We have become quite used to street art or ‘urban art’ illuminating our lives through its presence on the walls, floors and infrastructure of our major cities. In many ways it offers a vibrancy and invigoration that traditional art cannot replicate. It interacts with the urban landscape and with the lives of millions.
In the past, and quite possibly in the present, it has been derided as glorified graffiti, but whatever your taste, street art has come a long way in terms of value and prestige. In an age of surveillance, street artists carry an enigmatic air of mystery that only helps increase the fame and value of their work. Though street art does not yet match the value of the old masters or even modern art, its popularity continues to grow and beguile the art world.
Ideally, a diamond should be purchased after viewing it in person to see how it interacts with the light around it. Because no two diamonds are the same, the viewing experience for each will be unique. Since more and more consumers are taking advantage of the convenience that shopping online offers, the diamond industry has been working on gaining consumer confidence to make buying diamonds online a common and trustworthy practice.
If you are considering purchasing a diamond this holiday season and want to take advantage of sales online, here are some tips to help you in your search:
Figure out your budget beforehand – Knowing what you are willing to spend on a diamond will keep you focused from the very start of the search
Do your research – Educate yourself on the 4 C’s of diamonds (Carat, Cut, Color, Clarity) and determine which of these variables is most important to you. What shape are you looking for? Are you willing to sacrifice size for quality, or do you prefer a larger stone with some clarity characteristics, or neither? Making these decisions will help guide your diamond search.
Get a grading report – Make sure the diamond that you are buying comes with a diamond grading report by an internationally recognized laboratory, like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). These reports will give you a breakdown of the details of the specific diamond, without giving you a value of the stone. It is objective, which is what you want.
Investigate the company
Are they reputable?
What are the reviews from previous buyers?
How long have they been in business?
Where are they located? Are they international, or are they right next door? Convenience can be handy, especially if you can make a trip to the jeweler to see the stone in person.
What is the return policy for the diamond? You want to stay away from purchases where you cannot return the diamond for a full refund, because you will want to get the stone verified by a certified appraiser after the purchase
What payment methods do they accept?
How will the diamond be shipped, and is there insurance coverage?
Do they have a Customer Service department where you can speak to a live person, should you have questions?
Once you feel comfortable with the purchase, bring the diamond to a reputable an independent appraiser to have them verify that the diamond matches the certificate and was purchased at a fair price. They will also provide you with a written insurance appraisal.
A wine collection can be one of the most rewarding avenues of investing. It can be both personally enriching as well as financially rewarding. Since 2005, the most investment-worthy wines have increased in value at roughly twice the rate of the S&P 500.
Live-ex Fine Wine Investables Index: Ten Years.
This pool of the most investment worthy wines shows a 134% increase between 10/31/05 and 10/31/2015. The S&P 500 increased 72% in the same period while the FTSE 100 rose 20%.
In order to have a good result in wine investing, the first step is to be very selective about the wines purchased, as most wines do not appreciate over time. In the past, the wines that have appreciated the most have been the wines that are already at the top of the quality pyramid and from the best vintages. These are:
California Cult Wines
Sources for Purchasing
The best source for purchasing any wine is always from the winery itself. Most California wineries have ‘wine clubs’ that will ship the wines to consumers in the US and abroad. However, some patience is required as many of the wineries have waiting lists and it can take months or even years to secure a spot in the wine club.
In Europe very few wineries making investment worthy wines sell directly to the public. So the next options are retailers and auction houses. As a general rule, wine auctions tend to offer better prices than retailers. But, more work is required on the part of the buyer and purchasing is typically only available at specific times of the year when the auctions are held. For investment purposes, it is generally better to avoid purchasing wine at charity auctions as the prices are often inflated – all in the name of a good cause, of course.
Fraudulent wine bottles pose a significant risk to the wine collector. For serious investors in older wines, it is best to invoke the opinion of an expert to avoid not just fraudulent bottles but also bottles that are out of condition.
It is very important that the wines be stored properly to preserve their condition and value. Professional wine storage will help the resale value of a wine collection. However, a sophisticated home storage system can be a good alternative.
Amidst talk of bailouts and austerity measures, it might appear that the economic recovery of the last five years has faced nothing but setbacks. However, according to the Global Wealth Report the annual growth rate of wealth around the world is robust and looks set to grow steadily over the next half-decade. Driven by an expanding middle class in developing countries and by a huge increase in the number of dollar millionaires. Read more
As Oscar Wilde is known to be quoted, “When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss money,” but what happens when the two worlds meet? Art Finance, or Art Secured Lending, as it is also known as, is quickly growing as a preferred route to attain liquidity amongst collectors of fine objects, and this is demonstrated with a number of new lenders having entered the market over the last five years. However, the current questions in this area still remain: Do advisors know how to effectively recommend art finance as an alternative liquidity source and do collectors know they can even use such a service? Read more
Continuing our art market series, we researched how blue-chip artists are performing in relation to the rest of the Contemporary market and found an interesting fact about Andy Warhol’s sales. Warhol outsold the bottom 46k Contemporary lots at Christie’s in 2014 by $3M.
View our mini graph below to see how Warhol’s superior sales compare to L.A. Dodger Clayton Kershaw’s dominating salary.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the world of luxury watches is overwhelmingly male-orientated and in some ways this is true. Through the history of watchmaking, names like Antoni Patek, Adrien Philippe, Louis Cartier and George Daniels have been the icons of horology.
Collecting watches may also be wrongly thought of as a passion for men – wristwatches being “male jewellery” – and certainly the most famous and sought after watches tend to be models for men. Ironically the very first wristwatch was designed by Patek Philippe for a woman – Countess Koscowicz of Hungary. Read more
In the third part of our art market series, we’ll explore the practices of galleries and private dealers. We’ll also address how galleries and private dealers guide and finesse the market to benefit their businesses and their stable of artists. Then, we’ll take a look at how the private market compares to the volatility of the auction sector, and if it’s the solution for increasing transparency in the art market.