There are many aspects, both practical and personal, to consider when building your collection of rare jewels. Family jewellers with multi-generational experience understand that curating a jewellery legacy requires a strong sense of purpose. At Ronald Abram, there are certain questions we ask to better understand our clients’ collecting history, aspirations, and ambitions.
Only by asking the right questions can we help create a tailored collection. In our experience, there are ten questions that anchor these personal conversations and lead to further discussion. Five are related to motivation and the desire to collect, while the others are more practical in nature. JJ Abram explains in the first of this two part series on building your collection.
How your collection journey begins
What is the purpose of this collection?
Some collect for sheer enjoyment and others as a means of financial security. We prefer the term financial security rather than investment because jewellery is a portable, high-value asset which tends to appreciate over time. It’s important to note, the purpose of building a jewellery collection is rarely driven by a single instinct. Most of the time, it’s laced with meaning, ideas, and future plans. This is what we seek to discover when advising our clients.
Who are you building this jewellery collection for?
Often, an acquisition is for the benefit of a child or children. This creates a conversation around legacy, which is often deeply personal. We recently had a collector with two daughters looking to create a fair and equitable collection. Our suggestion was to acquire perfect matching pairs of stones and divide them between his two daughters. That was exactly the solution he was looking for and when presented with the idea, was keen to proceed. But these kinds of conversations require experience from established professionals who have an understanding of your needs, are active in the market, are aware of historical market cycles as well as the ability to supply rare pieces.
Do you intend to wear pieces from the collection?
When a piece is worn, it takes on a different level of meaning. Some pieces with provenance and worn by well-known collectors carry with them a premium. These items are not only significant for their individual value but carry a sentimentality and exclusivity by being part of a certain family collection. Pieces purchased with the sole intent of re-selling fall under a different category. Understanding that difference is key to professional advice.
What has shaped your interest in collecting?
Stories start in different ways. Some collectors have inherited jewellery and wish to continue a family legacy, while others are starting fresh, looking to establish a new tradition that will endure long after they are gone. As a family jeweller, one of our key strengths is working with the same families generation after generation. This kind of collecting and advising carries extra weight and meaning as it’s often about growth not just preservation.
How would you like to be guided on your collecting journey?
This is a very important question. Some clients prefer to make their own collection decisions, whereas others rely upon our experience and professionalism when making acquisitions. Offering a tailored customer experience is something that sets family jewellers apart. Recently, a new collector came to us and began a discussion about building his collection. He told us up front that he wanted to give us full decision-making ability and to structure his collection at our discretion.
At other times, collectors have very specific requests. As an example, an important collector approached us wanting to acquire multiple large gem-quality saltwater, natural pearls in various sizes. The collector was very specific about the shape and colour tone of the pearls and wanted to create a magnificent bespoke piece of jewellery. It took us a few months, but we were finally able to put it together for them. What they were asking for wasn’t readily available on the market. Not only did the project demand an understanding of rare, natural pearls of this quality and size but the right network to fulfil the request. This was achieved because they had an experienced advisor by their side and that’s when clients really appreciate and understand the art of collecting with us.