I love all aspects of my work, and the end of the Spring season is the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened and what’s to come – and to share those reflections with you. Here’s what I’ve been thinking as summer kicks into high gear:
I recently gave a short talk titled, “How to Buy a Diamond Like a Pro”. The idea was to show my audience how to buy a diamond like a dealer in order to get the best quality jewel at the best price.
I gave my audience two key secrets I want to share with you:
- Head for shows instead of retail jewelry stores
- Buy vintage or antique instead of new
The reason is that antique jewels are many things new jewels are not. Specifically, they are:
- Unique (you won’t see the ring you purchase on anyone else’s finger)
- Often of better quality and workmanship
- More interesting and varied in design
- Beautiful (thanks to the beauty of antique cut stones)
- More affordable
I then taught the audience the in’s and out’s of “walking a show” which is the best way to get an overview of all the show’s offerings before making any decisions, and I also showed them how to use a jeweler’s loupe to look into a diamond. Several attendees wanted to know more, so I’m thinking about developing a podcast on this topic. If you’d be interested in listening to podcast episodes on buying like a pro, let me know.
The rings you see in this post are just a few examples of the types of jewelry, art and treasures I purchase and if you’d like to see more explore my shop! P.S. I’m spending the month of July abroad, so if you make an online purchase while I’m away, be assured that you will receive a confirmation/receipt immediately and that I will ship your item when I return on August 1st.
Antique shows are underrated – especially today when all the world is buying online. But when you consider that show vendors are professional dealers who specialize and are more passionate about what they sell than anyone else (except perhaps collectors) AND when you consider the fact that they’ve invested their own capital in their stock (unlike the staff at retail stores), you begin to understand the value of attending antique shows. The opportunity to tap into a knowledge base of these experts of decorative arts, jewels, sculptures, paintings and art in general is there waiting for you, all under one roof.
Where am I heading next? Masterpiece London. Not to buy (as it’s for collectors with deep pockets), but to learn.
Of course, finding and buying inventory that sells is difficult and that’s why my heart goes out to show dealers everywhere when attendance is down, as it is right now. You might think those showing have low overhead, and that can be true. But many show merchants also have brick and mortar stores (especially those who participate in higher-end shows), and I love knowing that I’m supporting my peers by attending.
Auctions are currently quite expensive from a dealer’s point of view. My most recent forays into bidding in international auctions (Paris and Toronto) ended in disappointment with prices soaring for colored gemstones in particular. Sales are posted online and anyone can bid live from anywhere in the world. Thanks to Antiques Roadshow and many other factors, auctions now have a huge number of private clients and reap enormous profits by charging hefty buyers’ premiums. So, dealers, unless they are bidding on behalf of clients, are increasingly being squeezed out of that market.
Arts and culture travel is booming around the world as people seek out personal experiences that cater to their interests. This desire and the demand it’s creating is why I started Art & Treasures Tours. These upscale, intimate and customized travel experiences give me the opportunity share my passion and knowledge with others and I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be adding tours to Moscow and London in 2020.
There is simply no better way to explore jewelry and treasures and learn the stories behind them than by visiting the countries in which they were created. For example, this spring I took my Paris tour guests to meet and dine with Parisian gemologists, auction experts and authors, Juliet de la Rochefoucauld, Anna Tabakhova and Marie Chabrol – to name just a few. We also experienced Paris in April from a convertible 1973 luxury sedan!
The added bonus for me is getting to know my amazing tour guests and I feel grateful for the lasting friendships that have formed through this work that I love.
That’s just a few of things I’ve been reflecting on this summer. Now, I’m off to Cambridge UK for July and look forward to giving you an update from there! Thanks for reading!