Beach Bag Ready!!

There’s nothing like a stylish, thoughtfully crafted beach bag to complete your resort wear ensemble and ensure all your personal essentials are within reach, and with the Great British Summer upon us we thought there was no better time to review this season’s most fabulous beach bags with a couple of rainy-day options thrown in, because, well, you know!

This year, the most sought-after brands have you covered, with Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Chanel offering this season’s most desirable beach bags and accessories with even a designer chocolate sauce for your ice cream.

Aside from the fact that a designer handbag can make a great investment, there are numerous factors to consider beyond your bag’s appearance when shopping for your perfect match. It makes it easier that most of the choices nowadays are as functional as they are chic. This year there are some beautiful vibrant options available, and it seems bigger is better.

Here’s our top designer beach bags, to suit any of your form and functional needs. Many of these are sure to become year-round accessories and the best part is they are all available to buy now, no wait list, even with Hermès!! So, let’s dive straight in!

Hermès

Hermès offer a fabulous range of beach bags and accessories and you can guarantee you will be the chicest person on the beach. Not only this but, a Hermès handbag always makes a great investment, with retail prices going up every year.

This season’s hottest selection comprises of:

Hermès From My Window.

Designed by Nigel Peake the collection is bold, colourful, and graphical which is a signature style of the artist with multiple perspectives being represented, with one or more windows opening out onto the world.

They are from cotton, canvas and wood, they are the perfect accessory for this summer, and they are also available to purchase directly from the website, with no wait list!

This example is retailing for £1,850.

Another great example by Hermès is the ‘Escale a a Plage’ beach bag, designed by Matthieu Cosses, in canvas and currently retails for £1,850, a bargain when compared to the price of a Birkin and Kelly.

Hermès not only have a wonderful collection of handbags but also beach towels with this bold and colourful example in Summer Games print, retailing for £600.

Christian Dior

Christian Dior produce some classic, timeless designs which always prove exceptionally popular, and like Hermès, their retail prices also increase in value every year, making them ever so popular on the open market.

The hat basket bag is made in Italy and stands out with its elegant silhouette combining functionality and refinement. It is hand-woven using artisanal techniques in natural wicker. The style features top handles and a blue Dior Oblique jacquard interior drawstring pouch. The Christian Dior Paris signature adorns the front. The spacious bag is completed by an adjustable and removable embroidered shoulder strap that allows it to be carried by hand, worn over the shoulder or crossbody. With the Christian Dior Paris signature on the front, it retails for £4,100.

Gucci

This year Gucci has taken its inspiration from the summer spirit and beach clubs on the Italian coast. The House’s straw accessories shed new light on the traditional material in vibrant colours and iconic motifs.

From the Lido Collection, this tote bag features brown leather straps across a natural base. The name of the House appears as a straw Gucci patch in keeping with the warm weather feel and retails for £2,030.

Chanel

Chanel never disappoints when it comes to handbags and their beach bags are no exception. This large cotton crochet & gold-tone metal tote in beige, pink & light green retails for £8,170.

Beach sets do very well on the open market, with this great set selling for just under £1,800 at auction in 2022.

Prada

Prada have produced some beautiful neutral tones this summer, this example of a medium wicker and linen blend tote bag retails for £1,750.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s latest spring-summer collection is landing in boutiques and it’s the perfect opportunity to refresh your accessory lineup. Whether you’re planning a getaway to the sun or embracing a city staycation, they’ve curated the hottest LV bags for your closet. From timeless hobo styles to sleek crossbody designs, these trendy companions promise to elevate your adventures in style.

Fun summer items such as a surf style Pochette Voyage Pouch retails for £850 and a Mini Golf Bag that can be yours for £2,490.

Speedy P9 Bandoulière

The Speedy P9 Bandoulière by Pharrell Williams is undeniably one of the hottest bags of the moment. Originally unveiled during Pharrell’s Men’s Spring-Summer 2024 collection, the Speedy P9 Bandoulière swiftly captured attention with its luxe appeal. Despite its origin in the menswear collection, this bag has become a coveted item for both men and women alike. However, getting your hands on one may prove to be quite the challenge and as such some are being listed on the resell market for three times the retail price of £6,850.

And finally, Louis Vuitton have just released their very own chocolate spread!! Its only available in two locations, a pop-up boutique in Singapore and their Paris store. With these limited supplies the secondary market for this designer chocolate spread has gone crazy with some examples selling for up to £500.

So, whether you are indulging in some chocolate spread and ice cream this summer, or a new beach bag, remember that having an up-to-date insurance document for your luxury belongings is extremely important. Doerr Dallas Valuations can provide you with an an insurance valuation, so you can relax and enjoy the beach, knowing that if the worst should happen, you’re properly insured, even if it’s your precious chocolate spread!!!

Ladies Valentine’s Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. There are many stories about St Valentine and over time these stories grew into the legend we know today. It is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship, and admiration. Every year on the 14th of February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family, and friends.

Some people love it, some hate it, and some just ignore it altogether. We believe that rather than seeing it as an exclusively romantic occasion, why not look at it as an opportunity to show your favourite person how much you love them?

Although giving a gift is not essential, when it comes to showing a little appreciation, springing for one of the best Valentine’s gifts certainly won’t go unnoticed. For a few ideas on ways to celebrate, share, and spread the love this year this is our guide to what women want for Valentine’s day.

Tiffany & Co

Tiffany & Co was founded in 1837 and has been in the hearts and collections of jewellery lovers for 187 years. They have a fabulous range of jewellery including diamond engagement rings and designs by Schlumberger and Paloma Piccasso. One especially romantically themed design is the Open Heart Collection by Elsa Peretti.

Elsa Peretti’s history with the brand started in 1974, when she began her longstanding collaboration that resulted in the creation of many of Tiffany and Co.’s most iconic designs.

Known for her unique silhouettes, Peretti designed Tiffany pieces that have now become synonymous with love, minimalism, and luxury. The Open Heart Collection, which features sleek heart designs strung from delicate chains or ropes, has been a bestseller since its release. Pieces are available in gold and silver and some are diamond set. The design has featured in many films, including Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Due to their popularity these pieces increase in value every year. They remain extremely popular, often going out of stock, they also sell very well on the open market.

Here is an Elsa Peretti Open heart pendant in 18ct yellow gold retailing for £2,225.

This diamond and platinum open heart retails for just under £8,000.

This Elsa Peretti mesh link heart retails for £7,725.

Boodles Ashoka Diamonds

Diamonds have been a declaration of true love for centuries and the Boodles Ashoka diamond is a great way to express some individuality.

Boodles is the only jeweller to offer Ashoka-cut diamonds and their range includes diamond rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. The Ashoka cut is named after an ancient Indian emperor and has an impressive 62 facets. They are prized for both rarity and incomparable sparkle.

Here are some Ashoka diamonds with an estimate of $70,000 to $90,000 at a 2015 sale at Bonhams in New York.

The Ashoka diamond range retails at prices from the low thousands up to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Here is a beautiful Ashoka diamond ring weighing 7.00cts.

These Ashoka diamond earrings retail for £27,500.

Cartier

Nothing says I love you, like a Cartier Love bracelet.

The Love bracelet was designed by Aldo Cipullo in 1969 in New York. He wanted to design a bracelet that fit as closely as possible to a loved one’s wrist. Not only that, it was also intended to be worn by both men and women. They were referred to as a “modern love handcuff” for the way in which they are secured using a screwdriver.

It is rumoured that Cartier once banned customers from buying the Love bracelet for themselves, with a policy stating that they could only be purchased by a couple. It was even designed to require the assistance of someone else to put it on.

The diamond-studded Love bracelet was first introduced in 1979, ten years after the original.

When the Love bracelet was first launched, it is said that Cartier gave pairs of them to some of the most famous couples of the 20th century, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen, and Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti.

There are now many variations of the Love bracelet including some set with diamonds.

For example, this diamond set Love bracelet with 1.99ct of diamonds retails for £45,400.

A 18ct gold Love bracelet is available for just over £7,000.

Synthetic diamonds

Synthetic diamonds are becoming a very popular choice in the jewellery market. Lab grown diamonds are visually, chemically, and physically the same as a diamond mined from the earth. The only difference is that it is created in a laboratory and it’s here where they emulate the natural process of a diamond’s growth. They are also considered a more sustainable option than mined diamonds.

Here is a diamond line bracelet set with 6cts of diamonds retailing for $6,999.

Here is a Lab grown diamond pendant set with a 1ct diamond retailing for $1,200.

Here is a pair of fancy blue and pink synthetic diamonds retailing for $250.

Chanel Classic

A Chanel handbag always makes a fantastic gift. Their designs are timeless.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel introduced her first version of the classic bag with flap in February of 1955. Now known as the 2.55, it was revolutionary because of its functionality; the shoulder bag freed women’s hands to do other things than hold a cumbersome handbag.

This Chanel pink flap bag retails for £5,200 and has the Classic style in a summer fabric.

This small Chanel Bucket bag retails for £4,260.

Conclusion

There’s nothing greater than seeing a loved one, friend or member of the family enjoying luxury gifts. It is always important to make sure that your insurance valuation is up to date, should the very worst happen. Having an out-of-date valuation can result in an underpayment if you were to make a claim. Retailers such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Chanel often increase their retail values by up to 40% twice a year. If you need an up-todate valuation, then contact the experts at Doerr Dallas Valuations on 01883 722 736.

The Rebirth of the Icons

There are many designer handbags which have stood the test of time and remain iconic, bags like the Chanel Classic and the Hermès Birkin. But this year has seen a rise in handbags being sourced from the archives, from the Gucci Horsebit design through to Prada’s re-issue nylon collection and unsurprisingly that’s driving up interest in the vintage originals.

We already know that over the last few years there has been a substantial rise in demand for preowned designer handbags. Brands such as Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton make exceptional prices on the resale market with consumers paying a premium for a second-hand handbag. However, this year, with some retailers reissuing designs from the archives it has prompted a resurgence in some classic vintage styles. This has had a positive impact on what they achieve on the resell market. Here are our most popular designs for 2023, you may want to check the back of your wardrobe!

GUCCI

The Gucci Horsebit

This year Gucci has reissued Tom Ford’s 2003/2004 Horsebit clutch. The new designs feature the Italian fashion house’s signature hardware, and an updated chain. It comes in an array of colours and prints, including Gucci’s classic monogram design and iconic stripe. 20 years ago, this design was hugely popular for Gucci and this reissue has prompted an increase in the resell value for the original early noughties models. Here are some of the new designs issued by Gucci:

The Gucci Horsebit 1955 in Crocodile retails on Gucci’s website for £21,970.

HERMÈS

The Kelly

We can’t discuss popular handbags without mentioning Hermès. The Kelly was first popularised by Grace Kelly, and appeals to both investors and buyers alike.

Here is a vintage Kelly selling for £9,562.50 at Bonhams in 2021:

Hermès accessories are a real investment and will always stand the test of time. Their limited availability only adds to their desirability, and it is always worth hunting for that special piece.

Below is a charm selling at auction for between £4,000 – £6,000:

he Birkin

The Birkin is always in huge demand, with limited availability and exceptional craftsmanship, they remain, as ever, elegant and recognisable. They make real collector’s items.

Named after Jane Birkin, this example is her original black Togo Birkin 35 selling at auction for £119,000 in 2021.


FENDI

The Fendi Baguette handbag

There’s a huge appetite for Fendi at the moment, specifically for the Baguette, with sales of the style booming.

Thanks to the Y2K trend, the Fendi Baguette has proved popular this season. Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw with a sequinned version.

DIOR

Dior Saddle Bag

Dior’s Saddle Bag first made an appearance in Dior’s 1999 spring/summer ready-to-wear show. It is thought to have been inspired by a 1976 Helmut Newton photograph entitled ‘Saddle I, Paris’. However, this theory has never been verified by Dior.

Here is the Saddle Bag selling at auction for €2,040:

Lady Dior

The iconic Lady Dior packs a lot of history. It was first created in 1995 and named after Diana, Princess of Wales. It was originally gifted to her by Bernadette Chirac, the First Lady of France at the time. During the most recent season of ‘The Crown’ the Lady Dior started to gain a lot of attention on social media.

In 2022 Dior launched what they described as “the (re)brith of an icon”, the Lady 95.22.

An example of a Lady Dior selling at auction for £7,650:

PRADA

First released in 1984, Prada’s Nylon Bags are just as desirable as they were 40 years ago. The revival has been so popular, that last year’s Prada’s Re-Nylon Re-Edition 2000 mini bag was named as Lyst’s ‘Handbag of the Year’. It’s reported that web searches increased by 131 per cent, with views for #pradanylonbag generating over 4.2 million views.

Proof that practicality and luxury can go hand-in-hand!

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin was a British-French actress, singer, and model. She was born in Marylebone in 1946 and moved to France in the 1960’s. She gained international fame for her role in the film ‘Blowup’ and is also known for her collaboration and relationship with French singer Serge Gainsbourg, with whom she recorded the iconic song ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’. She had a successful career in music, film, and fashion, and was an influential figure in popular culture. In addition to her acting and musical credits, by a chance encounter, she lent her name to the Hermès Birkin handbag, the most iconic and sought-after luxury handbag in the world.

The Birkin bag was created by the French fashion house Hermès in 1984 and came into existence after Jane Birkin sat next to Jean- Louis Dumas, the then-CEO of Hermès, during a flight from Paris to London.

A Chance Encounter

Birkin had been upgraded to first class on an Air France flight and found herself sitting next to Dumas. Having just had her handbag destroyed by her then husband Jacques Doillon, she doesn’t recall which handbag she had decided to travel with that day. However, it was at the beginning of the journey, when trying to fit her bag in the overhead compartment that all the contents fell out. As she scrambled to collect her possessions, the gentleman next to her suggested that she should have a handbag with pockets, to which she replied, “The day Hermès makes one with pockets I will have that.” And he said: “But I am Hermès, and I will put pockets in for you.”

Birkin went on to suggest they make a handbag that is bigger than the Kelly but smaller than a suitcase. They went on to design it by roughly sketching the design on an in-flight sick bag! Once completed Dumas promised to create it, saying, “I’ll make it for you.”

In 1984, Dumas created a black supple leather bag for her: the Birkin bag, based on her design.

Birkin later went to Hermès to purchase the result of her in-flight special order, and Dumas gifted her the bag in exchange for her lending her surname to christen the design. She said she was very flattered to have the handbag named after her. Hermès later paid her £30,000 a year in royalties for using her name which was then passed on to her nominated charities. Jane Birkin loved her bag and decorated the straps with beaded bracelets, a miniature harmonica, and even a Hermès watch. About the watch, she said: “I don’t like to wear them, but sometimes you need the time.”

Birkin once commented that “Now when I go to America to sing, they say, ‘Birkin? Like the bag?’” I say, “Yes indeed: and the bag will now sing.”

The Birkin Bag

The Birkin bag is known for its classic and timeless design. Featuring clean lines and minimal hardware, it is a structured, rectangular tote bag that is available in various sizes, colours, and materials, including leather, exotic skins, and special limitededition versions. It is meticulously handcrafted by skilled artisans at Hermès workshops. The construction process is labour-intensive and can take several days to complete, ensuring exceptional quality and attention to detail. Due to this timely construction, it is renowned for its exclusivity and limited availability. Hermès restricts the number of bags produced each year, leading to high demand and often long waiting lists for customers wishing to purchase one.

The Birkin bag is considered a symbol of luxury and status. Its high-quality materials, craftsmanship, and prestigious brand association contribute to its premium price tag, often reaching anywhere from tens of thousands of pounds to hundreds of thousands for rare and unique examples. Due to its association with Jane Birkin, it is also extremely popular with celebrities and fashion icons. This further elevated its status as a fashion statement and investment piece.

The Birkin bag’s desirability and limited supply have contributed to a thriving resale market. Pre-owned Birkin bags not only retain their value very well but often appreciate over time, making them an attractive investment for collectors and fashion enthusiasts. The demand for Birkin bags is incredibly high, and the waiting list to purchase one is extremely long. It’s not uncommon for customers to wait months or even years before they can get their hands on a Birkin bag.

Value

Since the death of Jane Birkin, it has been reported that there has been an increase in searches for the Birkin bag by online pre-owned platforms and boutiques.

With no advertising, the Birkin bag’s cultural cache came from its scarcity, with secondhand versions increasing in value and often overtaking their original price.

Today, the Birkin bag has a starting price of about £7,000 with some worth up to £500,000 making it the world’s most expensive handbag with resell prices breaking global records.

Here are some examples of the Hermès Birkin selling for record breaking prices auction.

Its not only the exotic skins that sell for exceptional prices but all the Classic examples.

Here is an example of a biscuit Togo Birkin bag, with gold hardware, selling at auction in New York for $29,000.

I wonder how much the Birkin handbag will retail for in another 40 years. When the Birkin bag was first introduced in the 1980’s its RRP was $2000 now that price is over $10,000 and the second-hand figure is even higher! With these increases happening every year its essential to review your handbags value.

It’s amazing to consider the events of that day and how if Jane Birkin hadn’t been upgraded to first class, the Birkin bag may never have been designed.

The Evolution and History of Diamond Cutting

Believed to be a gift from God, diamonds were first discovered in India in the 4th Century BC and were recognised for their hardness and strength. They were worn as adornments to ward off evil and provide protection in battle. Diamonds were also used as a medical aid; thought to cure illness and heal wounds when ingested. This was later dismissed, and it was thought that diamonds were highly poisonous; a rumour introduced to stop miners stealing diamonds by swallowing them.

Up until the 18th Century the only known source for diamonds was in India and their value was still considered much less than sapphires and rubies.

Alexander the Great opened a small trade between the East and the West in the mid-4th Century but it wasn’t until much later in the 14th and 15th century when diamonds entered Europe through Venice. They made their way north to Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam making these cities bustling diamond centres. It was at this point that European and Indian cutters begin to experiment with diamond cutting.

Point Cut Diamond

The earliest diamond cut is the point cut and was popular in the 15th Century. Cutters used diamond grit and olive oil to simply polish stones in their natural octahedral form. Olive oil was used due to its ability to tolerate the high temperatures caused by polishing.

Below is a diamond crystal in its natural octahedral form and a diamond ring set with multiple polished point cut diamonds.

Point cut diamonds are very rare as many of the original diamonds were re-fashioned as cutting techniques and styles changed. Here is an example of point cut diamond selling at auction for £11,000, well exceeding its pre-sale estimate of £1,800 – £2,400.

The Table Cut

In the mid-15th Century cutters designed the table cut diamond, they used the same polishing methods and simply removed the top point of the octahedral shape to produce a table.

This style of cutting possessed far better optical qualities than its predecessor, with greater brilliance and fire. It also displayed, when viewed from above, the impression of a table within a table, which fitted perfectly with Renaissance Europe’s love of classical proportions. The table cut became far more desirable than the point cut, which is why it is now rare to see examples of the point cut diamond as most were re-fashioned into the table cut.

Throughout the 16th and 17th century, variations of the table cut shape such as rectangles, triangles and tapered diamonds appeared.

Here are some more examples of diamonds with a table cut selling through auction.

The Rose Cut

The early 16th century saw the birth of the rose cut diamond. This made use of the flat rough instead of the octahedral crystal that we have seen so far. It proved the most efficient way to retain the weight of a flat crystal. The flat bottom and faceted domed top proved much more effective at displaying brilliance but not fire.

The Mazarin Cut

After developing and perfecting table and rose cuts, European cutters started to experiment with new cuts and styles. Cardinal Jules Mazarin requested that cutters in Europe designed a faceted diamond. The result was a cushion shaped diamond with 34 facets called the Mazarin cut, also known as the double cut.

The Old Single Cut

The mid-17th century saw the introduction of the single cuts. Like the point and table cut, the single cut resembled the shape of the octahedral rough. It also displayed more potential for brilliance than the table cut because it had more facets. This cut served as the basis for the modern brilliant cut and even today, the single cut is still used on smaller diamonds.

In the early 17th Century, the mines in India were running low on diamond source and European cutters needed more stones to continue experimenting with cuts. Luckily at this time, while miners were panning for gold in Minas Gerais, Brazil, a few odd crystals, and pebbles were found. Not knowing what they had discovered the miners used these stones to keep score during games of cards. It wasn’t until an official saw them that they realised that in fact it was a new diamond source.

The discovery of alluvial deposits in Brazil meant great things for the cutters in Europe. The diamonds rivalled those of India, and Brazil became the main source of diamonds for Europe.

At this time, Europe had a great desire to experiment and evolve the diamond cut, and there was an increasing interest in optical science. With the aid of advanced lighting and the modernisation of technologies, the developments of the first modern brilliant cuts could start to take place.

The Peruzzi Cut

The new rough from Brazil was used to create the first old mine cut also known as the Peruzzi Cut; this has the same number of facets as the round brilliant, but with a high pavilion it resembles a cushion shape. In 1750, a London jeweller called the new style of cut a passing fad and said the classic rose cut would outlast them all.

Today, antique cushion cut diamonds remain extremely popular and sell very well. Here are some examples – notice how almost all exceed their pre-sale estimates.

The round brilliant cut diamond

Years of experimentation with cutting led to the production of the modern brilliant. We can see examples of the modern brilliant cut being traced to the 1800’s. Henry Morse had been trying to achieve the optically efficient cutting design. It was however Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919 who published his PhD thesis called Diamond Design. This used mathematical calculations that considered how to display both brilliance and fire in a diamond. Tolkowsky understood that if a diamond was cut too shallow or too deep that the light entering the stone would leak out of the side; this discovery was achieved by systematically analysing the optics of a diamond. Although this was revolutionary for its time, there have been other claims on the perfectly proportioned diamond. In 1940, Eppler produced the European Cut and later in 1970 The IDC (International Diamond Council) also produced a set of ideal ranges.

Compared Results

These differing proportions are all aiming to show the viewer the perfect amount of brilliance and fire. Brilliance is the reflection of light from the back facets when viewed from the top of the stone. Fire is the splitting of white light into the spectral colours as the light passes through inclined facets.

Altering the angle of the crown will affect the balance of brilliance and fire.

Fancy Cuts

In more recent times we have seen variations of the round modern brilliant cut diamond. Cutters have applied the same perfected proportions displaying great amounts of fire and brilliance and applied them to the Pear and Marquise cuts. The Pear and Marquise cuts have been around for centuries but never before displayed the optimum optical properties. Furthermore, this led to the production of more fancy shapes in the brilliant cut; heart cut and princess cuts are now examples of this. Triangular diamonds cut in this way were even named the Trillion cut.

With many attributing factors that have been considered in the cutting of diamond throughout its evolution; from a polished octahedral crystal through to the brilliant cut diamond displaying fire and brilliance, I wonder what the next seven centuries will bring. Will our future generations look back and consider the brilliant cut diamond a primitive design compared to what this stone, advanced technologies and creative cutters achieve in the future?

 

Helen’s guide for that special Valentine’s day gift

Valentine’s is a day that is dedicated to love. It originated as a Christian feast day honouring Saint Valentine, a martyr who lived in the 3rd century AD. It is now a day for people to express their love and appreciation for their significant others, friends, and family.

Some people choose to exchange gifts of jewellery and what better gift than one that you can see your loved one wear and can make a great investment for the future. The gift that keeps on giving!

Here is Helen’s guide and suggestions on the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day.

Firstly, let’s look at the things to consider when choosing jewellery:

A good thing to consider is the rarity of a piece. Antique or vintage jewellery can increase in value due to its rarity. Jewellery set with fine quality gemstones can also command very high prices at retail and auction.

Rubies and pink sapphires make an excellent choice for valentine’s day.

The Italian Jeweller Pomellato have some beautifully designed gem-set jewellery that sells very well at auction. This beautiful bracelet was estimated £4000 – £6000 at Bonhams in 2022.

Below is an example of a 4.02ct ruby that sold at Sotheby’s in 2021 for $63,000. The excellent quality stone was accompanied by a report from GRS (Gem Research Swiss lab) stating that the ruby was of Mozambican origin with no indications of heating.

As well as rarity, the quality and craftsmanship of a piece of jewellery can make a huge difference to its value. High-quality jewellery made with fine materials and gemstones can also increase in value over time.

Another important factor is market demand. Diamond jewellery is always in high demand and popular both at retail and auction. Diamond single stone rings remain the most popular choice for an engagement ring. Other examples of popular diamond jewellery include earrings, pendants, and bracelets.

Here is an example of a stunning diamond line bracelet by De Beers retailing for £92,500. De Beers are famous for their exquisite selection of diamond jewellery.

Jewellery made by some well-known brands and designers, such as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co. can make great investments and they also have many romantically themed designs perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Pieces from these brands often increase in value over time due to their popularity.

Here is an example of a Cartier Love bangle that went through auction in 2005 and sold for £600 including premium. This bangle in today’s market would sell for more than £4000. That’s a huge increase in value.

Bonhams 2005 Cartier love bangle sells for £600.

Bonhams 2022 Cartier love bangle sells for £4080.

Diamonds also make a great investment and remain a classic choice for Valentine’s Day.

This is a colour D, IF clarity diamond is valued at over £100,000.

Diamonds have been traded since the 4th century, they have stood the test of time and this longevity is a testament to their strength, rarity and beauty.

In many ways their value is protected by rising mining, manufacturing, shipping, and insurance costs involved in bringing a diamond to market and this helps to maintain their value.

As Marilyn Monroe sang… “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”

The best way to select a diamond is to familiarise yourself with their grading system. During the middle of the 20th century The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) created a grading system for diamonds. It is now recognised globally as the universal method for assessing the quality of a stone.

It can be extremely helpful as it tells you the quality of what you are purchasing and its these specific details that establish a diamonds value.

The system focuses on the Four C’s, which stand for Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat.

Colour

When it comes to colour in diamonds, it’s more about what you can’t see. When grading colour, we are assessing the absence of colour, a measurement of the degree of colourlessness in a stone.

It’s measured from D (perfectly white) to M (Yellow) see the below scale.

The most valuable on the scale are pure white, D colour.

Clarity

The GIA Diamond Clarity Scale has six categories

  • Flawless (FL) No inclusions and no blemishes visible under 10x magnification
  • Internally Flawless (IF) No inclusions visible under 10x magnification
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) Inclusions so slight they are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10x magnification
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) Inclusions are observed with effort under 10x magnification, but can be characterized as minor
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) Inclusions are noticeable under 10x magnification
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) Inclusions are obvious under 10x magnification which may affect transparency and brilliance

Here is a visual example of the clarity scale

The most valuable having a clarity grade of flawless, most commercial diamonds have a clarity of VS / SI.

Here is an example of a colour D, clarity IF diamond selling for £500,000.

Carat

A diamonds weight is represented by carat weight. All else being equal, diamond price increases with diamond carat weight because larger diamonds are rarer and more desirable. The increase in price between a 0.99ct diamond and a 1.00ct diamond is huge even though there is a very minute size difference, this is because commercially a 1.00ct diamond is more desirable.

Cut

A diamond with optimum proportions and cut will display the best amounts of fire and brightness, that lovely effect that makes diamonds so unique and beautiful. You will often see the grade of a cut ranging from excellent to poor recorded on certificates.

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Tiffany & Co. select the best quality diamonds for their jewellery.

Designer Jewellery

Cartier

Cartier is a very well-known luxury jewellery brand with a long history of creating luxurious and elegant jewellery, here are some of their most popular designs.

The Love Collection

The Cartier Love Collection is a classic design that has become synonymous with the brand. It’s simple, yet elegant with designs available in gold and platinum and some set with diamonds and gemstones.

Both diamond love bracelets retail for £40,700, the rose gold version would work particularly well for Valentine’s Day.

This plain rose gold version retails for £6350.

The Trinity Collection

The Cartier Trinity Collection is also a very popular choice. Made up of three bands of yellow, white, and rose gold, the pieces are said to be a symbol of love, friendship, and loyalty. A great message to send on Valentine’s Day.

They are available in a variety of styles with some set with diamonds.

Here is one of the more commonly seen versions with diamonds set to one of the bands.

This diamond set example retails for £6,150.

This diamond set version retails for £32,400 and would make a lovely gift with its use of rose, yellow and white gold.

There are also pendants, earrings, and bracelets available in the same design.

A very rare version is a bangle set with white, pink, and yellow diamonds, which retails for £250,000!

Cartier are not only known for their jewellery but also have a great selection of watches. The Tank Française watch is a classic design that was first introduced in 1917. It has since become one of the brand’s most iconic watches. These watches are very popular and sell well, they are perfect for someone looking for an alternative to jewellery on Valentine’s Day. Cartier also have a great selection of gentleman’s watches.

This gold and diamond Tank Française retails at Cartier for £26,300.

This stainless-steel version retails for £4200.

Van Cleef & Arpels

Another famous jewellery brand is Van Cleef & Arpels (VCA). Two models which are hugely popular and collectable are the ‘Alhambra’ and ‘Ballerina’.

The iconic Alhambra design has clovershaped motifs often set with various gemstones. They come in various designs such as long chains, bracelets, rings, and earrings.

The red gem Carnelian is set in this Alhambra VCA pendant and retails for £1490.

The malachite version of the Alhambra design is now very rare and no longer produced by VCA, therefore the secondary market has overtaken the retail price when the piece was still available.

This one sold for £28,000 at Christies in 2018. Another iconic design by VCA is the Ballerina collection which features delicate, dancing ballerina-inspired designs. They were inspired by a collaboration with Benjamin Millepied, the new dance director at the Paris Opéra, and his wife, the actress Natalie Portman.

These designs are no longer produced by VCA and make great money when they come up at auction.

The above turquoise, ruby and diamond Ballerina brooch by Van Cleef & Arperls sold for $218,000 in 2017 at Christies New York.

This diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald version sold for £6000 at auction in 2010. They would make a great gift if a loved one who has a passion for dancing, or perhaps you met on a wedding dance floor!

Tiffany & Co.

We couldn’t talk about great jewellery designers without mentioning Tiffany & Co. They have released many iconic designs over the years and here are some examples of their most popular.

The “Return to Tiffany” Collection features classic and timeless designs, such as heart lockets and charm bracelets engraved with ‘Return to Tiffany & Co. New York’ its most famous store.

Tiffany & Co. are particularly well-known for their diamond engagement rings; in fact, the “Tiffany Setting” ring is iconic. Rings can sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds depending on the quality and size of the diamond. Perhaps the epitome of romantic jewellery, a Tiffany engagement ring!

Another great example of Tiffany & Co jewellery is designed by Jean Schlumberger. He was one of the 20th century’s most gifted artists and his designs have been described as deeply imaginative, as well as being extremely desirable.

This beautiful enamel bracelet retails for just under £50,000.

Schlumberger’s designs at Tiffany & Co. were known for their whimsical interpretations of natural forms. He was especially inspired by sea creatures and other animals. Now he is most known for his enamel bangles and his diamond kisses rings. These are extremely popular at retail and at auction.

The kisses ring retails for £11,200.

Schlumberger began working for Tiffany & Co in 1956 and his original designs can sell for very high prices at auction.

This bird on a rock brooch set with a large Citrine weighing 61.20ct sold for £37,000 at auction.

Antique Jewellery

Art Deco

Antique jewellery can also make a great investment and is often romantically themed.

Art Deco jewellery is characterised by its geometric shapes and bold use of colour, making it a popular and romantic choice for special occasions.

Engagement rings from the Art Deco period are very popular, the target design was given as a token of love because it represented the bullseye shot by cupid’s arrow.

This diamond and ruby Art Deco target ring retails for £46,000.

Art Deco jewellery also sells very well at auction.

Victorian Jewellery

Queen Victorian reigned from 1839 to 1901 and the styles of the Victorian period are very intimately connected with the different stages in her life.

In 1840 Queen Victoria married the love of her life Prince Albert and this had a huge influence on jewellery styles. The theme for jewellery was love with motifs of hands, hearts, crosses, and knots to represent an eternal bond between two people. Snakes also featured, symbolising promise and being in love forever.

This diamond heart retails for £1500 and is set with 0.50ct of rose-cut diamonds a cut often used in the Victorian period.

This Victorian Lovers knot ring is another example of the romantic jewellery from the Victorian period. This retails for £1300.

This example of a ‘forget me not’ ring is set with an onyx that has been beautifully decorated with bright cushion-cut diamonds in the shape of a pansy. The pansy represents the message ‘pensée à moi’ which translates to ‘think of me’.

The theme of romance remained abundant throughout Victoria’s reign with lockets becoming increasingly popular. Wearers enjoyed holding pictures of loved ones inside.

Valentine’s Day is a special time to show your love and a piece of jewellery can be the perfect way to do so.

So, why not make this Valentine’s Day extra special with a beautiful and meaningful gift that’s lasts a lifetime and says I love you.

But remember to add to your insurance policy and get an up-to-date valuation next Valentine’s Day as the retail replacement value may have increased!

How to care for and store your handbags so they retain their value

Handbags are in higher demand than ever before, and this once niche market has now become a prominent global industry.

Over the last 10 years the secondary market for luxury handbags has soared and as a result prices and popularity have increased. Like some models of Rolex and Patek Phillippe watches, where demand outweighs supply, consumers are willing to pay a premium on the secondary market. This, as well as retailers increasing their prices and long waiting lists, makes some brands and models excellent investments.

Hermès

The Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are iconic and even getting a place on the lengthy waiting list is like trying to enter an extremely exclusive club, if not harder. Furthermore, once you have reached the point where you are offered a handbag the choice is often very limited. This makes the secondary market for these bags unbelievably strong as consumers are willing to pay a premium for the choice that is simply not available at retail.

As well as the Birkin and Kelly, another great investment are the custom Hermès bags, also known as Special Order or HSS. These are identified by their Horseshoe Stamp. Directly from Hermès, these bespoke designs are only offered to a select number of collectors, with some waiting years to finally own one. They are typically made in the Birkin, Kelly or Constance style. They get to choose materials, colour, a range of contrasting stitching in bi-colour or tri-colour variations, and special hardware. They are very popular second-hand and make fantastic investment pieces.

Of course, I must mention the Hermès Himalaya bags. Famously the most expensive bag in the world. They are made from niloticus crocodile hide and have a subtle gradation in colour from white to grey, said to resemble the snow-capped Himalayas. Seen in the Birkin and Kelly style, the hardware is white gold and pave set with diamonds. These bags are the epitome of luxury and in 2021, one achieved over £400,000 at auction.

Hermès are known for their vibrant and unique colour combinations. However, they also have an expert eye for neutral colours and offer a wide spectrum of neutral shades. These are very popular when it comes to the secondary market because they are so versatile when worn and they remain timeless.

Chanel

I can’t speak about investment without mentioning Chanel. The Classic Chanel comes in various sizes and colours, all of which remain extremely popular and make a great investment.

Similar to the Classic is the smaller more compact Wallet on Chain or WOC, also a very popular style.

Interesting Limited Editions such as this one fly on the second-hand market.

Louis Vuitton

The iconic Louis Vutton monogram pattern remains as popular as ever.

Over the years they have done some great collaborations, such as in 2017 with artist Jeff Koons. These bags are very popular with collectors.

The classic designs are timeless, such as the Speedy, Elma and Pochette, which are always popular.

Caring For Your Bag

So often I am asked what to invest in and I hope the above helps. However, something else that is extremely important to a bag’s value is its condition and is often not considered as much as it should be by the owner. So, here are my top tips on how to store your beloved handbags so they retain their value.

Storage

Bags should be stored upright in a dust bag and never piled on top of each other. To retain your bags shape it should be stuffed inside with acid free tissue paper when not in use. This will help the structure retain its rigidity. Don’t over stuff a bag, you just want the handbag to keep its shape without stretching the fabric.

Don’t hang your bag by its handle or strap as over time this might lead to it becoming stretched or result in the handle losing its shape. If your bag has a detachable strap, you may want to consider storing it separately.

If your bag has an undetachable chain handle, such as the Chanel Classic and WOC, tuck it inside the bag. This will ensure the exterior isn’t scratched. Be careful not to press the chain against the exterior or interior as it can leave an indent.

Keep your handbag out of direct sunlight as this can bleach the colour.

Most designer bags come with a dust bag for a reason. When your bag isn’t in use, take advantage of the dust bag by using it to store your bag safely. Doing this will minimise oxidation, which is one of the leading causes of natural decay in leather.

Water resistance

Water and leather should never mix. Leather is very permeable and can leave a stain.

If you get water on your bag, dab it off immediately with a dry soft cloth and then leave it to dry naturally.

Another assumption is that, because a bag costs a lot, it must automatically be weather-resistant. This is often not the case.

High-quality and designer handbags often cost their price because they are made from the most delicate materials, meaning that rain and harsh sunlight can affect their lifespan. If the weather is harsh, in terms of either temperature or rainfall, then take extra measures to protect your bag. Hermès bags come with a rain cover to protect them from water marks.

Know what your handbag is made from

Knowing what sort of leather your bag is made from is invaluable when it comes to taking care of it.

One of the most common assumptions is that all designer leather handbags are made from the same material.

Typically, the most common leathers that high-end designers use, range from canvas to lambskin leather, cowhide leather and exotic skins.

Researching the type of leather your bag is made from enables you to understand how it can be maintained and kept pristine.

Smells and Stains

Smells and stains can de-value a handbag.

The smell of smoke on a handbag is almost impossible to get rid of. So, keeping the bag out of smoky environments is important. Also be careful not to spray perfume around the handbag.

Think about what you store in your handbag and how it might stain the interior. Pen and lipstick stains are very difficult to remove so just keep them in a separate bag if you need to carry around liquids or cosmetics.

For bags in storage, giving them a little air every now and then will stop them from developing a musty smell. Plus this is the perfect opportunity to admire them.

Enjoy

My final advice is to enjoy your handbags. I find when I am wearing my favourite handbag it can make me feel empowered and 10 feet tall. So above all make sure you enjoy them, albeit responsibly…