Optimize Value of Jewelry

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The notion of luxury is shifting from permanent, physical object ‘possession’ to transient, intangible ‘experiential luxury’ – a change which has put luxury’s traditional hierarchy at risk of revolution, writes Wealth-X.

Whilst everyday ‘luxury’ items such as designer handbags are still valuable companions for consumers, this is met with scorn by certain commentators. “What we call luxe today is just ridiculous” says Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent’s lover, business partner and now patron of the arts “A handbag that a woman takes with her all over the place — to a grocery store, through the airport — I cannot imagine how that can be considered luxury.” (Source: NY Times)

Material Value

  • Label = Brand: Millennial luxurians will instead use their online reputation, their vast social media audiences and global networks, as a form of trading currency to obtain services and products from brands. –> labels that can significantly hike its selling price (Bonhams)
  • Status: It is obvious that the term ‘luxury‘ implies a high level of quality, which we also understand is subjective. However, most of the value that sets one brand apart from another, in terms of luxury, is immaterial. That is, to say the symbolic properties that are related to identity, whether through self-identity or through status and group-membership. Fashion itself is centered around this concept: beyond clothing ourselves for protection, what we wear is on some level an indication of who we are or who we aspire to be.
  • Real Price: clients are looking at how much value they get, at what price
  • workmanship: “we still want to know the face behind the creation” –>If we know the thought process, the inspiration, the philosophy of the creator, we can more fully engage with the product.
  • Stones: where they came from, how a particular color was formed and what are its distinguishing qualities.
  • Power of Marketing: The purpose of all marketing is to create “want.”
  • How they did it? Because jewellery is such a visible part of social history and decorative arts, it is very relevant to look at the inspiration of a design and its historical context. I think people like to know that, for example, a new design from Cartier was in fact inspired by an archive illustration from the last century. So storytelling, in my opinion, is an important part of writing about jewellery, not solely a marketing tool for the brands. No design is created in isolation and jewellers like to share their sources of inspiration.
  • Rarity: Rarity illuminates the notion of desire; it validates the idea that something is unique, special and somehow worthy of the term luxury. This is why companies like DeBeers take great measures to limit the number of diamonds on the market. More generally, this is also why limited editions are created: limited supply (plus great design, excellent quality and/or spectacular marketing) can create a frenzied sort of demand and support a premium price.

Immaterial Value (New Value Economy, Post Materialism, Less tangible, transient, intangible ‘experiential luxury’)

  • Sentiment: Jewels combine art, sentiment, and the hope that they will be a heirloom
  • Trend (Past, Present, Future)
  • Storytelling (pleasure, emotions):  People like the idea of continuity and the fact that, say, the same family has run a jewellery atelier in Paris for three generations. It gives a sense of permanence and validity, something that we lack in our daily world of ever constant change and innovation.
  • Dream: Luxury is something where people attach their dreams to. The coronation of all their wants, that what is not at all or only barely achievable. Luxury is often fleeting. Luxury does not necessarily have to be expensive. Yes, much of what is truly luxurious costs nothing at all or so little in monetary terms that it is not even worth mentioning. –> luxury brands are exclusively marketed through messages meant to make the consumer dream of a different world
  • Want: We buy luxury items strictly because we want them, and not because we need them. For items like watches and jewelry, this concept is taken to an extreme. Take for example a luxury car. People still need to drive and travel from point A to point B. They might choose a more expensive car over something more basic, but at the end of the day they still need some type of vehicle. Jewelry on the other hand serves no utilitarian purpose, and timepieces – while functional at heart – are easily supplanted by more modern technology. So, we want timepieces and jewelry, but we don’t need them. This leads to some interesting psychology when it comes to how we make purchasing decisions. –> Perhaps people are looking for something enduring that is beautifully conceived and created, be it a watch or a jewel. An object that gives pleasure, reassurance, or confidence each time it is worn.
  • Experience (Experiential luxury is one-off and unrepeatable. This makes the moment of experience ever more important)
  • Personal Status (Sharing on social media has revolutionized the nature of luxury experiences): Property, cars, antiques and art – the commodities that high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) have traditionally sought to accumulate to signify their wealth.
  • Time: Wealthy consumers will increasingly view time as a commodity to be hoarded and savoured, while wrestling with the fact that the very process of asset accumulation often robs them of the chance to share it with those that they love. –> Something that speaks to you year after year, even generation after generation. And of course we don’t need any of these things, but we treasure them, on whatever scale we can, from modest to hugely extravagant. Treasuring something is an inherent part of our nature.

In sociology, post-materialism is the transformation of individual values from materialist, physical, and economic to new individual values of autonomy and self-expression.

Jewellery is weighted with meaning. It doesn’t matter what it is, there is likely to be some sentimental or emotional reason you wear a particular thing – in my case, I wear my mother’s wedding ring on my right hand, and a battered, misshapen silver thumb ring, bought for me by my youngest daughter with her 50p pocket money. I’ve also lost other pieces over the years – a gold chain and dragonfly pendant that belonged to my great-grandmother (a mugging), and my grandmother’s gold watch, which fell off my wrist, disappeared into the vacuum cleaner and emerged in bits. I’ve sold other pieces – my wedding and engagement rings and a gold brooch, when we needed a new roof over our heads post-divorce – but I remember them all. And that’s the other thing. While there is some jewellery somewhere, there is a sense, however small, that things will probably, somehow, be all right. I wince when I see people parting with jewellery to raise cash because I know how that feels. It hurts.

Eartha Kitt: “Jewellery, to me, is a pain in the derrière because you have to be watching it all the time.” And you do, but that’s also part of the pleasure.

–> Improving service, becoming even more client-centric, how to gain newer and younger clients, how to deal with millennials who think and behave so differently from previous generations, the importance of thinking digitally, and how much brand adaptation is needed for the new challenge without losing your authenticity and DNA.



In Trying Times, Costume Jewelry Back in Vogue. [online ] Available at: http://www.finews.com/news/english-news/25688-baume-mercier-alain-zimmermann-interview-luxury-asia. [Accessed 08-02-2017].

The Invisible Woman, Wednesday 12 February 2014 15.00 GMT. Jewellery’s value lies in its emotional or sentimental worth. [online ] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/fashion-blog/2014/feb/12/jewellerys-value-emotional-sentimental-worth. [Accessed 08-02-2017].

Duke Greenhill, 19 Sep 2012. Luxury: The Business of Selling Dreams. [online ] Available at: http://luxurysociety.com/en/articles/2012/09/luxury-the-business-of-selling-dreams/. [Accessed 08-02-2017].

Rapaport News, Jan 9, 2017 10:39 AM . Households Unaware of 80% Rise in Jewelry Value. [online ] Available at: http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=58429. [Accessed 08-02-2017].

Rapaport News, Jan 9, 2017 10:39 AM . Households Unaware of 80% Rise in Jewelry Value. [online ] Available at: http://www.diamonds.net/News/NewsItem.aspx?ArticleID=58429. [Accessed 08-02-2017].

Ariel Adams, JUN 19, 2014 @ 07:56 AM. How Emotion & Storytelling Make A Difference In Luxury Watch Sales. [online ] Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/arieladams/2014/06/19/how-emotion-storytelling-makes-a-difference-in-luxury-watch-sales/#37c9120b7bfc. [Accessed 08-02-2017].







Book: Semiotics and Hermeneutics of the Everyday




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