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5 Tips for Collecting Designer and Luxury Jewelry

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Just about every woman, at some time in her life, owns a jewelry box. It might start off filled with juvenile pieces like clip-on earrings and fake pearls and then graduate to more mature pieces of better quality that maintain their value as the years stretch on. So how does one start a jewelry collection that’s worth anything down the road?

Here are five tips so you can start your own robust jewelry collection that speaks to your personal style.

1. Know the difference between designer jewelry and luxury jewelry.
When starting a collection, the first thing to take into consideration is that the word “worth” is relative, and that all collections must begin with your individual passions.

Second, learn to discern between designer and luxury jewelry. They might sound like the same thing, but in the jewelry and fashion world, the difference is significant. Designer jewelry tends to come in at broad price points that can cater to several markets, and its design is often swayed by popular trends. Designers operate on a season-by-season basis, so it’s not unusual for entirely new collections to pop up once or twice a year while last season’s material is sold at a discount. Designer goods are also usually delivered immediately, since there usually is very little customization involved.

Conversely, luxury goods come in at higher price points to maintain the long and expensive production process for each piece. Luxury brands rarely, if ever, stray from the classic motifs and designs that they have been making for decades, if not centuries. These designs tend to contribute to the overall branding of the larger company—as such, few variations upon the narrow product lines they produce become available. The prestige, then, that comes with luxury jewelry is the result of the brand’s long and storied history that is rooted in an esteemed country of manufacture and the brand’s unwavering dedication to the tenets of design that have made it great.

2. Invest in proper storage cases.
While some pieces of jewelry are considered very rare, there’s no reason to treat your items like they’re going to break if you handle them—but that doesn’t mean you should toss them on the kitchen counter alongside your lunch container after a long day’s work, either.

If you’re into designer jewelry pieces and find yourself creating collections from your favorite artisans, then chances are you actually wear the pieces you have instead of keeping them locked away. Invest in nice leather and fabric-lined jewelry cases that can easily be transported in a carry-on bag but can also protect your pieces from damage. If you find that you’re buying more high-end, luxury pieces of jewelry, our hope is that you’re storing them in either a safety deposit box, or a home safe that’s bolted into the floor or wall of your house.

3. Buy from the heart, as well as the head.
Jewelry was made to be worn, and there is no more offensive statement you can make to a designer than to buy a piece of their jewelry only to pack it away for safe keeping. Jewelry is an artform and wearing it should make you very happy.
When looking to add to your jewelry collection, find pieces that you know you’ll wear, even if it’s only on special occasions.

It’s important that you still fall in love with a luxury piece so that you don’t have regrets shortly after your purchase. And always consider pre-owned pieces, too; shopping pre-owned means you can save some money and avoid the shocking resale value drop-off that comes with taking a brand new piece out of the store. (To learn more about the benefits of shopping pre-owned, read our post on the topic here.)

4. Appraise and insure your pieces.
Remember that home safe mentioned above? Well, that won’t always be enough to cover the cost of your loss should your jewelry go missing or get damaged.

Make sure that if you’re buying an expensive piece of luxury jewelry, you have the piece appraised within the first week or two after your purchase. Once the piece has been assigned a replacement value, look into what your homeowner’s insurance will cover, or, look into a Jeweler’s Mutual plan that specializes in jewelry coverage. For your designer jewelry pieces, you’ll want to look at the replacement cost versus your deductible before deciding whether to add those pieces to your current insurance plan. However, if it doesn’t raise your premium that much, it’s worth the peace of mind of knowing they can be replaced.

5. Don’t just buy based on investment.
Let’s face it, there are buyers out there who only buy investment pieces of jewelry from auction houses, and only if the piece was owned by the wife of a former Grand Duke of Tuscany (or the like). Chances are that isn’t you, so it’s best not to enter a purchase with that mentality.

Besides, it’s hard to determine when something will fetch high or low, or what the cost of gold will be tomorrow, or how much platinum will be next week. Buying jewelry that you love—and this goes for both luxury jewelry or designer jewelry—should be a decision that is made based on taste, price, personal style, or love of gems, not whether you could fetch a pretty penny for something down the road.

Remember that diamonds are eternal and that gold has been around for thousands of years, so whatever piece you choose to add to your collection will likely become an heirloom for your family or another’s, and may forever carry your story for as long as it exists.