5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing Your First Luxury Jewellery Piece

Published 20 June 2022

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Entering the market for wearable luxury is wildly different to other types of fashion shopping. While day to day purchases require little more than a whim and a swipe, a unique investment piece deserves your complete consideration. Perhaps it’s a piece of jewellery you’ve dreamed of owning, one you imagined back when your younger self could only afford nickel-coated costume options from train station malls. Or perhaps you’ve decided to mark a special anniversary with something magnificent you can keep forever. Or perhaps it’s just high time you treated yourself. Whatever the reason, arming yourself with the checklist below will ensure you’re not shopping blind. Feeling a little savvy and educated will make the experience more worthwhile and the outcome more successful. 

01.

Know your personal style

While a six-tiered diamond necklace on Ariana Grande might stop you mid Instagram-scroll, becoming mesmerised by another person’s style can easily confuse your own. When you begin shopping for a special piece, get to know your own aesthetic. Understand what you like and what you actually wear.

Firstly, decide which precious metal suits you. Have you always worn yellow gold tones or white gold tones? Which colour complements your skin best? Or decide if you want a mix of both. Secondly, look at your wardrobe. Is it a resplendent rainbow of fashion or more one of a monochromatic minimalist? And finally, recognise your overall lifestyle look. Opting for a decadent Art Deco piece might be spectacular but if your taste is usually contemporary then the jewellery is likely to feel more like an antique collectable than particularly personal. Style is individual and acknowledging your own will inevitably determine your connection to the piece and how long-lasting your love for it will be. 

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02.

Become familiar with jewellery specs and techs

It can be daunting reading the plethora of statistics associated with fine jewellery, so getting to know your brilliants from your baguettes and your platinums from your carats will make you feel like an informed investor. When it comes to diamonds, for example, get to know the original ‘4 C’s’ – colour, cut, clarity and carat, as well as the new ‘5th C’ – conflict-free. Recognising these gradings will allow you to understand the overall quality and integrity of the diamond.

With precious metals, on the other hand, there are generally five style options: platinum (a premium heavy weight metal with a white-silver colouring), yellow gold (heavy weighted and naturally coloured), white gold (a white-dipped yellow gold), rose gold (a blend of yellow gold and copper) and silver (a light-weighted white metal). The more specifications you research before purchase, the better. You wouldn’t buy a car without understanding its engine capabilities or a computer without knowing its capacity, so comprehending the details of an investment like luxury jewellery is equally essential. 

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03.

Understand the investment

Once you become au fait with the language of jewellery, you will begin to realise the scale of its luxury and discern its investment value. Most pieces of premium accoutrement hold their worth, with many even increasing. And while you probably wouldn’t invest in jewellery for the same reasons you would the stock market, knowing they are an appreciating asset is peace of mind. For example, from 2002 to 2020 the value of gold increased around 330 percent while rare stones such as diamonds, rubies and emeralds retained their value despite ongoing trade changes worldwide. For these reasons, it’s also worth adding any luxury commodities to your personal insurance plan.

More importantly, however, the purchase of a premium piece means you become the custodian of a future heirloom. Even the most financially-focused reports on jewellery investing discuss the significance of such items’ economic and emotional weight. A necklace, ring or bracelet that is worthy of passing from one generation to the next is one that also earns a unique sentimental value – something that no one can put a price on.

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04.

Research the designer

All pieces of specialist jewellery begin at the hands of a talented artisan. That is, a company or designer who takes exceptional items from initial concept right through to becoming tangible pieces of design. Spending time reading the history of the Maison and about their methods and materials will build you a familiarity for the brand and some context for the piece.

Take, for example, Milanese jewellery house Pomellato. The 50-year-old luxury label started by Pino Rabolini is known for its particularly sartorial designs – pieces with distinct rounded silhouettes and outstanding, vibrantly-coloured gemstones. Or global diamond house Graff that began in 1960s London and has since inherited an unparalleled reputation for design perfection. Their custom cut diamond baguette collection entitled ‘Threads’ is inspired by human connection and a perfect example of innovative creativity. Knowing these stories will help your heart, not just your head, make your ultimate decision. 

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05.

Decide on your jewellery’s occupation

Once you have purchased your forever item you get to take it home, of course. From then it will be up to you what it does. That is to say, it’s not ideal to purchase a piece you have no immediate intention of wearing. If you can only imagine unboxing it for your debut at The Met Gala you might need to think a little less like Cinderella. After all, beautiful jewellery should be seen. So, you need to decide what you want the piece to be. Is it for everyday life, or saved for fancy dinners and parties? Or should it be for both? Arguably, a successful piece of jewellery is a hard working one. One that can radiate a jeans-and-tee ensemble just as well as it can a Bottega ball gown. And while there’s nothing wrong with keeping a piece filed under? “too special for the school run”, saving it for Harry Styles would be a shame, too. Jewellery kept in a drawer may as well remain in the store. Plus, if you should ever bump into Harry on the school run, you’d be spectacularly prepared. 

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