Natural and Lab Made Colored Diamonds: A Kaleidoscope of Choice

As a gift to the Queen, a promise to a lover, or the star of a luxury vintage treasure, the diamond is truly nature’s crown jewel. For years, people coveted what the stone lacked—brilliant and varying color. Now, collectors of fine gems are falling in love with colored diamonds—both natural and laboratory grown—as an expression of their own personal, luxury style.

Colored diamonds are produced when small amounts of trace elements are present during formation.

Natural diamonds are created deep below the earth’s surface, whereby carbon is exposed to extreme heat and pressure over eons of time. Colored diamonds are produced when small amounts of trace elements are present during formation. Color variations exist across an endless spectrum—pink, champagne, cognac, vermillion, azure, even mysterious noir—seductive stones affected by a varied collection of naturally occurring factors producing brilliant results.

Diamonds are classed by what is commonly referred to as the 4Cs: color, clarity, cut and carat. In addition to the 4Cs, the value of a colored diamond relies most heavily on hue, rarity and strength of color. Generally, an uncommon or intensely colored stone will reflect a greater value.

Laboratory grown, or engineered diamonds are produced by an artificial process under a highly controlled lab environment that carefully replicates the conditions under which diamonds are naturally formed. The gems are birthed from a tiny carbon seed made of pre-existing diamond, and exposed to extreme pressure and heat. Carbon atoms are arranged in a diamond crystal structure identical to naturally occurring diamonds, with color occurring by the inclusion of minerals during the deposition process. Lab grown diamonds have the same physical, chemical and optical properties of mined, yet cost upwards of 20-30% less. Created without the heavy environmental and human burden commonly associated with traditionally mining, colored, cultured stones have become an increasing popular sustainable and socially conscious choice.

When it comes to diamonds, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. A gemstone should be as colorful as the wearer, and reflect her own personal style story. Let Braswell and Son’s graduate gemologist and GIA trained staff assist you in choosing the perfect colored diamond or stunning, luxury vintage piece.

Luxury Vintage Designer Accessories: A New Kind of Collateral

Using luxury accessories and handbags as collateral for a loan.
With a global premium accessory market valued at $48 billion, luxury vintage accessories are among the fastest growing asset classes.

Savvy investors know it takes money to make money. As investments, premium luxury accessories like designer handbags and fine watches hold their value and offer the greatest return. With a global premium accessory market valued at $48 billion, luxury vintage accessories are among the fastest growing asset classes. A luxury vintage piece is a highly valued resource, and used as collateral can play an influential role in enriching an investment portfolio. Here’s how:

A sharp, successful businesswoman living in Beverly Hills has an opportunity to invest in a win-win startup company, and needs quick capital to become one of a few founding investors. As a means to raise cash, she takes her authentic, vintage, gold Hermès Birkin bag with palladium hardware—a pre-loved, prized jewel in her collection—to a well-known broker in her area. The broker grants her a short-term cash advance against her vintage collectable piece, and she is able to cash in on her opportunity without delay. She is, in effect, creating wealth by using her own stylish resources.

Long-established, trusted brokers that can quickly identify a luxury vintage piece as genuine can offer more cash up front than other lenders. Loans average $5000, and can climb upwards to $60,000 for rarities in pristine condition, that include original packaging, dust bags, receipts and documents of authentication. Iconic, classic and timeless styles retain the greatest investment value. Luxury vintage designer handbags and collectible watches are popular, with some dealers also handling estate jewelry, fine art, rare stamps and books. The average duration of a short-term loan is 4-6 months, with the option to pay interest and rewrite the loan after the initial term. The biggest risk of this type of venture is default. If the client does not choose to extend the loan, the broker then becomes the new owner of the piece and is free to sell it at full market value.

Making your fashion investments work for you can be the difference between having, and having more. Trust Braswell and Son to secure the highest possible cash advance value for your luxury vintage pieces.

Counterfeit Luxury Vintage: Fantastic Fake or Fabulous Find?

Clues to identifying watches as authentic.

When in the hunt for luxury vintage designer accessories, you can easily get swept away by the excitement of finding a rare piece in pristine condition at a fraction of the cost of an original. Purchasing pre-owned luxury vintage could be risky business, as the investment is only as solid as the authenticity of the item itself. The market is rife with imposters, convincing “superfake” pieces that challenge experts with the addition of cannibalized authentic hardware and counterfeit documents of authenticity. When shopping for luxury vintage, the best advice is to buy from a trusted seller that offers true authentication and a guarantee.

Highly sought after pre-owned foundation pieces, such as designer handbags and watches remain excellent investments. However, buyers should use caution when shopping for prestigious brands, and realize that buying counterfeit means taking from artisan businesses and global revenue, as well as supporting the fashion industry’s black market that often includes child labor and other illegal or unethical practices.

Clues to identify watches as authentic:

  • Brand identifiers, correct spelling, and placement of logo and other design hallmarks
  • Engravings should be sharp and distinct
  • Proper functioning of sub dials
  • Weight, most reproductions weigh significantly less
  • Smooth, sweeping movement of the second hand
  • Freely moving links on metal bands
  • Sound, quality brands are quiet, or silent
Tips on verifying authentic luxury handbags.

Considerations to identify handbags as original:

  • Brand identifiers, correct stamped marks in hardware, and number of digits in authenticity codes, indicating decade of issue or country of origin
  • Details, repeating patterns on flaps or pockets line up perfectly with consistent, even stitching
  • Stitch count, high stitch count helps maintain shape
  • Patina, honeyed look on handles created from oils from the hands
  • Linings, should lay flat and cannot be easily separated from inside of bag
  • Premium materials, quality leather and impeccable finish

Vetting a luxury vintage piece as genuine is a complex and thorough process. Braswell and Son’s sales associates are specially trained to examine and identify ALL features. Invest in authentic—trust in Braswell and Son for rare and original luxury vintage finds.