Ultimate guide for buying jewellery at auction

Buying jewellery at auction should be considered a sport.

It requires a considerable time investment before you can be good at it. It demands a strategy as well as your flawless execution for you to achieve your goal. It involves dealing with other competitive buyers. And last but not the least, it calls for your commitment, patience and effort if you want to reap the jewels, we mean rewards, you desire.

To help you in your jewellery-hunting adventure at auctions, we have gathered the most valuable advice of different experts from the jewellery auctions industry. Keep this guide handy, bookmark it in your phone or print it out. This ultimate guide lists the ABCs of buying jewellery at auctions.

Always know what you’re bidding on

This is a step that must be done before your first bid. Once you find a piece of jewellery you’re interested in, it’s time to do your research. Here’s a short items detail checklist you might want to use.

  • Where did this jewellery come from, i.e., which geographical location/country?
  • Where did the gemstones or pearls come from, if any?
  • Are these stones natural or treated?
  • When was this jewellery crafted, i.e., what time period?
  • What is its hallmark (if the jewellery is made of precious metal)?
  • Who was its previous owner?
  • Does it come with a certificate of authentication, condition report or valuation papers, and from whom?

This principle still applies if you are buying jewellery at an online auction site. Should you find the information about the jewellery on our auctions lacking, you may send us a message to see if we have the details you require.
Just remember, these are just considerations, we may not be privy to the past or origin of a specific piece you’d like to bid on.

Be bold

Buying jewellery items at auctions can be a very competitive, whether you do it in person or online. If you are in a live auction, know that your body language speaks volumes about your level of desire and will to own that particular item. Psych out the other buyers by remaining calm and cool, even though you are a few hundred dollars away from your maximum limit. Keeping your hand in the air is another tactic to show other buyers that you are a serious buyer, and can intimidate more timid buyers to walk away.

Consider tapping into the expertise of others

Two heads and four eyes are always better than one and two, respectively, especially if you are scrutinising jewellery worth thousands of dollars. Invite your jewellery aficionado friend or relative to come with you during the preview days. They may spot things you could miss and provide you invaluable insight about the items you like.

Do your homework

It’s always a wise idea to arrive at auction day or place an online bid when you already have as much knowledge as possible about the jewellery items. There’s loads of informative articles online like this one that can help prepare you beforehand. You may also want to consider going to antique or vintage jewellery stores, especially if the items up for auction belong to this category, look around their pieces and ask their questions.

Equip yourself – Literally

Experts recommend bringing a camera, magnifying glass, notepad with pen and torch with you during preview days to aid you in your analysis as well as listing of the jewellery you’re interested to buy. Take a snapshot of the items displayed during preview days – this can give you additional protection by providing photographic evidence of what the items should look like during the auction day. But don’t forget to ask permission first from the auction organisers if you can take photos of their jewellery pieces.

You may also request for a copy of the detailed list of items up for auction, if already available, during the preview days.

Follow your maximum budget

If you have committed to bid a maximum amount of $ 2,500 on that diamond ring you fell in love with during the preview day, stick to it. No matter how the diamond looks extra sparkly during auction day, it will be for your own good to surrender once the bid exceeds your maximum budget.

Go for trusted auction organisers or sites

Remember that jewellery items up for auction do not carry warranties, unlike those you buy from retail stores. Going to established auction houses or registering at reputable online auction sites will give you peace of mind that the jewellery items are genuine indeed.

Experts recommend buying jewellery from trustworthy auction houses or sites to lower your risk of being a fraud victim, such as ending up with fake jewellery, or a cheaper replica of what was posted online.


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