Scrap it!?

Posted on the 9th September 2011

The other day we bought a watch over the counter. An Art Deco, platinum and diamond watch. One of the most beautiful watches EVER. A watch of this style is more a bracelet than a time piece. The dial was so tiny it was almost lost amongst the dazzling array of diamonds. The stones were charming old-cuts and baguettes and the quality of the setting and elegance of design were up there with the best. So the fact that the watch wasn’t in working order didn’t seem to be a problem to me. It was a piece of jewellery in its own right and would look stunning when worn, ticking hands or not. The resounding opinion, however, from every dealer who came in to Holts throughout the day was ‘scrap it’. In a world where gold and platinum prices have hit the roof and kept going, people’s desire to cash in on unwanted pieces of jewellery is becoming the norm. We’re an increasingly impatient society, unwilling to wait for fashions to change or buyers to arrive. We want immediacy. We want to have the latest gadget or gizmo on the market and if that means melting down that old thing we inherited but have never really looked at and don’t really know about, then so be it. Right? It’s at this point that I must scramble up onto my soap-box and let my voice be heard. This ‘cash for gold’ mentality has gone too far. As an antique jewellery devotee, I see beyond dusty brooches, tired lockets and broken watches. Clean them up. Give them a polish. Wear them with pride. Old jewellery is intrinsically romantic. It tells a story, has a history and is often far more finely crafted than contemporary, mass produced pieces. If these aren’t reasons enough, the chance of your bumping into someone wearing exactly the same piece on the high street is practically zilch. And what better selling point could you ask for than exclusivity? Why anyone would want to get rid of such treasures is beyond me. But if you still do, just run them past me first…. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the watch sold the following day. So much for scrapping.