If you still think of estate jewelry as old-fashioned pieces culled from your grandmother’s attic and sold at auction, you are mistaken. Savvy buyers know that pre-owned jewelry can be as current as six months ago. A necklace from Roberto Coin, for example, whose owner wanted a change. In fact, the cases (and online inventory) at Gray & Sons Jewelers are stocked with many of the same luxe rings, necklaces, earrings and watches that are also selling at the branded designer boutiques at Bal Harbour Shops in Miami, on Fifth Avenue in New York City or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
“It’s the mentality of a woman who wears a $5,000 Roberto Cavalli dress once to a party and she’s not going to wear it again,” describes Keith Gray, owner of Gray & Sons Jewelry. “Or the man who gets a new car every year and trades it in with 6,000 miles. They do the same with jewelry and watches. They bought it and thought they’d love it. And maybe they did love it. But then they got tired of it because they have a short attention span. They don’t want to have a vault box of stuff they’re not using anymore. These are the type of people that come to us to sell their estate jewelry. We have created a market in that previously loved world of recycling luxury jewelry, watches and diamonds.”
For consumers, the savings can be substantial. Look for a brand’s signature pieces, which rarely change over the years. “Van Cleef & Arpels has been selling their Alhambra collection for many years, with little differences,” Gray notes. “Or Cartier’s tricolor Trinity ring, which has been around forever. Whether you have one that is six months old or one that is 15 years old, they look identical. They are nurtured, cared for, loved and they look new when you get it from us. But the price is up to fifty percent what you would pay for new. Somebody else took the depreciation out of it for you. We have a workshop with a master jeweler and polisher, two different departments, and they essentially take the pieces back to factory original new. They remove any scratches, nicks and dents and put the curves back in.”
That’s not to say that all of the merchandise is current, and for good reason. At Gray & Sons, estate jewelry can hail all the way back to the 1920s. “We buy and sell everything from estate jewelry, to vintage luxury watches” Gray says. “It creates an eclectic collection. There’s a whole world of people who want that vintage look. For the last two or three years, there’s been a throwback to yellow gold. It’s brighter. And rose and pink gold, which is a warmer color gold. Men are wearing rose gold now, too.” It’s an opportunity to purchase something unique, to own a piece of history. And, most importantly, there’s no odometer or expiration date on jewelry.