Latest Estate Acquisitions, Autumn 2023
Making an Informed Acquisition
After more than 50 years in business, we’ve seen a variety of different approaches to jewellery buying. Many clients have done their research; they know the type of piece they want and have a good idea about specifications and budget. And while we applaud buyers who come to the table prepared, it’s a good idea to keep in mind that whatever you’ve read is just a guide. In our experience, buyers rely too heavily on their own research and the advice of family and friends, rather than a professional recommendation. If you want to make an informed acquisition, these are the top 3 mistakes to avoid.
1. Basing your decision on the discount rate
Many times, the first question new clients ask is, what discount can you offer? But making a decision based on the discount rate is misguided. The starting point of negotiations should always be the price of the piece, not the size of the discount. If one jeweller offers a significantly larger discount than another, all that indicates is that the listed price is inflated.
A reputable jeweller shouldn’t give you an artificially inflated price so as to offer you an unrealistic expectation of discount. It doesn’t make commercial sense. Pricing should be transparent, reasonable and reflect accurate market value, as well as the quality of the piece and its workmanship.
2. Forfeiting quality for carat weight
The first consideration for most buyers is budget. When it comes to diamonds, the buyer has often researched the 4Cs, as well as market prices, and has a rough knowledge of the cost of a diamond with their desired specifications. But all too often, buyers will acquire the largest stone their budget allows rather than selecting the finest stone within their price range. Our advice is to always select the best stone within each category as it will likely be more beautiful and therefore more collectable. That also means being prepared to acquire a smaller stone.
There are also numerous other factors to take into consideration beyond the 4Cs, particularly jewellery workmanship. Examine the stones, but also look at the quality of the gold or platinum settings. If there’s a significant price difference between jewellers for a similar piece, it’s likely owing to inferior craftsmanship. Fine jewellery, in particular, is made to be worn. Ask yourself the question, how will your piece fair with repeated or daily wear? If you’re not sure, ask.
When advising clients, we always take into account the lifestyle of the wearer.
3. Treating all 4Cs as equal
At Ronald Abram, the most important of the 4Cs is cut. This refers to the way a stone is proportioned and how its facets are arranged, not its outline and shape. That’s not to say we don’t value colour, clarity and carat weight, they’re all important, but the finest cut of diamond produces maximum brilliance and scintillation. In fact, cut directly affects appearance more than any of the other 4Cs. This is the first thing you notice about a stone. But most buyers will disregard the cut because it’s not listed on the gemmological certificate. With the exception of round brilliant diamonds, cut isn’t graded so you have to rely on the jeweller’s advice.
Also be aware that if you wear your jewellery regularly, it will be exposed to soaps, creams and dirt creating a coating. In the process, your stones will inevitably lose lustre. But if your piece is cut well, it will still possess fire. That’s why we advise clients to go for the very best cut of diamond. The same advice stands for coloured gemstones.
The MOST IMPORTANT of the 4Cs is CUT, meaning THE WAY the STONE is PROPORTIONED, NOT its OUTLINE and SHAPE.”
Acquiring a new piece of jewellery, whether as a first time buyer or seasoned collector, should always be done with a solid understanding around specifications and budget. Do your research and come to the table prepared, but also be mindful of some of the acquisition traps. Basing a jewellery buying decision solely on discount rate, forfeiting carat weight for beauty and treating each of the 4Cs as equal are all mistakes to avoid. Remember, jewellery professionals are the only ones who can provide true market-driven advice. An informed decision also ensures that every acquisition is a piece worthy of collection.