INTERVIEW – Senior Christie’s specialist sees “big influx” of consigned jewels in 2021

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By David Brough

A “big influx” of consigned jewels is expected for next year’s magnificent jewellery auctions as some collectors were not getting full use of their jewellery during lockdown, a senior Christie’s specialist said.

The leading auction houses have stepped up online and telephone led sales during the pandemic and have seen resilient results in the high-value jewellery segment.

“I think we will have a big influx of consignments next year,” Max Fawcett, head of Christie’s Geneva jewellery department, told Jewellery Outlook in a telephone interview after Christie’s Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva in November.

“People with big jewellery collections realised they were not using their jewellery (as much) any more,” he said.

“My view is that next year, some of the longstanding collectors will start to sell their jewellery.”

However, for some collectors it will be a wrench.

“Jewellery is emotional. It is usually the last thing that people sell.”

At the Christie’s Geneva sale on November 10, the main lots met or exceeded their estimates, signalling that the auctions market for exquisite high-value jewellery and gemstones is robust despite the pandemic, as collectors took refuge in rare and beautiful pieces as “safe haven” investments.

Christies
Image courtesy of Christie’s.

A rectangular-cut fancy purplish-red diamond ring of 1.05 carats by Graff achieved $2.64 million per carat, a world auction record price per carat for a fancy purplish-red diamond, selling to Tiara Gems and Jewellery, a Dubai-based company specialising in rare fancy colour diamonds.

 

Auctioneers have noted a reluctance by some collectors to consign items during the pandemic, possibly because they wished to hold on to rare gemstones and jewels as stores of value in uncertain times.

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Christie’s had gathered a number of new clients via the online sales process during the emergency, Max said.

The pandemic had accelerated the digital transformation of auction sales which was already under way before the crisis, he added.