Jewellery traders and connoisseurs alike are drawn to the quintessential charm of antique jewellery. Even a younger generation of buyers is taking notice of these exceptional products.
Vintage Burmese ruby and diamond brooch and earrings combination, circa 1960s
A 1928 Art Deco diamond brooch by Rene Boivin
Art Deco Colombian emerald and diamond ring, circa 1910s
Antique jewellery pieces are steadily making their way to buyers' treasure troves but what makes these jewels appealing?
“Buying a piece of antique jewellery is like buying a piece of history,” revealed antique jewellery dealer, author and researcher Ioannis Alexandris of Gemolithos Fine Gems & Jewels. “Like a prized piece of art, the value of antique jewellery appreciates overtime.”
Based in Germany, with offices in London, Hong Kong and Beijing, Gemolithos offers an expansive range of antique, vintage and estate jewellery pieces, specialising in items from the 1800s to more contemporary designs. Its major markets include the US, China, Hong Kong, India, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Solid demand, evolving market
Demand for antique jewellery has risen tremendously in the last five years, with China as one of the most promising markets, according to Alexandris. Rising interest in these special items does not only stem from their glaring rareness but is also fuelled by a changing clientele – millennials and Generation Z are becoming an increasingly powerful force in the consumption sector and are displaying a developing awareness of antique jewels.
“The market for antique and vintage jewellery is growing continuously, especially among millennial and Generation Z buyers who are more focused on creativity and uniqueness, and making responsible choices when it comes to jewellery,” revealed Alexandris.
China's younger generation of buyers are particularly attuned to their need for knowledge and authenticity, opting to learn more about the importance and value of antique jewellery.
At present, there is huge demand for antique jewellery pieces in China, despite it being a relatively new market in this segment.
With mounting demand, prices are on a steady rise especially for pieces of higher quality and design, as well as signed items.
According to Alexandris, antique jewellery may either be inherited from a loved one or bought for trade or collection. Whichever way the item is acquired, there is undeniable significance attached to it since it is one of a kind.
These jewellery pieces are mostly adorned with top-grade natural stones. While the quality of the diamonds is not always on a par with the 4Cs standard of the 21st century, these stones mostly come from legendary mines. Signed pieces are also rare, especially those older than 100 years, he continued.
At the Jewellery & Gem WORLD Hong Kong (formerly September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair) last year, Gemolithos presented a wide range of antique and signed jewellery pieces, including a signed Van Cleef & Arpels piece from the Art Deco period and a 19th century piece with diamonds and emeralds from the Chivor and Muzo mines. It also displayed Kashmir sapphire and natural pearl pieces.