A couple of thoughts have been turning over and over in my head recently. My capacity for rumination is endless…until I feel I have reached a conclusion…of sorts.
The first thought is antique jewellery should be more expensive and the second, closely linked thought is “What is the value of antique jewellery?”
I think the unfolding advancements in AI and blockchain technology are poised to definitively answer the question, "What is the value of antique jewellery?" This clarity in valuation is likely to lead to an increase in the cost of antique and preowned jewellery, which, by today's standards, may currently be considered relatively inexpensive.
Jewellery prices, like the price of any other commodity follow the laws of supply and demand. The luxury houses of Hermes, Chanel & LVHM have been able to create a frenzy of demand by artificially constraining supply of their principally leather goods. Of course, they could, double, triple or quadruple the supply of handbags but their business model is built on high value, low turnover, and low supply.
When we look at the world of antique & preowned jewellery, sometimes we can pin a value of an item based on a new RRP. This value will, more often than not, be less than the new RRP because jewellery houses tend not to discontinue items with the frequency that that leather goods and fashion companies do. When dealing with famous brands such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co, Bulgari & Van Cleef, vintage and antique prices will rise over time because the market is assured of value (locked in the brand) and scarcity (it is not being produced anymore).
But in the world of jewellery there are many pieces with impeccable credentials (one of a kind, rare gemstones, vanished skills). With the exception of rare gemstones (expect to pay a large fortune for an unheated Kashmir sapphire for instance) demand for such one offs is constrained by the lack of understanding about the scarcity and/or complexity of the piece in question. Skillsets that have essentially vanished or would be impossibly expensive to procure today such as miniature portrait painting or even just something handmade are harder to value by the public. And how does one convey that the piece they are looking at is a one off as is true of many antique/vintage pieces, far more scarce than an Birkin Handbag?
The answer probably lies in the not too distant future. At a conference recently in Geneva, I was privileged to be able to listen to speakers at the forefront of the technology revolution. Suddenly it all clicked! AI & blockchain together will unlock the hidden value in your absolutely one of a kind vintage or antique piece of jewellery.
In the flourishing world of antique jewellery, a renaissance is unfolding, driven by the innovative fusion of AI and blockchain technology. AI plays the role of a discerning connoisseur, sifting through the annals of history to uncover the hidden value of each piece. It meticulously analyses aspects like age, design, and craftsmanship, identifying jewels of rare worth and exceptional beauty. This intelligent scrutiny often reveals undiscovered treasures, elevating their status and market value.
Complementing this, blockchain technology acts as a digital chronicler, meticulously logging the provenance of each piece. It creates an immutable record of a jewel's journey through time, detailing its origin, lineage of ownership, and any restorations it has undergone. This ledger becomes a badge of authenticity, crucial in a market where the story behind a piece can be as valuable as the item itself.
This synergy is giving rise to a points-based valuation system, where jewellery is assessed on factors like scarcity, workmanship, and desirability. Each aspect contributes to a cumulative score, translating directly into monetary value. As this system gains traction, it promises to enhance the value of many antique and vintage jewels, marking a new era where tradition meets technology, and where the past's treasures are rediscovered and revalued in the modern age.
So, if by definition, an antique or vintage piece of jewellery is infinitely more scarce than a handbag, which would you rather collect? Both, I hear! Good! You have to collect what you like after all