Art and Jewelry are both bought as stores of value that have aesthetic appeal. But the jewelry market is more straight-forwardly about buying something that can be exchanged at a later date. With that in mind, let’s look at the recent jewelry auction results in New York. Rapaport News is the trade magazine of the industry. Here’s what they said about the sale at Christie’s:
Surprisingly, the sales room at Christie’s was packed and the mood was heady with very competitive bidding from dealers and privates on the phone and in the room. Many familiar faces and important dealers were in attendance. Auctions are as much about the items for sale as they are about theater and a number of industry insiders showed up to find out the fate of a 30.02-carat, pear-shaped DIF type IIa diamond. With much fanfare, the perfectly cut bowtie-less stone set in a ring with a shank styled as an eternity band of pink diamonds sold to a private for a whooping $4,002,500*, or $133,000 per carat against an estimate of $2.5 million. While diamonds fared well throughout the sale, it was specific to this auction that this stone sold so well and is not necessarily an indicator of the diamond market in general.
Sotheby’s didn’t pull the industry crowd into its saleroom and the auction house made more out of a different segment of the jewelry market:
The sale held up well for wearable, signed and decorative jewelry, which sold for strong prices. Diamonds under 10 carats did well, as did some larger brown and yellow diamonds. But there was resistance to diamonds over 10 carats, perhaps because there were no DIFs. Those connoisseurs buying larger diamonds demand perfection, especially buyers from China, where many of those stones are going these days.
Privates, in jewelry parlance, are private buyers who treat an auction as a retail opportunity as opposed to trade buyers–or dealers–who will sell the item to a client, presumably for a mark-up or a fee. Sotheby’s jewelry experts feel that the current market is being supported by private buyers.
Some dealers in the room felt that prices were a bit high for this market and so they held back on bidding. Most of the buying for this sale came from privates from Asia and the U.S. [ . . . ] “Privates have a chance again,” observes Gary Schuler, senior vice president, head of Sotheby’s New York jewelry department. “A year ago, the market was so bullish theprivates couldn’t buy. There was no selling around the estimates; the prices went way higher, the trade was bumping up the market.”
A Tale of Two Auctions (Diamonds.net)