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Online auction houses can be excellent places to look for unique fine jewelry. These platforms often have a range of options at a variety of price points, making them ideal for any budget and taste.
However, if you don’t know where to start, online auctions can be daunting. How do you know you’re getting a good deal? Is it safe to purchase a luxury item over the internet? What guarantees do you have?
We caught up with Vasilis Sarakiniotis from Catawiki, one of the largest online auction houses. Catawiki deals with over 65,000 objects at auction each week and over 10,000 unique items, from fine jewellery to vintage cars. It’s safe to say they’re among the most established online auction houses and one of the best places to go to for information. Here’s what we found out.
How is buying fine jewellery at an online auction different from buying from a retailer?
When you buy from a physical retailer or at a traditional auction, one of the main benefits is that you can see the jewellery item prior to purchase. This gives you the chance to check the piece and to make a decision. However, purchasing on an online auction is a little different.
While you won’t be able to see the piece or to communicate with the experts as freely, the biggest benefit of online auctions is their convenience. You can view the entire catalogue, easily filtering through products. You can also follow items that you’re interested in easily and place bids on multiple items.
It’s also easier to find more information about the product and to do your own research while viewing a product. In these respects, online auctions trump traditional auctions.
However, for most people bidding on fine jewellery on an auction house, the biggest issue is transparency and an element of doubt. This is why Catawiki aims to offer an open and transparent experience where people safe to explore their passions and interests, without feeling judged. Buyers and sellers can be in direct contact through the Catawiki website and app, making for a convenient experience.
How do I choose an online auction house to purchase from?
Finding an established and trustworthy auction house is imperative if you’re looking for high-ticket fine jewellery. Look for a well-established auction that has experience dealing with such items. Catawaki has been auctioning fine jewellery for years, with thousands of items available on their site. They ensure an exciting, safe and hassle-free buying experience
What types of jewellery can I find on online auction houses?
Online auctions are excellent places to find a variety of jewellery items. From branded products to rare, vintage pieces, these platforms are treasure troves for jewellery lovers. They’re also an excellent place to find special jewellery like wedding and engagement rings.
How do you purchase jewellery from an auction house?
Different online auction houses may have slightly different procedures of purchase, but in general, they follow the same principles. With Catawiki, you’ll first have to create an account which then allows you to bid on products you’re interested in. Note not all countries are supported for bidding.
Once you’ve made the winning bid, ensure that the platform offers secure payment. Catawiki keeps the buyer’s payment stored in a secured account until the buyer receives the item. This offers you the peace of mind knowing that you won’t be swindled out of your purchase.
Should I ask for a certificate of authenticity?
When purchasing unique, rare or expensive jewellery items, it’s important to make sure that the product you’ve purchased is authentic. This is where expert approval and documentation come in.
At Catawiki, only a third of the objects are immediately approved without any changes or intervention from the experts. Experts assess all the relevant documentation before approving an object. This kind of expert valuation ensures fair pricing for both sellers and buyers.
Catawiki experts run background checks on all the objects according to strict guidelines and policies. Curation drives high-quality perception of the platform, attracting more buyers and retaining existing buyers.
Is it safe to purchase fine jewellery on an online auction house?
While some buyers may look at online auction houses with a little bit of suspicion, the popularity of this form of purchasing has increased dramatically in recent years. The best online auction platforms offer several safeguards to ensure that you’re purchasing process is safe and hassle-free.
Some safety measures offered by Catawiki include:
- Notarial supervision, meaning that their auctions are supervised by an independent notary official.
- Payment held in escrow until the buyer receives the item.
- Expert evaluation of the product.
- Safe and secure payment options.
- Seller IDs are required to validate the seller’s identity
Do I need a second opinion prior to purchase?
For some people purchasing via online auction can be daunting. You might be wanting a second opinion to make sure that the piece you’re purchasing is worth the price you’re paying for it. However, if you’re purchasing from an auction house that offers expert and unbiased evaluation of the item that you can trust, you probably won’t need it. Catawaki makes it possible for you to get in direct contact with the seller to ask any questions that you may have. Besides that, their experts make sure that the quality and the variety is top notch. Clients generally find that they don’t need a second opinion prior the purchase.
How do I know I’m getting a good deal?
As we’ve already mentioned, to avoid being ripped off, it’s essential that first, you purchase from a reputable auction house, and second, that you do your research prior to purchase. Take the time to ask any questions you may have from the seller and check out the expert valuation. If it’s possible, check the pricing of similar items on other sites to gain an idea of how much it’s worth.
This is why Catawaki offers expert valuation, as it takes the guesswork out of the process and ensures fair pricing for both sellers and buyers. Another plus point is that each of the sellers who offer their products on Catawaki have their own seller page, where previous buyers can leave reviews. Take the time to check out the track record of the seller and what former customers have said about them.
What is Catawiki?
We’ve talked a lot about Catawaki, but what exactly is it? According to their website, Catawiki is the most visited curated marketplace in Europe. The platform receives around 600,000 visits by luxury goods enthusiasts every week. Exceptional objects have included: dresses once worn by Claudia Schiffer and Lady Gaga, a limited edition 100 Omega wristwatch made in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympic Games. Catawiki offers sellers an international online platform to meet the digital needs of the luxury goods audience.
Here are few stats: 10 million unique visitors per month in 2020, more than 10,000 unique objects submitted every day, 65,000 objects in auction every week and 200 in-house experts who carefully select only the most special objects to put up for auction.
Catawiki is a large, well-established and fast-growing business. They aim to become the most popular destination for exceptional objects across the globe by enabling people with a passion to discover and buy special objects that help them fulfill their passion. Want to find out more about Catawiki? Check out their website and explore the endless range of rare, unique and stunning fine jewellery they have on offer.
To learn more about purchasing jewellery at auctions, check out our related articles.
Buying an Engagement Ring at Auction? Here’s What to Know