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Live Jewelry Auctions To Return, But Online Sales Will Persist

Live Jewelry Auctions Back; Web Sales Will Stay

Auction house Sotheby’s said it is set to resume Geneva’s live auctions of jewelry, which were suspended when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The first live event is set for this week.

Sotheby’s held only online jewelry auctions during the lockdowns, which “set new benchmarks” for such sales, the auction house said, per a report in a trade publication.

In fact, David Bennett, Sotheby’s worldwide jewelry chairman, told Reuters that the auction house had a “massive surge” in its online sales. “The live sales have their place, absolutely, you know the drama, the excitement. But the online sales are here to stay, there is no question; it is going to go well, I think,” he said.

Christie’s and Phillips, both Sotheby’s competitors, also postponed live auctions due to the pandemic. For its part, Christie’s is planning a jewelry sale in Geneva for July 22.

Sotheby’s plans to auction off a Cartier diamond bracelet with geometric shapes and leaves from the 1930s this week. Bennett said it’s “a beautiful thing. … People collect Cartier now, of course, but these are the star pieces of the best period of Cartier production.”

He added: “And, there is something that I really love, a very rare 100-carat sapphire, a cushion shape sapphire untreated, [an] absolutely beautiful color. It is from Sri Lanka. And you know, in my more than 40-year career, I have never seen more than a couple of this size.”

As reported by PYMNTS, the coronavirus also impacted auto and antique sales.

“I’d say at the beginning of the year, a third of our business was online, with the rest coming through our storefront,” said Dwight Steffenson, proprietor of Solvang Antiques near Santa Barbara, California. “Now we’re going to take a smaller storefront and concentrate more online. Part of that is due to the lack of foot traffic. But it’s also a function of the improvements in photography that let people get a better look at what they’re buying. We’re finally knocking down the barriers online.”

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