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A Fine Investment: The Jewellery Pieces to Collect

Feature: Long Read
Words by Abigail Gurney-Read

“Diamonds are forever,” sang Shirley Bassey – and the same can be said for many fine jewellery collections. Unwavered by ephemeral trends or ‘the next big thing’, fine jewellery can signify permanence in an impermanent world. A De Beers eternity ring, for example, is precisely that: eternal.


Fine jewellery, to most, feels more personal than fashion. Heirloom tennis bracelet or talismanic charm necklace, it can hold everlasting memories of people and places; of times past, but consequently never forgotten. As an investment, it has practical connotations, too. According to Rachel Garrahan, British Vogue’s jewellery and watch director: “Precious jewellery and watches are the most portable form of wealth in the world.”

So, where to start your collection? Branded jewellery – Cartier, Bulgari, Boucheron – generally makes for better odds. “These brands are hundreds of years old with quality manufacture and design,” reasons Rahul Kadakia, head of jewellery at Christie’s. Like any high-value purchase though, there remains an element of risk; the wisest investors consider both the emotional and financial capital of a piece in unison. “If you’re buying a jewel for investment,” says Kristian Spofforth, head of jewellery at Sotheby’s, “buy it also because you love it.”

Cartier: Love

One of the most recognisable pieces of jewellery in the world, Cartier’s screw-fastened bracelet is the original proposition of its now-expansive Love collection. Masterminded by Aldo Cipullo in 1969, who drew his concept from medieval chastity belts, the unisex design flipped the script on its archaic inspiration – intended to be worn as a symbol of everlasting love.

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De Beers: Diamond Rings

What Shirley Bassey sang, De Beers began. Originator of the phrase ‘A Diamond is Forever’, the heritage jeweller is synonymous with gemstones of impeccable class – thereby making a De Beers ring a promising prospect for first-time investors. As Emily Barber, jewellery director at Bonhams, recommends: “First, set your budget, and then buy the best-in-class of what you can afford.” 

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Bulgari: Serpenti

Inspired by a snake’s mythological associations of wisdom and rebirth, Bulgari’s Serpenti collection spans necklaces, bracelets, Tubogas timepieces and rings – all united by the house’s characteristically decorative lens. When choosing an investment piece, creative director Lucia Silvestri says it’s less about grandeur than it is clarity: “Above all, go for quality not size.”

Boucheron: Serpent Bohème

“You can’t place financial value on the emotional return of wearing something that you love every day,” says Kristian Spofforth of Sotheby’s. Truer words were never spoken – particularly in relation to Serpent Bohème, an haute joaillerie legacy that began in 1888 with jeweller Frédéric Boucheron and a necklace he designed for his wife, Gabrielle.

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