Fashion, like the jewellery market, goes in cycles and trend-spotters will have noticed that many styles of antique jewellery have been making a comeback lately. Why has demand soared for the classics, and why are certain designs having their time in the sun once again? Analysts say there are two main reasons for the recent surge in popularity, whether you are following your head or following your heart when buying jewellery.
No matter what kind of fashions are in vogue at the minute, one thing always holds true about vintage jewellery: They're not making any more of it, or at least not making any more of the genuine article! In recent years, antique jewellery has been rising in popularity as a long-term investment alternative to stocks and shares, just like the gold and gems that it incorporates“International markets such as Russia, the Far East, and the Middle East are looking to collect jewellery and are realising and appreciating jewellery as an art form, Lee Siegelson, of Manhattan jeweller Siegelson told Forbes a few years ago and his prediction of the market heating up turned out to be right on the money.
Experts say that the rise in value and popularity of antique jewellery is linked not only to scarcity and to rising prices for gems‚ including the natural pearls dating from before the mass production of cultured pearls from around a century ago‚ but to the ease of buying online, which has put a lot more buyers in touch with sellers around the world. Dealers say that it was once the‚“golden rule‚ for buyers to steer clear of vintage pieces until they had been able to give them a good inspection in person, but Internet sales and the vastly improved quality of online images have made a huge difference and revolutionised their businesses.
Investment value aside, the comeback for antique jewellery is part of a rise is nostalgia across society for bygone times ‚ and contrary to what some may think, senior citizens aren't always the ones looking back most longingly at the past! The increasingly technology-driven nature of much of our lives has inspired a wave of nostalgia for less computerized times, cultural experts say, with demand for vintage rings and necklace coming as just one part of a wider trend toward classic looks.
Popular culture's revival of bygone times has created demand for several kinds of antique jewellery in particular. One major style seen more in recent years after a period in obscurity is Edwardian, which jewellery consultant and Antiques Roadshow experts John Benjamin describes as“quite fussy, with diamond tendrils and garlands, often set in platinum‚ - a style that will be very familiar to fans of.
But experts say that from TV and movies in recent years, Downton Abbey has definitely had the biggest effect on demand for antique jewellery, with the hit drama helping fuel a surge in popularity for Art Deco pieces from the 20s and 30s that were starting to swing back into popularity even before anybody had heard of the show. Jean Ghika, Bonham's head of jewellery in the UK, says that the show's stars provide “wonderful insight into how the beautiful pieces from the Art Deco era were worn, for example Sautoir necklaces, clip brooches and hair ornaments. Like jewellery in other popular show placed in bygone times, they are ‚“pieces that come to life on screen, which allows potential buyers of similar work to see how they might be incorporated into an outfit today, Ghika says.