, and other potentially damaging factors. Storing jewelry in a box also stops it from getting tangled and can protect it from theft.
- Remove your jewelry before doing sports. Not only can jewelry get damaged by sweat and chlorine, but it can also get caught up and broken and even cause the wearer harm. Leave your jewelry at home or take a travel case with you when you go to the gym and keep it in your locker.
- Use a clean, soft, static-free cloth to bring out your jewelry’s shine.
- Traveling with jewelry can lead to damage unless you store it in travel jewelry cases. When shopping for a travel case, make sure it has separate compartments for each piece to avoid pieces getting scratched.
- Clean your jewelry regularly using the right products for each metal; for instance, silver can be cleaned with a chemical dip, but this will damage gold. Never use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as these can scratch the finish and dull the shine.
- Get your jewelry serviced regularly by experts to ensure it stays in the best possible condition. This is particularly essential for timepieces because their complex mechanisms can be easily damaged over time.
- Seek expert advice about caring for specific pieces, as every metal or stone is different. For example, pearls should be kept in a soft pouch or wrapped in linen to protect their surface. They shouldn’t be kept in an airtight container, such as a ziplock bag, and they shouldn’t be in an environment that is too dry, as they can crack.
Repairing and Repurposing Jewelry
If you have a piece of old jewelry, perhaps one passed down from a family member, that is broken or just isn’t your style, consider getting it repaired, altered, or repurposed. This is a lovely way to give sentimental pieces a new lease of life.
You can add to or alter a piece by adding more diamonds, or you can completely revamp it, such as placing the gems from a ring into a beautiful necklace setting. A highly skilled professional must carry out this work, so make sure you do your research before handing over your heirlooms.
If you are committed to purchasing high-end jewelry pieces, it’s worth taking the time to research the style of the piece you want and the seller you are buying from. For used jewelry, you should also have the piece professionally examined and valued, if possible, before purchase. Once you’ve made your purchase, you should enjoy wearing it; jewelry is made to be worn and loved. Just make sure you take good care of it so it will last forever.