The industry experts’ guide to jewellery collecting

A panel of illustrious figures within the industry discuss jewellery and design at Christie’s Hong Kong

On 26 November, during the 2016 Autumn auctions in Hong Kong, Christie’s hosted an expert-filled panel on jewellery and design. Topics discussed included the relationship between collector and designer; collecting tips for both novices and connoisseurs; and how Asian collectors compare to their counterparts in Europe and other regions.

Panel participants included the jewellery designer Wallace Chan; Edmond Chin, former head of Christie's Hong Kong jewellery department and founder of Etcetera Ltd; François Curiel, Christie’s Asia Pacific chairman; Dennis Chan, creative director and chairman at fine jewellery brand Qeelin; and Arnaud Bastien, President and Asia Chief Executive at Graff Diamonds. The event was moderated by Mary Kavanagh, Hong Kong correspondent at Rapaport Magazine.

Arnaud Bastien offered several valuable tips to jewellery collectors: ‘Do your homework and keep a certain focus, a certain consistency. When collecting, be very focused. As long as you buy the best you can afford, I think you’ll never go wrong.’

The necessity of carrying out careful research before any purchase was repeated by Francois Curiel, Christie’s Asia Pacific Chairman: ‘Like everything in life, one has to do one’s homework. Study and understand those subtle, very important things before buying a diamond.’ When considering a purchase of a D colour diamond in particular, Curiel stressed ‘paperwork is extremely important because the difference of price between a D colour diamond and F colour diamond is huge.’ The same careful consideration must also be made when comparing the ‘geographical origin of coloured stones’ as subtle differences can yield significant price differences.

Etcetera founder Edmond Chin provided some perspective on the difference between jewellery collectors in Asia and other regions. In Asia, Chin said, clients ‘love precious stones so much that all they want to do is to own them and to be able to handle them’ — even if they never plan to wear them. ‘In no other place do I have such clients,’ he added.

Dennis Chan, Creative Director and Chairman of Qeelin, offered some further insights on this subject: ‘When we are talking about Chinese culture, we are always talking about the ancient dynasties, like porcelain or like furniture and others. A lot of my inspiration comes from Chinese traditions and heritage. But the aim is to bring the modernity into those Chinese elements. I really want to bring out the contemporary Chinese design.’

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