The Do’s and Don’ts of Jewelry Investing
If you ask most people, they will say they buy jewelry because it’s beautiful and it makes the one who wears it feel so too. Men and women all over the world spend a lot of money on necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings they like, but in at least one point in our lives, we all have to pause and think about the piece we want to buy. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to pick the perfect engagement ring or if you’re buying gold as a future investment, it’s always good to be informed about what’s important when it comes to valuable jewelry.
Do your research
First things first – what is it that you don’t know about jewelry? Buying an engagement ring is one thing, but investing in jewelry is another. Before you actually set out looking for pieces that will bring you money in the future, you first need to know what you’re looking for, and what you’re looking at. There is a difference between heated and unheated rubies, cultured and naturally found pearls, and emeralds that contain and don’t contain oil. All of these things are important when you’re looking for something other than a pretty piece to wear.
You might think that the best places to buy quality and valuable jewelry are big brand-name emporiums, but it isn’t exactly true. While they might be the most expensive and popular at the moment, places such as K. Mikimoto & Co. and Tiffany and Co. happen to have additional costs included in the price you’ll be paying. You’ll be paying for things such as their expensive location and good advertising campaigns, while the real value of the piece will be lower than you might think at first. There are also stores that are selling gems grown in laboratories and cultured pearls, both of which cost significantly less than their counterparts.
Do visit different places
Try to learn as much as possible from a seller you trust as well as from books and online sources, but don’t limit yourself to big and popular stores. Sometimes it’s trustworthy and seasoned private dealers as well as those small boutique shops that have the most valuable pieces and the best prices. You might also try to take your chances at a few public auctions as well as different sales, but these events have their setbacks too. You’ll probably meet and bet against experienced dealers and retailers, or even representatives of big names in jewelry business like Cartier. If you’re interested in auctions, do try to buy something before Christmas, as most people (even representatives) spend most of their money before that, so you’ll have a better chance.
Don’t accept old certificates
This should go without saying, but before you buy a piece, you should always ask a certificate of authenticity for a gem from your dealer or a retailer. In general, the most trusted source on the gem market is the Gemology Institute of America, so a GIA certification will confirm the details of your gem. Not only the grade and the quality of the stone (or stones), but the geographic origin, shape, color, and carat weight as well. Where your gem comes from is also important as there are many mines and regions renowned and respected for the quality of their stones. Another important thing – don’t accept certificates older than ten years, as improved lab technology has allowed much better insight into the quality of gems.
Do – look into pearls
Most people go straight for the jewels and completely ignore pearls. This is sad because there are many different kinds of pearls on the market, some of which as valuable as diamonds. Cultured pearls are very common because of their price, and this makes them a great choice when you’re buying gifts, but when you’re looking to make an investment, you should be focusing on natural pearls instead. Cultured pearls dominate the market these days, but natural pearls are becoming more popular once again. Seeing that it takes an incredible amount of time (we’re talking about decades in some cases) and effort to string a bracelet or a necklace out of naturally found pearls, it doesn’t come as a surprise that their price is skyrocketing.
Don’t insist on diamonds
Just as you should be looking at pearls, you could focus on something other than diamonds. Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are not only beautiful but valuable too, seeing as they’re even rarer than diamonds. Still, you should be careful and distinguish between different kinds of gems. Heated rubies have better color, but an unheated ruby from Burma is 10 or even 20 times worthier than a heated one from Africa. Emeralds are rather brittle, which is why some have little fissures in them, and jewelers fill these cracks with oil to make them less noticeable. Naturally, a natural emerald without oil is going to be more valuable than an oiled one. Sadly, it’s not something you can tell from just looking at the piece, which is another reason to look for certification papers.
Do remember the little things
A few simple but useful things to remember: if you own a branded or a signed piece, they can hold value pretty well, but if your piece is mass produced, it’s likely to lose half of the value the moment you buy it. Think about international collectors too: while American and European collectors won’t buy jade, Asian collectors are willing to pay a lot of money for a special piece. When you buy a vintage piece, you’ll pay less, yet get a chance to get a good quality item, especially if they have rare gems and great workmanship.
It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about buying an engagement ring for your special someone, an anniversary present as a symbol of your love and devotion, or you’re planning to turn a part of your savings into jewelry, knowing a thing or two about jewels and precious metals is always a good thing. Not only will you be able to pick the most beautiful pieces, but you’ll also find the most valuable ones as well.