Collector’s Guide: How to invest in Jewellery and Designer Handbags

19th June 2018

Lot 99. A pair of ruby starfish earclips, by Lalaounis. Estimate: £100-£200.

The forthcoming sales of Summer Jewels and Affordable Luxury taking place on 26th June offer an exciting range of antique, vintage and contemporary pieces at affordable prices. Ahead of the day, our Luxury departments share their expertise on how to invest in Jewellery and Designer Handbags without paying the eye-watering price tag.

Whilst luxury brands are renowned for stringent production quotas and long waiting lists with sought after models kept discreetly behind closed doors, buying at auction gives you the unique opportunity to bid and walk away the same day, designer jewels or handbag in tow.

‘Investment for people in their 20’s and 30’s is not as clear cut as for previous generations. An asset-based approach to a diverse portfolio could make for as much enjoyment as the stock market.’ – Sarah Duncan, Head of Jewellery

Duncan recommends that potential bidders buy what they like, ‘having an interest in items you are collecting drives the passion to build on the collection and can lend itself to the possibility of adding value through research.’ Furthermore, single owner collections prove appealing in the auction market and can reap strong financial rewards, ‘interested buyers admire collectors who have unique pieces which have a connection and are keen to benefit from the investment in time and expertise of the previous owner.’

‘A jewellery collection always starts from somewhere, whether through inheritance, a gift from a loved one or a treat for one’s self. The joy of finding a piece, a designer or a genre that you fall in love with, alongside speaking with and learning from a trusted adviser at the point of starting and then developing a collection adds to the thrill of the chase. You’ll always remember the first piece you buy for yourself, even as your collection grows and evolves. After all, it was that piece that set you off onto your lifetime journey of passionate collecting.’ – Clare Blatherwick, Jewellery Consultant

Lot 81. An early 20th century diamond, pearl and sapphire brooch. Estimate: £200 – £300.

Jewels that are consistently sought-after at auction are historical pieces or works by particular 20th century designers. For example, period pieces by French designers have traditionally held a premium and even works not attributed to a designer can display the trademarks of exceptional quality and workmanship (see lot 81).

Duncan advises that an interest in particular designers can reveal their different ranges, which can provide ideal entry-level options for new collectors. The forthcoming auction of Summer Jewels offers an extensive collection of Tiffany & Co, work by famed Greek Jewellers Lalaounis, as well as diamond and sapphire pieces, with estimates starting at £80 – £120.

How to invest in Jewellery and Designer Handbags

Lot 285. Chanel Medium Black 2.55 Classic Flap Bag, c. 1994-96. Estimate: £1,000 – £1,500.

‘Hermes has long been a byword for luxury and exclusivity and the highly coveted Birkin, the outcome of a chance meeting in 1983 between actress and singer Jane Birkin and Chief Executive of Hermes at the time, Jean-Louis Dumas, has beaten both the stock market and gold as an investment class since its launch in 1984.’ – Meg Randell, Head of Designer Handbags & Fashion

Randell advises that if you are buying handbags as an investment, it is the Hermes Birkin, Hermes Kelly and the Chanel Classic Flap that will prove the most worthwhile. Launched by Coco Chanel in 1955, the iconic Chanel Classic Flap or 2.55 bag was one of the earliest shoulder bags and is Chanel’s most popular and enduring design, with prices increasing year on year in both the retail and secondary markets.

Whilst the Birkin and Kelly command particularly large sums of money at auction, the designer handbags department regularly offers an exciting range of vintage to contemporary pieces at affordable prices including coveted labels by Louis Vuitton, Prada, Mulberry and Christian Dior. Sourced from private wardrobes across the U.K. and Europe, each piece is authenticated and many are in immaculate condition, having never been worn.