My boyfriend and I are starting to get very serious. With graduation coming up, it’s beginning to look a lot like an engagement. We’re talking about it openly, and even discussing rings. I’m excited about all of it, including the silly jewelry stuff. In fact, I’m actually becoming really interested in diamonds and jewelry in general!
I have a question, though, about jewelry and value: do brand names really matter? Sometimes, pieces with similar jewels and metals that look similar to me are priced differently because (I assume) they are from two different brands. How does this work?
It sounds as if you are at a very exciting point in your relationship. It’s wonderful to hear that things are going so well for you, and that you and your boyfriend are communicating so well about these subjects.
To the question at hand: what’s with these jewelry brand names? As you pointed out, having the right brand name on a piece of jewelry can increase its value. But why?
Part of the story, of course, is quality. Companies like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier have been around for a long time, and they have earned a reputation for quality fine jewelry that people respect.
Another part of the story is the power of a brand in general. Studies show that we’re willing to pay more for brand-name products, even when there is no appreciable difference. The phenomenon affects everything from clothing brands to prescription drugs, and there’s every reason to believe that it extends to the world of jewelry, too.
However, there’s also another important factor to consider here; one that becomes clear when you begin to think of jewelry as an asset, or even an investment.
It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that some people invest in very strange things. You can get into the market on anything from collectable card games to waterfowl decoys (no, we didn’t make that up! People really do invest in waterfowl decoys). Jewelry, with its valuable jewels and metals, rich history, and culture of limited editions and exclusivity, is a perfect fit for this sort of tangible investment strategy, and there are people who use it this way.
That means that the resale value of jewelry is a factor, say the diamond buyers at Luxury Buyers. And, the demand for brand-name pieces, including both modern pieces and vintage ones, helps ensure that they always sell well.
You probably won’t treat your jewelry like an investment, selling it off for profits and buying it up again when the market dips. In fact, it sounds as if you think you’ll soon be wearing at least one piece that you don’t intend to sell! However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t treat it like a valuable asset. There may be pieces you get in the next few years that you may someday be willing to part with for cash, whether you need the money to make a big purchase, or escape from a tough financial situation. Because of this, having jewelry that holds its value makes sense, and that’s another part of the puzzle of why brand-name diamonds and jewelry are more valuable.
“Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust; like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.” – John Webster