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There’s something to be said for that signature blue of a Tiffany & Co. box. Not only does it evoke an immediate sense of identity, but also a sense of quality. You know that whatever is in the box has a pedigree to go with its sense of luxury. It’s also why Tiffany & Co. products tend to keep their value so much better than a piece of non-designer jewelry.
Like Tiffany & Co., some of our favorite designer pieces, or “signed jewelry” as we at Samuelson’s Buyers prefer to call it, are Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, and David Webb. Don’t get us wrong – we love all jewelry! However, these signed pieces often retain their resale value better than those from other brands. It’s largely because they are such immediately recognizable names that they are able to do well on the secondhand market.
Part of the reason why these brands have maintained their longevity and reputation in the jewelry business is because there is an exquisite sense of detail and production associated with their pieces. Over the years, they have built a heritage that is known for their precise craftsmanship, as well as their artistry. Some designers have been the designer of choice for royalty and celebrities because of their high quality and inventiveness. That lends itself to making a brand even more desirable on both the retail and second hand market.
Additionally, when one buys a designer jewelry piece, one is paying for more than the sum of its parts. A Bulgari piece is not just gold and jewels – it’s gold, jewels, and the backing of a reputable and desirable brand. For example, if we had a set of two carat diamonds that had been certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and one was from Cartier and the other was not, the Cartier diamond would be worth significantly more in a retail market, as well as in the secondary market.
Another consideration is the provenance of a piece. Signature trademarks by a manufacturer and craftsman can often be found in signed jewelry pieces, allowing them to hold their retail value, and in some cases, increase their value secondhand. While documentation makes it easier for a trained jeweler to identify the signed piece’s provenance, there are other ways for us to identify the quality, craftsmanship, and veracity of a designer piece. In some cases, a signed piece might hold considerable value because of its connection to a celebrity or a significant moment in time.
Designer pieces differ from pieces from many retail stores that create their products through mass production. Though those pieces likely have sentimental value to the buyer and wearer, it is still largely attainable due to its mass availability. Rarity breeds a sense of exclusivity, which is part of why these luxury brands such as Van Cleef & Arpels are able to dictate such strong demand. Pieces from any given collection are produced in small batches with a strong attention to detail, making them highly desirable to collectors.
If you have a piece of signed jewelry from Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Tiffany & Co., or David Webb, and are not sure what you’d like to do with it, we would be delighted to help you evaluate its worth. If you are interested in purchasing a signed jewelry piece, you can shop our collections on Etsy and 1stdibs. To schedule an evaluation appointment or to visit our Baltimore showroom, you can make an appointment with us online or call our store at 410-403-3091 today.