How to Sell Jewelry at Christie’s

Learn the Steps for Selling Jewelry at Auction

Jewelry Buyers

There are several ways that you can sell your estate jewelry for cash. At Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers, we are sometimes asked about how to sell jewelry at a famous auction house like Christie’s.

If you have an extremely valuable estate jewelry collection (and are able to wait several months to receive payment for your items), selling your jewelry at Christie’s can be a viable option to consider.

For the past twenty years, Christie’s annual jewelry sales have been the world’s highest. That makes sense for an auction house that gets the best of the world’s best jewelry, including Elizabeth Taylor’s epic collection and diamonds that break records with multi-million-dollar price tags.

But is selling jewelry at Christie’s the right option for you? In this knowledge article, we will help you decide by quickly covering the steps and risks involved when selling jewelry at Christie’s. These are also the same basic steps you would follow if selling jewelry to another famous auction house like Sotheby’s, or selling a valuable watch at Antiquorum.

Make Sure Your Jewelry Qualifies at Christie’s

If you’re interested in selling jewelry at an upcoming Christie’s auction, look up the current consignment categories to see if your jewelry is included under any of them. Each category has a deadline, so if you want to submit your diamond necklace under “Magnificent Jewels” or your ancestor’s army watch under “Arms & Armour”, make sure you meet it.

There are several ways to sell and multiple auction opportunities, so if you don’t spot a relevant category, seek an estimate anyway. If your jewelry meets Christie’s high quality standards and is valuable enough to create interest in the global market, you’ll be able to proceed past the initial estimate and begin the process of selling.

Get a Free Christie’s Jewelry Appraisal

Before contacting Christie’s, you should aware of the types of jewelry that the action house accepts. While Christie’s scheduled auctions officially start at around $1,500,  they often do not accept jewelry that will sell for under $5000.  And in many cases, Christie’s prefers to sell jewelry worth $20,000+, unless the item is historically significant.

If your fine jewelry fits this criteria, then the first step is to obtain an initial appraisal. Choose between these three methods to get started.

  1. Visit one of Christie’s locations.Schedule an appointment with the nearest jewelry specialist in one of Christie’s hundreds of international offices, or stop by one of its twelve salerooms.
  2. Get a free auction estimate online.If you’re not near a Christie’s location, you can email an image, measurements, and all known details to a jewelry specialist and receive a response within six weeks.
  3. Mail it in. You can also send your jewelry through the mail (or with a designated shipping agent) to receive your appraisal. Christie’s will mail it back free of charge if you don’t go through with the sale.

Every Christie’s jewelry appraisal includes an estimated price, suggested reserve (the minimum bidding price) and auction date.

Pick your Method of Jewelry Sale

There are three ways to sell jewelry through Christie’s. Your Christie’s jewelry specialist will help you decide the best method for your particular piece or estate collection, but it’s helpful to know your options first.

  1. Christie’s Scheduled Auction: Each year, 24 auctions take place on three different continents. They can bring in millions for just one diamond, but they’re also a favorite among upper-class consumers and collectors who want to sell or buy the contents of private estates.
  2. Christie’s Private Sale: Set up a private sale if the Christie’s auction timeline doesn’t work for you, or if you only want to sell to a targeted, confidential buyer with a special interest in your particular jewelry.
  3. Christie’s Online Auction: Christie’s just introduced a third category, “Online Only Sales”. Christie’s Online listings stay up for several days, and potential buyers can submit bids until they end.

Signing the Christie’s Contract – Waiting for Auction

After receiving your valuation and discussing it with a Christie’s specialist, make it official by signing a consignment agreement. This gives Christie’s permission to transfer ownership of your property.

Christie’s is the gold standard in art and estate auctions, but top-tier customer service and international jewelry expertise do come at a price. Auction, marketing, restoration, and shipping fees often apply, and commission rates are determined on a sliding scale.

For example, let’s say your jewelry is accepted by Christie’s for an auction being held 6 months from now. You will be expected to send your jewelry to them now. Christie’s will then photograph your jewelry and hold onto it until the auction date. If your jewelry sells, you get paid a month later but you typically lose about 40% of the sale price due to auction house charges.

If your jewelry doesn’t sell, Christie’s will send it back to you and charge you photography and processing fees. So it is possible to wait 8 months and end up actually losing money (if your jewelry doesn’t sell) or receiving 60% of the final auction price.

That is why so many jewelry sellers prefer selling their valuable estate jewelry to Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers. When selling jewelry to DEJB, you get paid immediately in cash, with no wait or hidden fees attached. In fact, we have found that when one of our clients chooses to sell jewelry via Christie’s, the cash amount they ultimately receive often is roughly the same as the cash payment we offered to pay on the spot.

If you would like to sell your jewelry for a generous cash amount today, please contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers for a free verbal jewelry appraisal and cash offer.

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