Jewellery Investing - Consider Natural Pearls

Cluster of Natural Conch Pearls

Cluster of Natural Conch Pearls

Jewellery Investing - Consider Natural Pearls

Natural pearls are undergoing a resurgence in popularity. Until the 1920s, when affordable cultured pearls came in, it could take decades to assemble a string of matching natural pearls, and the intrinsic worth of such pearls is now being recognized. "There has been a huge increase in their price, and you could have doubled your money over the last 10 years," Ghika says.

John Benjamin, an independent jewelery consultant and long-standing expert on Antiques Roadshow, says signed pieces from leading studios still have cachet today. Quality brands such as Cartier, Bulgari and Van Cleef are sought after, and Christian Dior is emerging as a significant player.

"People who buy often need security and these names do provide a guarantee of quality," says Benjamin. These pieces may turn out to be collectible in 70 or 80 years' time, although you will need more than patience to wait that long for a return.

His advice is to buy jewellery with individual character and style. "I recommend looking at Edwardian jewelery," says Benjamin. "The style of the Belle Epoque is quite fussy, with diamond tendrils and garlands, often set in platinum. It's the style of the Titanic era."

Georgian jewellery ? though relatively scarce ? is a personal favourite of Benjamin's. "You will frequently find gems ? topaz, garnet, ruby, sapphire and diamond ? set asymmetrically on a soft gold mount. Sometimes there is a back compartment to hold a locket of hair. It can be charming."

Far fewer people may be chasing such pieces, says Benjamin, so Georgian jewellery can be good value.

Victorian jewellery is fairly ubiquitous, but it is not particularly well loved at the moment because of its themes of mourning and sentimentality.

"It tends to be more monumental and on a grander scale, and doesn't necessarily fit in with modern lifestyles," explains Ghika. A design must not appear dated and must fit in with the clothing fashions of the day.

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