Trends

A Yellow Diamond Ring Is the Most Expensive Item Ever Sold on The RealReal

TrendsJan 19, 2022

A Yellow Diamond Ring Is the Most Expensive Item Ever Sold on The RealReal

Plus, more insights from the luxury reseller’s annual consignment report.

Jewelry from Tiffany & Co. has an interesting relationship with The RealReal. According to the company’s annual consignment trend report, the average resale price was up 23 percent last year, but among an older demographic (Gen X), rather than the LVMH-owned brand’s coveted younger targets like Gen Z. Pictured are bracelets from the new “Tiffany Knot” collection.
San Francisco—Luxury consignment company The RealReal has released its annual report highlighting the biggest trends in the secondhand market.  
 
Comparing January-November 2021 to January-November 2020, The RealReal pointed out that every demographic’s participation in luxury resale increased in 2021. This led to nearly every brand The RealReal stocks increasing in value.
 
Of The RealReal’s 24 million customers, whether consigners or shoppers, the largest share (36 percent) are millennials, closely followed by Gen X (33 percent), then baby boomers (22 percent), Gen Z (5 percent), and, finally, the Silent Generation (4 percent). 
 
With the current focus on 1990s and 2000s fashion, different generations are taking advantage of the resale market to find pieces that are on-trend.
 
Just as logos are trending in clothing, shoes, and bags, jewelry is feeling the effect of the branding craze. 
 
Tiffany & Co.’s “Return to Tiffany” collection saw its resale value increase 14 percent last year, with millennials selling the pieces and Gen X snatching them up. 
 
Overall, the average sale price for Tiffany jewelry rose 23 percent. The RealReal noted that despite the LVMH-owned brand’s attempt to lure a younger customer with projects like its Supreme collaboration, Gen X remains the biggest buyer and seller. 
 
The biggest increase in year-over-year average sale price was for Tiffany’s Schlumberger collection (36 percent), followed by the HardWear collection (up 28 percent), and the Elsa Peretti collection (26 percent).
 
Last year, The RealReal sold its highest priced Tiffany jewel yet—a 21.98-carat diamond and platinum “Victoria Necklace” purchased for $83,000. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
But that wasn’t the most expensive jewel The RealReal sold in 2021. That honor went to an unbranded yellow diamond solitaire ring. Purchased for $350,000, it’s the most expensive item The RealReal has ever sold in any category.
 
Buyers’ desire for rare, unique and limited-edition items is particularly ardent in the jewelry and watches sector. In fact, vintage jewelry and watch values are outpacing the value of new pieces, sometimes for two to three times the price, The RealReal said in its report. 
 
An Audemars Piguet “Royal Oak” self-winding chronograph sold for $143,000 last year, while a pair of Cartier diamond stud earrings fetched $42,500.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen demand shift from statement jewelry and watches that pop to unique, vintage pieces that are rich in character.” —Steffi Lee, The RealReal
 
Of all jewelry and watch brands stocked on The RealReal, Rolex recorded the biggest increase in value, with a 16 percent average increase year-over-year and some styles selling for up to three times their retail value. 
 
Other category bestsellers, including costume designs, are vintage Chanel necklaces, which sell for up to 697 percent of their retail value, and vintage Tiffany clip-on earrings, which go for up to 381 percent of their retail value. 
 
Unsurprisingly, Patek Philippe “Nautilus” timepieces earn up to 258 percent of their retail value, Rolex “Submariner Date” watches for up to 262 percent. 
 
Fine Jewelry Editorial Manager Steffi Lee said: “Over the past year, we’ve seen demand shift from statement jewelry and watches that pop to unique, vintage pieces that are rich in character. These pieces are a quieter, and more versatile, way to stand out from the crowd.”
 
Observing the resale market at a macro level, The RealReal’s report noted that supply chain constraints and consumers’ desire for more sustainable shopping helped luxury consignment soar in 2021, driving up values. 
 
“Resale has undeniably gone mainstream,” said The RealReal President Rati Sahi Levesque. “When we unpack the trends among our 24-plus million members driving the year’s greatest value gains, they connect back to the handoff happening between generations, the desire for unique pieces that are authentic to personal style and changing shopping behaviors driving more buyers and consignors to luxury resale.” 
 
The full report is available online.

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