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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

The Market for Costume and Fine Vintage Necklaces

When a 1925 Cartier vintage necklace set with diamonds and rubies came up for auction in Hong Kong in the year 1994, it went unsold. However, nineteen years later, the same vintage necklace fetched more than twice the earlier estimate, selling for HK$4.82m to a select private collector. The sparkling gems in the necklace were set in a classic art deco style, designed by a very renowned French jewellery house. However, despite the necklace’s provenance, the experts say that demand for such pieces, particularly in China, did not even exist 20 years ago. In the past ten years however, interest from the Asian market in antique and vintage costume jewellery has gathered speed. Buyers have thrown off supposed superstition about pre-owned pieces and also such necklaces and earrings makes an attractive proposition for investors. Buyers are eyeing a range of periods and style – from antique through to art deco and right up to designs of the 1990s by JAR (Joel Arthur Rosenthal), the exclusive and Paris-based jeweller. Pieces of known provenance are particularly sought after. At a Hong Kong auction in April, the Cartier Collection, the famous jeweller’s heritage archive, paid $27.44m for a jadeite necklace that was the subject of a 20-minute bidding war. The growing trend for buying quality vintage necklaces as opposed to newer jewellery is now seen in a younger generation of buyer. These are buyers who may have inherited jewellery, and are paying attention to period pieces. Owning a special unique piece has a cachet. Whoever is wearing the vintage necklace, brooch or earrings knows they will not bump into somebody else wearing the same piece. And limited availability for vintage jewellery always enhances the value. Particular stones are also popular with aquamarine and amethyst being a favourite. An appreciation of the workmanship that goes into vintage jewellery is driving demand. Period pieces will be handmade from beginning to end, which is not always the case with more modern jewellery where computers are often used for precise cutting.

Classic Pearl and Gold and Silver Vintage Necklaces Always in Demand

Vintage necklaces are particularly in demand. Whether it’s classic pearl necklaces, long gold and silver designer vintage necklaces or more costume jewellery necklaces the vintage market has never been busier. Glitzy vintage costume jewellery necklaces are always popular with some of the vintage necklaces from the big brands of recent decades, such as Trifari, Coro, Butler and Wilson and Monet being most sought after.

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