Can jewellery be a good investment?

Jessica Satherley
Can jewellery be a good investment?

Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend, but rubies and emeralds could have the better resale value. 

The red stones have more than quadrupled in value over the last four years and are a rare appreciating jewel within a fickle industry.

If you buy the right certified gemstones at the right price they can definitely hold their value or appreciate over time, experts say.

“Jewellery can appreciate, but only if you buy closest to the material content prices,” says Italian jewellery designer Gabriella Galati, referring to the price of the raw materials – the gold and stones  that go into a piece.

Galati, who worked in Australasia for 20 years but is now based in North Africa, says that gemstones can appreciate well “if you can buy them at wholesale fairs or from a reputable dealer”.

“It’s always a bit of a gamble because their value depends on supply. If a new mine opens, their prices can go down. Aquamarine gemstone, which is part of the emerald family, has had a big increase in value over the past 20 years due to the fact that no new significant mines are being found,” she added.

Galati recommends looking at wholesale fairs, auctions and pawn shops to get prices closest to the jewellery’s material price. However these would need to be reputable places that are offering quality stones and materials along with their gemmological certificate. 

She advises finding a dealer who is accredited by a gemmological institute such as the Gemmological Association of New Zealand.

“When you buy from a jeweller you are paying around double its wholesale price,” Galati warns.

Galati has previously bought a 50 carat emerald set for $1,030 NZD from a dealer in Jaipur, India, that then tripled in price.


The emerald ring that sold for $4,400

E-Commerce store owner Bing Wang, who runs her business from China, has also made a profit from buying and selling emerald jewellery.

“I have noticed that people are happy to pay high prices for emeralds as long as they have the gemmological certificate,” Wang said. She recently sold an emerald ring for $4,400 NZD (pictured right), making a nice little profit from what she originally paid for it.

“One third of the jewellery I personally buy is for investment purposes and I focus on jade, crystal, emerald, pearls, rubies, gold, diamonds and agarwood. I don’t have a preferred brand but I focus on quality and style. Antique jewellery is valuable and collectable,” she added.

Certain brands like Rolex, Tiffany, Cartier and Bulgari can also potentially appreciate if you buy antiques. Pieces from the 1920s, 50s and 70s have been known to hold their value.

Vintage Rolex watches are surging in value at the moment in New Zealand and Auckland auction house Cordys recently sold a vintage Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT Master ‘Pepsi’ bezel ‘Superlative Chronometer’ wristwatch for $17,500. 

The Rolex was estimated to be from the year 1967, during which time it would have cost around $340, which with inflation would be approximately $2,100 today.

Fine jewels specialist Lauren Boustridge, from Webb’s auction house in Auckland, says that the driving force behind certain time periods of antiques is down to the finite number of pieces made during these eras.

“Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco era pieces have seen a surge in popularity with collectors, enthusiasts and jewellery lovers. An Art Deco sapphire and diamond bracelet sold for $11,750 – far exceeding its high estimate of $3,200 in our last Fine Jewels and Watches auction in March,” Boustridge said.