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Thursday, June 14, 2012


Well it's been a while since I last blogged about jewelry, and even longer since I attended a "live" high end jewelry auction. And as much as I'm hell-bent on retiring from selling jewelry, I could resist the urge to attend the recent DUPUIS AUCTION in Toronto. Attending live jewelry auctions, especially high end ones, is stressful but thrilling, hard on your backside (all the sitting LOL) but such fun!

But the fun and enjoyment isn't just limited to the day itself. The pleasure comes from being able to preview some of the most exquisite and valuable jewelry in person before the auction. This is done by actually visiting Dupuis' offices in Toronto, being shown to your own table, and waited on for as long as you need to look at, handle and even try on jewelry that you dream of owning but, in some cases, could never afford. That's what my daughter and I did several days before the auction. And here's a shot of her trying on an out of this world coloured diamond ring that sold on Sunday for $42,000 CAD (before 25% buyer's premium and 13% sales tax!!):

7.85ct brown diamond ring set in platinum sold for $42,000 at  Dupuis  Auction,  June  10, 2012

Another magnificent piece she tried on and would have loved to be able to afford was this incredible 10.5ct old mine diamonds bracelet below: 

10.5ct old mine diamonds bangle set in 14k sold for $36,000 at Dupuis Auction, June 10, 2012

Just think: there are only 5 diamonds in that bracelet for a total of 10.5cts ... so each diamond is over 2cts. All I can say is WOW!

We looked over at least 100 pieces during that preview and were treated like royalty. Such a pleasure to "shop" this way, to truly to be able to inspect each piece, read full condition reports, and all with no pressure from salespeople. The pressure came on the day of the auction itself. There we were, wishing, hoping we could win a couple of pieces and feeling frustrated as bidding sent the items sky high and out of our reach. Of course, we knew all along that we could never hope to win items with estimates ranging upwards of $50,000 for a solitaire, but sometimes, even the lower estimated items surpassed all expectations. One that springs immediately to mind is the jadeite ring set in silver shown below:

15.75 x 11.55 x 5.85 mm jadeite set in silver sold for $15,000 at
 Dupuis Auction, June 10, 2012

We weren't interested in this one at all, but a few people sure were! This ring was estimated to bring only between $600 - $800, but when the hammer fell, it had fetched $15,000! What a shock. 

Diamond/Emerald dolphin pin by Cartier sold for $2500 at Dupuis Auction, June 10, 2012.

One of the items I would have loved to win was the Cartier diamond dolphin pin shown above. I held this beauty lovingly between my fingers during the preview, looked at those diamonds through a loupe, and almost wished I weren't "retiring" so I could buy this and offer to my customers. The estimate on this piece was only $1400 - $1800, but when the auction for it ended, it had sold for $2600 CAD (+ 25% buyer's premium and 13% sales tax remember!) All I could do was sigh, wriggle in my seat to take the numbness out of my derriere, and move on to the next piece!

Oh, I could go on and on, but if you're interested in seeing all the fantastic jewelry that Dupuis offered, slip over to THIS LINK where you can look at each piece, see what the estimated price was, and also what it sold for. Did everything sell? No. A good number of the very high end pieces didn't sell this time around. I asked about this following the auction, and it seems, just as we all have days or,  in our case, weeks, months where nothing seems to sell, this happens at these live high end auctions too. Nor can anyone predict what will sell at any auction.  A year earlier, there'd been a huge rush on yellow diamond rings. This year, interest was well down. And when it comes to designer signed items, eg. Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Gubelin .. while these always garner more interest, the final dollar realized still depends on the rarity of the item. For instance, in this auction, there were several of the Cartier love rings. They didn't fetch any more dollars than they do on eBay. In fact, some went for less than vendors are charging on eBay! Then again, the pair of Van Cleef & Arpels lion pins shown below fetched $6000. 

Well I have seen one eBay seller trying to sell just one of these for months now for a lot more than that. And here we think eBay has the bargains LOL. But again, one always has to keep in mind that the hammer price is not what you end up paying. You have to add a 24% buyer's premium and 13% sales tax to that. 

What it did point out to me, as it has done before, is just how low I'm pricing my own designer signed pieces ie. I'm giving them away in my Ruby Lane and Ruby Plaza shops. I may just as well not even bother trying to sell them there. I could consign them to a Dupuis Auction and probably come away with a better dollar. Hmmm ... might have to consider that ... unless some of you reading this decide to take advantage of my low prices on designer signed pieces before Dupuis' next auction, coming in October. Think about it. You'll find some of my Cartier and Van Cleef and Arpels in my RUBY PLAZA SHOP right now. They're resting there until September when  I'll reintroduce them to our Ruby Lane shop. Why not stop by and check them out!