01/02/2023 General News
February, the month of romance and Valentine’s Day. This is one of the busiest months in the jewellery profession.
Of course, there will be many proposals, and couples seeking out engagement rings, but equally there will be many people who just want to show their love for their partner with an original and unique piece of jewellery – and this can be where the difficulties start.
If you are like me, you will have noticed a certain ‘identikit’ nature to retail; 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.
This is why independent shops, such as those to be found in areas like The Lanes in Norwich, continue to thrive, bucking the trend which has seen so many retail chains close their doors in recent years. It is also why we are seeing many more individuals (as opposed to traders) in the saleroom, seeking out that truly individual present.
Look in any 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.
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 Valentine’s 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 shoppers are choosing to buy jewellery this way.