"The jewellery market has changed from people simply collecting jewellery to wanting to buy things they can wear every day", says Stephen Cohu
There are many reasons people consider buying a piece of jewellery - to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, a birth (a pushing present as they have become known!), a gift for a friend. Still, the best reason of all is that it is beautiful and makes the wearer feel good!
The human race has adorned themselves with all manner of jewellery for thousands of years, from pre-history to the present day, and although styles may change, the meanings remain the same. Antique and pre-loved jewellery is an excellent way of celebrating. There doesn’t even need to be a special reason, buy it and enjoy it for its quality and uniqueness and of course, its great value for money compared to buying new! A gift of remembrance, a celebration of a special moment, a simple gesture of love or friendship or perhaps just a purchase for its beauty and enjoyment, jewellery has it all.
Many peoples’ perceptions of vintage or antique jewellery will be that it is old fashioned, something your granny might have worn and does not fit in with our busy way of life. That may be true of some of it, but much is very wearable today. The jewellery market has changed from people simply collecting jewellery to wanting to buy things they can wear every day, in the house, at work, in the garden, to go out. A classic drop off in demand is for brooches, but an attractively priced Victorian diamond brooch will look fabulous against a dark sweater or jacket and can be worn on any occasion.
Much contemporary jewellery is mass-produced, so you no longer get those unique pieces created possibly hundreds of years ago. Most of the high street jewellers’ windows will display exactly the same items, often at what we would consider breathtaking prices.
A good example is the ubiquitous 0.25 carat diamond solitaire engagement ring. For the same money pre-loved, you could get a much bigger diamond, probably better quality and of course with much more consideration and enjoyment of choosing it.
Anniversaries are one of the most popular times to buy jewellery, the gift becoming progressively more expensive the more years passed showing your devotion to your partner. The etiquette for which material to celebrate which anniversary really only became standardised in the early 20th century with the publication of the book “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in politics and at Home” published in 1922, which listed gift suggestions for certain key milestone years. This list has been added to and modernised over the last 100 years to become the standard list we have today.
Different countries have different lists and likewise different birthstones. In the UK, you have to wait 25 years for silver, 30 years for pearl, 35 coral, 40 ruby, 50 gold, 55 emerald and a huge 60 years for diamond. No way should you wait 60 years to give a loved one a diamond; we think diamonds are suitable for any anniversary! A gift of rubies for 40 years has become very traditional, and you can find many beautiful, unique pieces of pre-loved ruby jewellery that would be a gift to be treasured forever.
Perhaps surprisingly, one of the recent developments in “tradition” has been giving a diamond solitaire as an engagement ring. The popularity of diamonds for engagement gifts only came about around 1947 when De Beers, the world’s largest diamond company, came up with the advertising slogan “A diamond is forever”. Before this, any stone could be given, and indeed, we recently sold a fine blue sapphire with a diamond surround as an engagement ring. Such is the power of marketing that today, it would be seen as out of place not to give a diamond for an engagement gift. Things are changing, though, with our younger clientele seeking out jewels that are unique, that can be any precious stone, antique and vintage pieces with a story to tell with previous lives of love and devotion. So much has changed from Roman times when engagement rings signified the woman was owned by a man, nothing to do with love or sentiment!
Pre-owned jewellery not only celebrates past and future love but is eminently wearable to simply give pleasure to the wearer, a wealth of beautiful, unique craftsman made pieces at very affordable prices. We stock a vast range of jewellery at our St Lawrence showroom to give you as many ideas as you could ever need. A celebration for every occasion, you really can’t go wrong.
Stephen Cohu Antiques buy and sell antique furniture, fine art, jewellery and objects.
You can find Stephen Cohu Antiques on La Grande Route de St Lawrence.
Fine Victorian cameo £380
Mabe pearl and diamond 18ct gold earrings £980
Diamond and turquoise earrings £2750
Emerald and diamond 18ct gold ring £2850
Ruby and diamond 18ct gold ring £1950
14ct gold, pearl and diamond brooch £1600