Think before melting jewellery for cash

Antique jewellery can be worth more than its weight in gold.

Antique jewellery can be worth more than its weight in gold.


The prices of gold and its poorer cousin silver continue to go north. So is it time to take granny’s old wedding ring and melt it down?

This depends on who you ask. The value of your bauble depends on not only what it’s made of; it also comes down to whether it can be called a piece of art. The difference between art and trinket is as wide as that between the meat patty Damien Hirst has for lunch and the carved-up cow he sells to art collectors for millions.

Figuring out the difference can be tricky. Elkan Wijnberg, who describes himself an “antique jewellery addict”, is a man of expensive tastes. He runs a dealership in Antwerp, Belgium, and was kind enough to chat over the phone about the issue.

Anyone who can reach into a drawer and pull out a handful of rings, none of which cost less than US$20,000 (Dh73,460) is worth listening to. He owns pieces that date to the time when our ancestors thought the moon was a really large lump of cheese in the sky, so he knows what he is talking about.

His job, he says, is to try to rescue as much old fine jewellery as possible. It’s a race against time.

“It’s understandable that… read the rest