While the pandemic was unprecedented in its toll on human life and its adverse effects on the economy, the new social structure that formed out of necessity during the lockdowns forced industries to rethink and often modernize operations to reach customers. Vintage jewelry is no exception to this phenomenon. When the collective marketplace for antique fine jewelry, which undoubtedly contains natural diamonds, found itself without access to the trade shows and fairs in which to display, acquire, and sell their treasures, some of its most highly respected dealers launched a plan.
Thus, The Jeweler’s Circle was hatched in 2020 to create a B2B for dealers to source, buy and sell their treasures. Interestingly but not surprisingly, their customers soon wanted a way to peruse and purchase antique fine jewelry during lockdown too. Only Natural Diamonds spoke to Founding Partner Marianne Fisher and its Chief Operating Officer Julie Thompson-Leriche on the new consumer-facing platform, launched in late 2023, featuring some of the most collectible and covetable vintage jewelry.
“Our main objective when launching earlier this year was to connect the community of the most prestigious vintage jewelry dealers with consumers who have been wanting this access to rarities,” said Fisher with Thompson-Leriche, adding, “We want to address the quest of those clients who are looking for something truly unique and special, matching their budget.”
Not surprisingly, the world of collecting fine jewelry from different eras is steeped in antiquity, as some of the key firms that excel in the practice have been around for centuries. For instance, Fisher owns Paul Fisher Jewelry, a 6th-generation family business founded in 1850 in Vienna, Austria, that specializes in rarities across the globe. She co-founded The Jeweler’s Circle with other high-end jewelry dealers such as Hancocks Co. Ltd. London, J. & S.S. Deyoung, Inc., and Ernst Farber Münich.
The collective eye and highly respected jewelry experts have already seen some pieces on the site that Thompson-Leriche—whose CV includes Piaget, L’Oreal, and Dove/Unilever, among others—calls “quite exquisite.”
Thompson-Leriche points out that there is also plenty of more affordable (think 4-figure versus 5-figure) one-of-a-kind pieces such as an Art Deco platinum, 18K gold, pearl and diamond brooch, an antique18K gold, natural pearl and diamond ring, or a pair of 1940s 18K yellow gold and diamond earrings that evoke the look of flowing fabric. “We can source anything that a client is looking for when they reach out directly,” she added.
According to Fisher, the timing is perfect with the vintage jewelry sector demand on the rise, partially fueled by fresh trends catering to the evolving tastes of modern consumers, especially the, until recently, out-of-favor brooch. Fisher credits historical charm, sustainable values, and the quest for an individual style for the uptick.
“For decades, prominent design houses like Bulgari and Cartier have collaborated with celebrities to enhance their jewelry’s allure. However, contemporary consumers seek designer pieces that stand out from the crowd. This has led to a rise in demand for vintage signed jewelry, pieces that boast both a prestigious brand name and an aura of individuality,” said Fisher.
Gender-neutral style trends have bolstered the popularity of attachable jewelry—formerly relegated to formal wear—plentiful in the vintage market.” People embrace these timeless adornments to express their style in distinct ways. Pins and brooches are being repurposed and worn on lapels, scarves, bags, and even hats, enabling wearers to curate their fashion narrative,” Fisher continued. She also noted that Art Deco’s intricate craftsmanship and geometric designs are sought after as the anchor for a customizable bracelet stack.
It also caters to those interested in sustainability. “Vintage jewelry offers a circular and eco-friendly approach to fashion, aligning with the values of repurposing and minimizing waste. The one-of-a-kind nature of vintage pieces resonates with the desire for individualism and distinctiveness, all while embracing the luxurious craftsmanship of renowned eras,” said Fisher.
“Rare vintage and antique jewelry, specifically found on The Jewelers Circle, features exceptional craftsmanship and artistry from notable eras that can no longer be recreated in the way it was done in the past. Vintage is on the rise because consumers are searching for lasting quality pieces and products that have a minimal environmental impact – plus, vintage has crossover to modern style, keeping it on-trend. Collectibles retain or increase in value over time,” Fisher added. Jeweler’s Circle only carries pieces with natural diamonds since that was the stone of choice and the type of gemstone available then.
Pieces on offer at The Jeweler’s Circle are from vetted vendors only, and once a purchase is made, it is certified by its on-site staff. “Our team checks every aspect of the piece, ensuring that it meets our exacting standards of conformity in terms of description and period. The IAJA team will then issue a report to accompany the piece,” Thompson-Leriche explained.
Despite adding a consumer-facing platform and a desire to host in-person pop-ups and special events in 2024, Thompson-Leriche confirmed its original mission is still a focus. “The B2B platform still exists as a paid subscription model for qualified trade professionals and companies for an exclusive opportunity to access wholesale sourcing and selling, as well as a network of trusted sources through pro.jewelerscircle.com,” she said, adding, “Besides being a trusted place to shop for rare vintage, the core values of The Jewelers Circle’s founding partners is to build community and connections, as well as a commitment to educate consumers and trade professionals which we did through adding informative and entertaining articles.”