CIRCA Featured in the June/July 2014 issue of Harper's Bazaar
The fine-jewelry craze is at a fever pitch. Here’s what to invest in now.
It’s an exciting moment for aficionados of fine jewelry. Business is booming, auction houses are smashing sales records, and museums and luxury brands are curating blockbuster exhibitions. (The Denver Art Museum gets into the act this fall with “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century.”) So it stands to reason that the secondary market is picking up steam. “Mid-century modern—that’s where the real heat is,” says Jeffrey Singer, a cofounder of Circa, a New York–based company that buys and sells previously owned jewelry internationally. “I call it the ‘cool and groovy’ era: coral and lapis blended, onyx and malachite. Not diamond intensive, but jewelry you could wear with jeans. Aldo Cipullo, who designed the Love bracelet, made other wonderful pieces for Cartier in the late ’60s to the mid-’70s. Tiffany gold link necklaces. You may have paid $2,500 in 1973 for a coral, nephrite, and gold link necklace. It could be a $10,000 necklace today.” What to buy now? Singer says that, unsurprisingly, iconic brands and styles still offer the greatest value. But beyond mainstays like Cartier, Tiffany, David Webb, and Van Cleef & Arpels, newer names are gaining traction. “David Yurman, in a relatively short time, has gone a very long way,” says Singer. “The Elsa Peretti Bean necklace in all sizes—silver or gold—has withstood the test of time. And anything Tiffany by Jean Schlumberger is coveted in the secondary market. Seaman Schepps—if I had a pair of their classic shell earrings, I would bring them out.” When it comes to watches, it’s all about rose gold, particularly if the watch is a Rolex. “Their rose gold is a little redder than others,” he explains. “The method by which they combine the alloy is proprietary. It’s sort of like the Coca-Cola recipe.” Other tips: Save certifications and original packaging, and don’t refurbish items for resale. “Many of our clients—wisely—buy a piece of jewelry, wear it for a few years, and then look in their jewelry box and think, I forgot I owned this piece. They’ll sell it, and use the money to buy something else.” Nevertheless, Singer says, investing in fine jewelry is “more an art than a science.” He adds, “Buy what you love.” Jenni Avins