Silver Lining For Jewelry Artists in Current Crisis?

Recent news about the jewelry industry has been grim. Rapaport News reported a 19% decrease in attendance at the prestigious American Gem Trade Association show in February. Tiffany announced it will close its sixteen Iridesse Pearl Stores, opened in 2004. And from the UK is the news that Diamonds and Pearls, a large retailer, is in “administration.”

What does all this mean for the jewelry industry? JCK, an industry publication, recently concluded a series of roundtables with leading manufacturers and retailers. Their conclusions: the industry will consolidate; the credit crunch will continue to be a problem keeping inventories on both the manufacturing and retail levels low; the high price of gold continues to be a problem for manufacturers and retailers; and, both industry sectors will have to find new methods of working together.

But despite low inventory levels and the credit squeeze, retailers will have to keep their shelves stocked. Nothing scares off a potential client quicker than empty showcases. So, it is highly likely that these retailers will be far more open to accepting goods on consignment than in the past.

This is an opportunity for jewelry artists, artists who create one-of-a-kind highly collectible jewelry and who may have previously confined their sales and marketing efforts to art and craft galleries. The opportunity is to educate the consumer about the wonderful work being created by studio artists, a term that originated after WWII and refers to an artist working alone in his studio.

Although many of these artists work in high karat gold and use gemstones, a number of them use lower cost materials. And it is likely that artists who use both expensive and less expensive materials in their work are highly interested in moving their jewelry in this economic climate. So, prices which would be high in good times are probably lower.

The opportunity for artists is to expose their work to a new audience, but one that is also interested in collectible jewelry. The opportunity for jewelers is to display new work. And, the opportunity for consumers is to acquire one-of-a-kind work from artists they may be previously unaware of.

Invest in Tomorrow’s Collectible Jewelry Today

Wouldn’t it be great to have a time machine that would allow you to go back and buy today’s collectible jewelry at yesterday’s prices? You can do the next best thing by buying jewelry today that will become sought after in the future. Here are eight tips to help you in your search for tomorrow’s collectible jewelry.

1. Quality and craftsmanship

Quality pieces command quality prices. Cheap jewelry is a dime a dozen at flea markets and resale shops. But quality pieces with crystal stones that still shimmer and faux pearls that have retained their luster paired with metal that hasn’t had its finish rubbed or flaked off, will always hold appeal for collectors.

2. Pieces hallmarked with the designer’s name

A designer’s name or mark on a piece adds instant value. It gives an item the cachet of the entire breadth of the designer’s work. Look for a hallmark on the back of pins or brooches, near the clasp of necklaces and bracelets, or on a separate hanging tag in the same finish as the metal.

3. Name recognition

Not every designer becomes well-known. Every collector of vintage jewelry probably has at least one piece in their collection with an obscure hallmark they can’t identify, and that’s fine if they like the piece. But when they come across a piece with an instantly recognizable name, they don’t hesitate to scoop it up. They know they’ve found something special — and they know they’ll be able to sell it in the future to someone who will appreciate the name as well as the style.

4. Small production per piece

The fewer pieces of an item there are in existence, the higher the demand and price. Opt for the offbeat or unusual — as long as you like it — over a generic piece with mass appeal. While both will have resale value if they’re made well, the unique piece should prove harder to find, thus driving up its resale price. If a more expensive item captures your heart, remember that fewer people buy a higher priced item which can create increased demand in the future.

5. Limited Edition pieces

A Limited Edition eliminates the guesswork of how many pieces were made. Limited Edition pieces should be stamped with both the total number in the Edition and the number of each particular piece. For example, piece number 12 in an addition of 250 will most likely be stamped on back “Ltd. Ed. 12/250”. If you buy a piece that isn’t stamped with the actual edition, but instead has a Certificate of Authenticity with that information, be sure to keep the Certificate with the item to ensure you get the optimum resale price in the future.

6. Thematic pieces

Look for pieces that will have crossover appeal to at least two groups of collectors. For example, Christmas jewelry is sought after by both jewelry collectors and Christmas collectors. If it’s an angel, you’ll add angel collectors to your list of potential buyers as well. The more people you have vying for an item, the higher your selling price will be.

7. Assurance of authenticity

Buy from a reputable retailer. Designers in all fields are plagued by knock-offs. An Authorized Reseller protects your investment by ensuring that you’re getting the genuine articles you’re paying for.

8. Buy what you like

This is the Cardinal Rule for collectors. You’ll never go wrong buying what you like. Today’s joy won’t be diminished if you aren’t able to sell something at a profit tomorrow. And if you truly love something — you probably won’t want to part with it anyway!

Remember these eight tips and you’ll have a much better chance of being happy today — and tomorrow — with your jewelry purchases!

Click here for information on one of today’s most prominent jewelry designers.

Shopping Thrift Stores and Pawn Shops For Collectable Jewelry Considered

Finding pristine pieces of collectable jewelry takes a lot of patience and a bit of knowledge. That means it takes some experience and observational talents that must be developed over time. Some folks like to peruse the online ads on eBay, Craigslist and such to find collectable jewelry, but you better make sure you know what you are buying and that the picture displayed is crisp and the actual digital shot of the item that is for sale.

It’s starting to sound a little dangerous buying stuff online or at online auctions isn’t it? Sure it is, so beware. Still, a talented shopper can find some super deals online, again, with patience, knowledge and knowing exactly which questions to ask, before they send the electronic payments to the seller. May I be so bold as to offer some advice on shopping for collectable jewelry another way, using the “what you see, is really what you get method?”

 
Why not go into a nicer area and check out the Pawn Shops? Right now with the economy in the tank, many folks have hocked their collectable jewelry to get quick cash to stay in their homes, pay their mortgages, or get money to stay out of bankruptcy. With job losses increasing at the bottom of the recession, there is quite the supply available.
 
If you have collectable jewelry and you take it to a Pawn Shop do not expect to get much for it, it’s too risky and many Pawn Shops will not give you much for it, as there is no definite market and its value is so hard to judge. There is a market for some specific top end brands like Rolex Watches, but for the most part collectable jewelry is not so easy to Pawn.

 
Perhaps this is why you can get such a good deal for it. And while you are at the Pawn Shop, why not check out the Thrift Stores too. The selection might not be so great during a down economy, since more folks are shopping for low prices for jewelry, but Thrift Stores often have great collectable jewelry, again if you are patient and know what to look for. Think on this.