By Michelle Graff
This black enamel and platinum bangle by Fred Leighton is outfitted with a pair of Art Deco-era ruby and onyx dress clips. Multiple jewelers named Art Deco, along with Victorian, as the eras that are most popular among customers buying estate jewelry.
New York--Estate jewelry sales are climbing, National Jeweler/Jewelers of America’s latest Product Pulse poll found.

The survey was fielded between Nov. 16 and Dec. 2. A total of 244 people responded.

Among respondents, 193 identified themselves as retailers and, of those, 110, or 58 percent, said they sold estate jewelry in their stores. (Estate jewelry encompasses all previously owned jewelry, whether it is antique--meaning 100 years old or older--or vintage, meaning less than 100 years old.)

20161209 sales chart

The 110 jewelers who said they sell estate jewelry were then asked a series of questions regarding sales trends, margin, sourcing and customer preferences regarding time periods.

What the survey found is that in addition to being an area of sales growth, estate jewelry brings strong margins for jewelers.

A total of 89 percent of respondents said that estate jewelry sales have increased as a percentage of overall sales (47 percent) or at least stayed the same (42 percent) in recent years.

20161209 margin chart

And, overall gross margin on estate jewelry sales is 41 percent or higher for nearly 60 percent of jewelers surveyed.

RELATED CONTENT: The History Behind … Art Deco

When asked where they get their estate jewelry, the majority of survey-takers wrote in some variation of “over the counter,” either from existing customers or members of the public who walk into their stores. The buying was a mix of consignment and outright purchasing.

“People just walk in our store to sell their items,” one jeweler wrote. “Our website lets people know that we buy their jewelry, but we have been doing this for over 100 years so the public already knows and refers friends to our store.”

Very few reported that they get estate jewelry via auction.

When asked what particular era their customers favored most, a number of respondents said there is not one time period that outsells the others in their stores.

For those who did cite a specific era, Art Deco, which one respondent described as being “so wearable,” and Victorian, which the same jeweler described as “romantic and plentiful,” were the two of the most popular responses.

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