02/12/2022 General News
As we enter December, the first Christmas which we will be able to celebrate properly for three years is nearly upon us. That means that the High Street is full of shoppers desperately trying to find that original and unique gift for their loved ones.
If you are like me, you will have noticed a certain ‘identikit’ nature to retail at this time of year. Finding something truly unique is increasingly difficult. As you pass from shop to shop, you get a sense of déjà-vu; the realisation soon kicks in that most retailers are sourcing their stock from the same wholesalers.
Because of this, we are seeing an increasing number of people looking outside the mainstream High Street for their Christmas shopping, and more and more of them are coming to the saleroom to seek out that truly individual present.
This is particularly true in the world of jewellery. Look in any over-lit retail jeweller’s window, and you will see much the same stock.
You can’t blame the traders for this, in the current climate they have to play it safe and offer what has mass appeal. But that does mean that finding something quirky, something personal, something individual, is increasingly difficult.
Big-scale retailers also can’t react to rapid changes in fashion. For example, for a long time pearl necklaces were out of favour; but all it took was celebrity influencer Harry Styles to wear one, and suddenly they were all the rage. Unfortunately, few makers are producing these – so the auction room is an obvious place to turn.
It is noticeable that many people are moving away from the thought that any jewellery you buy has to be brand-new. More and more buyers are realising that vintage, pre-owned pieces offer significantly better value, are often much more interesting, and provide a more sustainable solution, compared with buying high mark-up, mass-produced jewellery on the High Street.
Jewellery auctions generally offer a huge variety in terms of choice and price, with all sorts of styles, stones and periods, from the 18th century to the present day. A typical Keys jewellery sale will have upwards of 300 lots, pretty much every one of them unique.
At an auction, you will find many unorthodox gemstone and material combinations that are not generally found in the catalogues of most big retailers. High Street retailers can’t hope to offer the types of unique, vintage, and sometimes outright bizarrely cool jewellery pieces you will find at an auction.
What’s more, in the saleroom, jewellery is sold at its market price – as opposed to its retail price. You might be shocked at how big the difference can be.
But the main reason for seeking out that Christmas jewellery gift in the auction saleroom is that this is where you will find the unique, the personal, the quirky. It is a refreshing antidote to the increasingly identikit nature of our High Streets, and with live online bidding it is easy and accessible. So it’s no surprise that an increasing number of festive shoppers are choosing to buy jewellery this way.