Jewelry has been an important part of cultures all over the world for thousands of years. It is used to show off a person’s affluence and given to loved ones as a symbol of love or devotion. Jewelry accumulates sentimental value incomparable to almost any other item in a person’s lifetime, and special pieces are passed down from generation to generation with reverence.
Additionally, jewelry is used in fashion to accessorize a look or make a bold statement by the wearer. It is no wonder that many investors have looked toward their sparkling, golden baubles with dollar signs in their eyes. For all its popularity and easiness on the eyes, is investing in jewelry a wise decision?
Jewelry as an investment.
In Asian countries such as India and China, jewelry is widely considered a good investment. Families trade in their extra money for gold coins which are saved over many years until they are melted down into intricate bracelets, necklaces, or earrings. These pieces are then given to brides to wear on their weddings, or as gifts to mark special celebrations or occasions. India is the world’s largest consumer of gold, accounting for over 20% of global demand, where the valuable metal is still considered the safest method of saving in the present economy. As more and more shops pop-up in Western shopping malls offering to trade your old gold for cash, you have to wonder if the people of Asia are on to something.
Is investing in jewelry wise?
While purchasing gold coins or bars is actually a very secure way to invest your money, jewelry is unfortunately not. The majority of jewelry found in stores is marked up to over three times its actual value, and by the time you walk through the door with your purchase the value has already decreased to less than what you just paid moments before. The exception to this is purchasing jewelry that contains rare gems, that is from a well-known designer brand, or that is an antique piece with remarkable artistry. Most jewelry will take at least 30 years to accumulate the value of it’s original purchase price. Buy that engagement ring for sentimental value, because it isn’t likely to offer large returns for your grandchildren.
The exception to the rule.
As a general rule of thumb, investing in jewelry isn’t the best way to go. That being said, many people have made a lucrative career out of purchasing and selling jewelry and gems. The difference is that most people who are making money from investing in jewelry are investing a lot of money in jewelry. These are not your run-of-the-mill gold rings and diamond bracelets we are talking about here. Serious investors are more interested in rare gems that are absolutely one-of-a-kind and cost in the millions. A ruby the size of your fist will never depreciate, and in a ‘get out of the country quick’ type of scenario, this type of gem can be considered easy to move. Jewelry represents a lot of things to different people. It can be a symbol of one’s wealth, a token of someone’s love, the key to a daughter’s future, or a relic of the past. Investing your money is a wise decision, but in most cases investing in jewelry won’t get you much further than where you began.
Jessica Galbraith is an American freelance writer living in the UK. She writes on a variety of topics including tips for creating a workable family budget and lifestyle issues at ArnoldsOfficeFurniture.com.