Fine jewellery has long been a symbol of wealth and status and, paradoxically, the market seems to defy general economic trends. Investment-grade jewellery often appreciates in value over time, and iconic brands like Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and diamond purveyors such as De Beers and Harry Winston are especially sought after.
Although investing in fine jewellery may feel like a reach, there are many places where you can start to build a collection that is sure to appreciate over time. In this article, we will delve into the world of investable luxury jewellery, exploring the factors driving its popularity, the most sought-after pieces, and how to navigate this market to make wise investment decisions you can wear on your wrist.
Luxury jewellery can be a smart investment when considering several factors such as brand reputation, timeless design and quality materials. Renowned brands offer prestige and lasting value, while classic designs maintain charm and enduring appeal, transcending fleeting trends. On the other hand, high-quality materials such as gold, platinum, and precious gemstones retain and potentially appreciate, providing a sound long-term investment.
When choosing jewellery to invest in, it's essential to consider its resale value based on these factors. Carefully choosing which jewellery to invest in ensures a good return on your investment, if and when you decide to sell it. According to the Knight Frank market report, the jewellery market has grown by 6% in value over the past year.
Luxury jewellery can be a smart investment when considering brand reputation, design, and materials. Well-known brands deliver prestige and lasting value, while classic designs possess an enduring charm and appeal that outlast passing trends. High-quality materials, such as gold, platinum, and precious gemstones, not only retain their value but may also appreciate over time, making for a solid long-term investment. Ultimately, investing in jewellery combines the pleasure of owning beautiful, wearable art with the potential for financial gain.
Luxury timepieces have long been considered valuable collectible assets beyond their ability to display status and wealth. With a combination of craftsmanship, prestige, and limited production, luxury watches often appreciate enormously over time, reaching 18% growth in 2022. Brands like Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet continue to appreciate in value and are considerable respectable investments by experts everywhere.
Rolex remains the highest-performer on the market, averaging 113% of their value on the secondary market according to Rebag’s Clair report. According to the same report, Hublot and Breitling follow Rolex in the timepiece category, rising to 64% and 55% retention value, respectively. Cartier timepieces have also shown themselves to increase in value, with the Tank and Santos watches holding the best chances for guaranteeing a return on your investment.
Cartier is usually a safe investment piece, having landed the top spot in the fine jewellery category of the Clair report. The brand’s pieces retained an average of 79% of their value at resale. Cartier's Juste Un Clou bracelet is an iconic piece due to its unique design and prestigious brand heritage. Designed in the 1970s by Aldo Cipullo, the Juste Un Clou is a modern and bold interpretation of a simple nail transformed into an elegant, edgy bracelet. The collection has expanded into necklaces and rings, although the bracelet tends to retain its value more (96%, compared to the 62% value of a resale value of a ring).
The iconic Juste un Clou bracelets are some of the best jewellery investments that well-informed buyers can make right now. They are extremely contemporary, in demand and hold approximately 106% of their value according to experts at The RealReal. Celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Kendall Jenner and Meghan Markle have been spotted wearing the piece, increasing buyers’ interest.
Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra necklace is another timeless and elegant piece with potential as a jewellery investment due to its instantly recognisable design. Established in 1906, the brand is known for its intricate and innovative designs and its craftsmanship excellence. The Alhambra collection is characterised by its four-leaf clover motif, inspired by the Moorish quatrefoil shape found in the architecture of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The design intends to convey luck, love, health, and wealth, making it an enduring and sentimental favourite among jewellery lovers.
The most iconic item in the collection is the necklace, which is available in various materials and gemstones including gold, white gold, platinum, mother-of-pearl, onyx, malachite, turquoise and other precious and semi-precious stones. Each clover motif is carefully handcrafted and edged with delicate beading, demonstrating the brand's meticulous attention to detail. Over the years, the Alhambra collection has expanded to include earrings, bracelets, and rings featuring the iconic clover motif.
The enduring popularity and timeless elegance of the Alhambra necklace make it an attractive option for those looking to invest in luxury jewellery, holding an impressive 113% of its value, according to The RealReal.
The Cartier Love bracelets are some of the most recognisable pieces of jewellery in the world, thanks to their screw-fastening and conceptual design inspired by the idea of love and commitment. While the Love collection has expanded into rings, earrings and necklaces, the most famous item is the bracelet. First introduced in 1969 by French designer Aldo Cipullo, the Love bracelet is famous for its unique design, made of two C-shaped halves that are hinged together and fastened with a tiny screw. These screws use a special screwdriver that comes with the bracelet, and the distinctive locking mechanism symbolises the unbreakable bond of love, as the bracelet can only be removed with the accompanying screwdriver. The Love collection is crafted from various precious metals, including 18k yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and platinum. They are also available in a range of styles, including with diamonds and other precious gemstones.
The Cartier Love bracelet has garnered immense popularity over the years, becoming a symbol of modern love and a favourite among celebrities, royalty and fashionistas. Its timeless design and powerful symbolism make it a highly sought-after piece of jewellery for people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the Clair report, they maintain an average resale price between 85-96%.
The Serpenti collection is an emblematic line from the renowned Italian luxury brand Bulgari. Founded in 1884, the jeweller is known for its bold designs, vibrant gemstones and exceptional craftsmanship. The Serpenti collection is a signature range of jewellery and timepieces that draw inspiration from the seductive and mysterious nature of the serpent.
The Serpenti design has its roots in ancient Roman and Greek mythology, where the serpent symbolised eternity, wisdom and rebirth. Bulgari's reinterpretation of the serpent motif has evolved since the 1940s, with designs that emulate the snake’s essence through sinuous and flexible forms. The jewellery pieces are designed to gracefully wrap around the wearer's body, mimicking the fluid movement of a snake.
The collection includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and watches, all featuring the iconic coiling snake design. Serpenti pieces are often crafted using luxurious materials such as gold, platinum, diamonds and a variety of precious and semi-precious gemstones. The jewellery pieces are designed to gracefully wrap around the wearer's body, mimicking the fluid movement of a snake.
The Bulgari Serpenti collection's enduring appeal and distinctive design make the Serpenti collection an attractive option for those looking to invest in luxury jewellery with the potential for appreciation in value.
De Beers Group is a globally recognised name in the diamond industry, and was founded in 1888. With a longstanding history spanning over 130 years, De Beers has been a significant player in the mining, trading and retailing of diamonds. The company's expertise and influence in the diamond market have made it synonymous with luxury, quality and exclusivity. This is largely due to the company’s innovation in the diamond industry, and the fact that they only accept exceptional diamonds that only accept the best diamonds. The brand carefully considers factors such as the 4Cs – carat weight, cut, colour, and clarity and provenance.
De Beers Jewellers offers a range of exquisite diamond jewellery, including engagement rings, wedding bands, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Each piece is crafted with exceptional attention to detail, ensuring that the diamonds meet the highest standards of quality and beauty.
The legendary model, Halston muse and jewellery designer Elsa Peretti not only brought back silver to Tiffany’s, she also created the now-iconic Bone Cuff Bracelet in 1974. Inspired by her visits to a Capuchin crypt in Rome and the undulating lines of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Milà in Barcelona, the Bone Cuff comes in a number of precious metals. The design is sleek and minimalist, even though the bracelet itself is very bulky. Peretti's design philosophy centred around the idea of capturing the essence of natural forms and simplifying them into fluid, organic shapes. This approach is particularly evident in the Elsa Peretti bracelet, which showcases Peretti's ability to create wearable art with a distinct sense of elegance and grace.
According to the Clair report, the bracelet retains an average 102% of its retail value. Proper care and maintenance will help preserve the bracelet’s beauty and ensure it remains a cherished piece of wearable art for generations to come.
The Hermès Collier de Chien bracelet was initially inspired by a dog collar, hence its name. The original design featured a wide leather band adorned with pyramid-shaped studs and a prominent central ring. The bracelet is fastened using a series of adjustable notches and a distinctive sliding clasp, which adds to its unique and recognisable appearance. Since then, it has been reimagined in several different types of materials, including calfskin, alligator, lizard and ostrich leather, among others. The hardware, which consists of the studs, ring, and clasp, is typically crafted from precious metals such as gold-plated or palladium-plated brass. Over the years, Hermès has released limited edition versions of the Collier de Chien bracelet featuring exotic leathers, vibrant colours or diamond-encrusted hardware. A solid gold version has also sporadically been made available by the brand.
Hermès knows how to make covetable accessories better than anyone, so it's no surprise the Hermès Collier de Chien bracelet holds 66% of its value when listed on the resale market, making it a smart investment.
Chanel Fine Jewellery has its roots in 1932 when Coco Chanel launched her first and only fine jewellery collection, called "Bijoux de Diamants." This groundbreaking collection featured intricate designs with diamonds, showcasing the designer's innovative approach to jewellery. Today, Chanel Fine Jewellery continues to create stunning pieces that embody the spirit of the brand, while staying true to Coco Chanel's vision of modernity and sophistication.
Chanel's fine jewellery collection consists of an array of pieces, including necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings. The designs often incorporate signature motifs and elements that are synonymous with the brand, such as the iconic interlocking double-C logo, camellias, pearls, and stars. These motifs pay homage to Coco Chanel's personal interests and passions, making the collection truly unique and representative of the brand's history.
Like most of the brand’s items, Chanel fine jewellery tends to hold its value well, according to a 2020 report from the resale site The RealReal, the brand ranked fifth behind other jewellery giants like Van Cleef & Arpels, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes.
Foundrae is a relative newcomer in the contemporary fine jewellery market, founded by Beth Bugdaycay and her husband, Murat Bugdaycay, in 2015. Based in New York City, Foundrae is known for its unique and meaningful designs that combine modern aesthetics with symbolic elements. The brand has quickly gained popularity for its distinctive, versatile, and personal pieces that resonate with a wide audience, including celebrities and fashion enthusiasts.
Foundrae’s design philosophy revolves around creating jewellery that tells a story and serves as a form of self-expression for the wearer. Each piece is crafted with intention, incorporating symbolic elements from various belief systems, such as astrology, mythology, and numerology. The brand's signature medallions, for example, often feature symbols representing strength, karma, protection, and other personal virtues or values. This clearly resonates with buyers, since according to The RealReal, Foundrae necklaces hold approximately 106% of their value on the resale market right now.
You can also choose to invest in up-and-coming designers when looking for a more affordable investment in luxury jewellery. A good example is Anita Ko, a Los Angeles-based designer known for her contemporary and edgy fine jewellery. Her designs often incorporate diamonds and other precious gemstones in modern and innovative ways, with a focus on wearability and versatility. Anita Ko’s creations have gained popularity among celebrities and trendsetters, making her pieces an attractive investment option. As her brand continues to gain recognition and prestige, the value of her jewellery is likely to appreciate over time. As of right now, The RealReal reports that Anita Ko earrings hold approximately 71% of their value.
You can also choose to invest in other timeless pieces, without any necessary brand name recognition. One iconic example is a tennis bracelet, an elegant piece featuring a single row of diamonds or other precious gemstones, set in a symmetrical and continuous pattern. Typically crafted in gold or platinum, these bracelets are versatile, making them suitable for both casual and formal occasions. Their enduring appeal and classic design make tennis bracelets a wise investment, as they retain their value over time. Another example are solitaire earrings, featuring a single diamond or gemstone in each earring, a sophisticated choice. These earrings are often set in gold or platinum, with the stone held in a simple setting, such as a prong or bezel. Solitaire earrings are highly sought-after for their versatility and elegance, making them a valuable addition to any investment portfolio.
While the precious materials used in jewellery are inherently valuable, not everything holds its value in the same way. The Clair report, for example, states that brands such as Gucci and David Yuman hold the least value in the secondary market, falling somewhere between 40-48% of their resale value.
Another not recommendable jewellery investment is that on jewels that are extremely specific and personal to you, or that are made of materials that scratch or deteriorate quickly with time. In this market, rarity and high-quality materials are crucial, so anything that is mass-produced or gold-plated may lack the craftsmanship and quality of materials that can contribute to an item’s value. It is important that you ascertain that all of the gemstones and metals used in your jewellery are genuine if you wish for your items to retain and appreciate in value.
Investing in jewellery can be a fun experience as you explore your style, creativity, and appreciation for artistry. It is also a stylish and financially rewarding opportunity when approached with diligence and thoughtfulness, and the thrill of acquiring unique and exquisite items that reflect one's taste, and witnessing their potential appreciation over time, adds excitement to the investment journey. These investment pieces not only represent sophistication and grace but also present a distinctive chance for investors to merge their love for fashion with the possibility of monetary gains. Ensuring proper care for your investment jewellery is essential to guarantee interest should you decide to sell it.
By concentrating on crucial factors such as brand prestige, classic design, high-quality materials and previous resale value, you can make educated choices when picking pieces to include in your collection or investment portfolio.
We urge you to consider the recommendations provided in this article, but keep in mind that conducting your own research and staying updated on market trends, historical pricing data and resale potential is vital for making well-informed purchasing decisions. Armed with the right knowledge, you can curate a collection of luxurious jewellery that enhances your style and promises attractive returns on your investment.