How to Buy Jewelry at Auction


Before you develop a keen eye for auctions, you need to spend some time doing it. Buying jewelry at auction calls for strategy, especially if you’re going to deal with other competitive buyers. It also requires some patience, commitment, and effort before you get your dream jewelry at auctions. Here are some tips to help you successfully buy jewelry at an auction.

1. Before The Auction

Before even making your first bid, it’s best to do some research and find out more about the jewelry item you’re eyeing. You need to look for the following information:

  • Country of Origin
  • Origin of Pearls or Gemstones
  • Whether the Stones are Treated or Natural
  • Date of Creation
  • Hallmark of Jewelry (If Applicable)
  • Condition Report, Certificate of Authentication, or Valuation Papers

This tip is still applicable even if you’re buying jewelry from online auction houses like William George. But if you don’t find the information you’re looking for, you can always contact the jewelry store that first sold them.

Another idea is to check out vintage or antique jewelry stores and look around for similar pieces and ask questions. This can help you give an idea of the jewelry’s average price or market value. Moreover, you might even find a better bargain through these stores!

  • Choose Trusted Auction Sites or Organizers.

Note that jewelry pieces that you get from an auction don’t have warranties, unlike pieces you get from retail stores. But, if you only transact with established auction houses and auction sites, this should give you peace of mind.

Bidding on reputable auction sites and transacting with professional organizers will prevent you from becoming a victim of fraud. This is also a great way to avoid buying fake jewelry.

2. Auction Preview

An auction preview is usually scheduled by the auction house or organizer to allow prospective buyers to examine and physically view the items prior to the day of bidding. As much as possible, make sure you can attend the preview so you can take a look at the jewelry pieces yourself. Below are a few more tips on what to do during this phase:

  • Consider Getting Help From Others

If you have set your eyes on a piece of precious jewelry, you may consider seeking the expertise of people you know. Whether it’s your friend or relative, try inviting them with you during preview and they may help you spot some things that you may have missed. Friends with a keen eye for gems and jewelry can give you priceless insight into the quality or craftsmanship of the item.

  • Prepare Your Tools

Experts suggest that you bring a magnifying glass, camera, torch, and a pen and notepad during preview to help you analyze each jewelry item that’s listed for auction. Take a picture of the items during preview so you can review them again and determine the stones, pattern, design, and craftsmanship of the jewelry.

However, always ask permission from the organizers if you’re allowed to take photos of the items. You may also ask for a copy of the list of items that are open for auction if it’s available.

3. During And After Auction

Bidding and closing a sale may seem quick, but there are a few more things that you should take note of:

  • Be Daring

Expect to have many competitors when buying jewelry at auctions. If you’re buying at a live auction, remember that your body language will tell others about your desire to have an item. However, you should stay cool and calm even if you’re almost at your maximum bidding limit. You can also keep your hand in the air to show others that you’re serious. This way, other bidders could be easily intimidated.

  • Find Potential In The Jewels Offered

Not all jewels fit buyers’ tastes; some of these get overlooked because they may look a bit old-fashioned. However, don’t forget that you can always redesign the jewelry. So, if you find a piece where you love the material or stone but not the design, you can still bid for the item and have it redesigned later. You can recreate your jewelry according to your taste. However, this will entail additional costs.

However, this tip applies best to modern jewelry pieces. This is because antique jewelry has an excellent patina that must be preserved. Also, if you see jewelry with scratched metal parts, consider having it refurbished too. Also, if you’re interested in a ring, remember that not all rings can be resized so it’s best to know your size before bidding.

Final Thoughts

Buying jewelry at auction is an excellent way to find rare or vintage jewelry pieces that usually come at bargain prices. For inexperienced people, buying at auctions can be overwhelming. However, if you have the patience, determination, and right techniques, you’ll soon own a special piece of jewelry you can gift or keep. Using the given tips above should help you buy jewelry at auctions whether online or at physical locations.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.