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A buyer's guide to buying jewellery from online auctions.
4 Mins

Buyer's Guide: Jewellery

Jess Gibson
Jess Gibson

Fashion designer Michael Kors, once stated that carefully curated accessories act as an ‘exclamation point’ to any outfit, which just goes to show how instrumental they are in subtly elevating your look. Whatever the occasion or time of year, jewellery is always in fashion – which means it’s always on someone’s shopping list, right?

Despite this knowledge, the plethora of jewellery available can make it difficult to know which pieces are the most popular and which are, in fact, essential. In the auction and antiquing world, such knowledge is important, as it can help steer you towards the more valuable items and the ones that are most likely to be coveted.

Of course, the key thing about buying jewellery is to buy pieces that you love. Cast an eye over our jewellery buying guide and use our tips to help you on your jewellery-buying journey!

All the colours

An experienced jewellery proprietor is aware of the importance of owning both gold and silver pieces. Sure, we know that advice often suggests that you should stick with just one or the other and see which matches your complexion, but these days, it’s all about finding the right vibe to go with your outfit. So it makes sense to invest in both gold and silver, right?

Those wanting items with a more vintage, classic feel are, however, more likely to be on the lookout for gold jewellery – specifically of the yellow gold variety – due to the historical status of gold as a more valuable and expensive metal (just think about medals: gold, then silver, then bronze). Thus, whilst you would do well to incorporate both into your collection, it would be sensible to consider tipping your purchasing behaviour more heavily in favour of gold – especially if you plan on finding jewellery for specific events or (if you’re selling it on) for specific buyers..

A real gem

As well as keeping an eye out for both gold and silver pieces, it’s also a good idea to have an array of the most sought-after gems in abundance throughout your collection – whether earrings, necklaces, bracelets, or rings. Sapphires, rubies, and emeralds are perennially popular gems, imbuing a sophisticated vintage glamour to outfits. Plus, they’re pretty classic in design and will add clout to any vintage lover’s collection.

Lesser-known gems, including peridot and opal, are gaining in popularity, as many jewellery connoisseurs are casting their eyes back to the past to find more unique, yet equally stunning, pieces. It’s also important to remember that, as pointed out by fashion royalty such as Jackie Kennedy and Coco Chanel, pearls never go out of fashion (and, for that matter, neither do diamonds).

Diamond knowledge

If you don’t know very much about diamonds, the most important thing you need to familiarise yourself with is the 4Cs: cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight of a gem. Once these characteristics have been determined, the shape and setting can then be analysed.

The size of the stone is not how you should judge a diamond - whilst a diamond's carat may have the biggest influence on price point, the cut of the diamond - which affects its sparkle - is actually a more important measure of quality.

Check the details

When bidding in online auctions you don’t get to see the jewellery in person to examine it pre-purchase so you want to be sure you’re getting a full picture of the piece you’re buying. If you’re buying a pre-loved item that may have scratches or flaws, there should be photographs of these. Our vendors are thorough in their descriptions and with their images but if you see something that you want to know more about or have specific queries, you just need to get in touch with us and we can help.

Not all jewellery has this but where relevant, look out for a marker’s mark. This is a stamp of authenticity and appears on pieces of English gold, silver or plate denoting the person or firm responsible for producing the item.

Think about options

If you’re into choosing your accessories to match certain outfits, it would also be beneficial to have a selection of jewellery options throughout your collection, from the everyday items to the more unique pieces. Obviously, gathering a range of rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings is essential, but so too are items such as brooches, hair pieces, and arm cuffs – particularly in this age of circular shopping and green initiatives.

In amongst this collection, those looking for stand-out, brand name pieces should look out for well-regarded jewellery designers, such as Tiffany and Cartier. They’re a great talking point if you’re at a special event and will always be desirable.

Careful cultivation of your auction-bought jewellery collection can help you to ensure you obtain the most eye-catching, stunning pieces available that you are likely to treasure for years.

We run many jewellery sales containing pieces to tempt you. Cast your eyes over our live auctions and see what you could be bidding on today!