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2021, the emergence of preowned or second-hand jewellery market in India

25 Jan 2021

When it comes to buying fine jewellery, the price tag often impacts the final decision. More so after the 2020 pandemic where people have become more careful with their spending. Diamond jewellery even today remains out of reach for most Indians because of two reasons - high price and limited knowledge on resale value. But there is an option to take the road less travelled and look for used or preowned jewellery. The concept which is yet limited and in its nascent stage in India, but hugely prevalent and successful in the West. May be it is time now to turn our attention to an industry that has great potential and can benefit both the jewellery buyers and sellers.

What is preowned jewellery?
When one thinks of preowned jewellery one immediately associates it with buying a piece of vintage jewellery or estate jewellery that could probably be over fifty years old. But that is not the case. Today preowned jewellery is second-hand jewellery that is modern. A large number of stores and websites are dedicated to selling Preowned Jewellery. From engagement rings, to necklaces and bracelets one can find a recently purchased jewellery item that looks almost brand new. Preowned jewellery items are in fact available in such good condition that it is almost indistinguishable from its brand new counterpart.

What makes buying preowned jewellery worth it?
There are several advantages in buying preowned or second-hand jewellery. They are: -

1. An affordable price tag
Preowned jewellery can come as low as 50% to 70% of the original price tag. This means a huge saving on the original price making it more affordable and easier to own. Preowned jewellery available on websites like worthy, thbaker, craiglist, etc. offer a platform for buyers and sellers to buy/sell personally owned fine jewellery. Today the newer and trending jewellery pieces are available for bargain hunters on such websites.
2. Environment friendly
In a world where recycling has become the new norm to save the planet, preowned jewellery plays an important role. When you buy a preowned jewel it means lesser mining of precious minerals. Since most mines are depleting their resources, it is time to become conscious and contribute even if in a miniscule way to conserve the environment.
3. Modern or dated
While preowned jewellery can offer something from a new selection it can also have dated or antique pieces. This adds uniqueness and rare appeal. Very often connoisseurs of jewellery visit pawn shops to find hidden treasures that go unnoticed and which sell at throw away prices. Preowned designs are not limited to a particular style, trademark, or budget. It has a lot more to offer than one expects.
4. Backed by history
Very often a piece of second hand jewellery has a history behind it. Whether it was owned by a celebrity or it belonged to an earlier century, the piece may have a storyline entwined within it. Try to weave that story when you wear an unusual piece and see how it attracts attention. Trends come and go but a design is forever.
5. High-quality materials
In preowned or second-hand jewellery the metal and stone quality is easy to determine since it is already used and been through natural wear and tear. If it is in good shape it means either it has hardly been worn or it has good quality materials. Since fine jewellery is made of mostly gold and platinum with precious stones, you can expect high quality of metals and stones. Check the 22k, 18k or 12k stamp to know the purity of the metal.
6. Workmanship and design
There are youngsters who prefer retro styles and youngsters who prefer the ultra-chic modern jewellery. From fine filigree and Victorian art-deco jewels to modern brilliant diamonds set in gold or platinum, workmanship and designs is most varied in preowned jewels. You can also select from machine-made or handmade jewellery. One can sometimes find a unique piece that was made-to-order which you otherwise don’t get to see in a shop.
7. Better investment
Sometimes the mark-up on diamond jewellery is as high as 300%. But since the mark-up on preowned jewellery is much lesser than its brand new counterpart, in the long run your jewellery will prove a good investment. As jewellery prices rise, you may find that your piece has actually increased in value over a span of several years.

Why people don’t want to buy preowned jewellery?
Not everyone may want to buy preowned jewellery. Indians in particular believe in karma and they may see a second-hand piece as someone’s bad karma who had to sell the jewellery due to bad times. Some actually believe, wearing such a piece may cause bad luck to befall upon them. While India is among the top international markets for fine jewellery (the other four being China, USA, Japan and Hong Kong) the preowned market is only a very small fraction. Today Indians, are shopping for second-hand cars and second-hand homes but not jewellery. It is a mind-set that needs to change. While it is a great feeling to be the first and only owner of a piece of fine jewellery, do remember there is a great chance it will be passed down the next generation and someone else may wear it. Does karma matter then?

Conclusion: The millennial in India are shopping differently — they are conscious buyers. 2021, may see the emergence of preowned or second-hand jewellery market in India post the recent pandemic times. It’s only a matter of time before preowned fine jewellery industry begins to see a significant growth. India, it’s time to buy second-hand, it’s time to buy smart!


Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.