It may come as no surprise to those in the know to hear that the collectible watch market is outperforming its jewellery counterpart at auction.

The frenzied culture of watch collecting has been more prolific than the loose collection of jewellery collectors for some time.

However, recent data shows that it is not just watches that are outdoing jewellery at auction.


Data specialist Art Market Research (AMR) has analysed the price growth at auction in 2021 of several different product categories.

Unfortunately for jewellery enthusiasts, jewellery comes in dead last with a modest growth of 2.1%.

Above it ranks books (5.7%), sculpture (6.4%), handbags (6.9%), English coins (9%), prints (10.7%), art (13.5%) and, taking the top spot, watches with a massive 15.7% growth in price between December 2020 and December 2021.

The Arts & Collectibles in 2021 Auction Market Trends report reads: “Public sales of jewellery at auction picked up in 2021 after some reticence from consigners and
collectors during the lockdown.

“As always, the best gets better but the rise in inflation is also encouraging people to put money into jewellery and gems.

“With sales online, auction houses now regularly expect to see 30 different countries tuning in to each sale.

“The more expensive pieces go to buyers from Asia or USA, with some from the Middle East – although not as many as in previous years.

“Trade buyers are also always there to purchase stones that need recutting as long as they are good value.

“Collections always attract a lot of interest as the estimates are generally low and everything is for sale.

“There were very big prices paid for Van Cleef & Arpels’ invisibly set jewels in 2021.

“In Hong Kong, collectors were prepared to pay good prices for diamonds that had been in the doldrums for a while.

“In the contemporary jewellery space, the demand is for established names like JAR.
Since the original price for these pieces is so high, competition at auction is reserved for more reasonably priced jewellery.”

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