What exactly are "estate" diamonds and Is the
word "estate" being used a lot as a marketing term in the
jewelry biz these days, or is this a legitimate market niche?
Are these the same as "antique" diamonds and ;-)
The word is nice and important sounding, but almost meaningless.
Consider it a synonym for “used”, pre-owned, second hand, etc.
Basically, all it means is that someone is selling it again. In
some venues, this may well mean that the piece comes from the
estate of someone now deceased, and the estate is now liquidating
the jewelry. but even in this instance, you have no way of
knowing if the jewelry was handed down from prior generations
since antiquity, or whether the dear departed bought the sucker
from a T.V. home shopping channel or the neighbors garage sale
two weeks before departing this earth. And just as often the
stuff can be simply unwanted jewelry that someone is getting rid
of. Maybe it’s pawned, maybe it’s stolen, who knows. All it
means is that now it’s on the market again through other than
normal wholesale to retail to customer channels. And at some
auctions, stuff marked estate varies a GREAT deal in quality.
Some I’ve seen appears to me to be essentially new, but
otherwise unsaleable, maybe retail store liquidations, or
bankruptcy liquidations etc.
The bottom line with such goods is “buyer beware”. Many
auctions give only cursory descriptions, and even then will state
that the descriptions are not exact or not guaranteed.
Sometimes, gemological sounding descriptions can be given by
people without gemological credentials. Almost everything,
when touted by the fast talking auctioneer is gonna be
"beautiful" and all the rest, when if fact it might be utter
trash upon close examination. Much depends on the organization
running the auction or disposal sale. The larger established
auction houses (Christies, Soothbys, etc) work hard to be
accurate as they can. Beyond that, do your homeowork about the
auction house before you trust the descriptions, and do you your
homework about the jewelry before you bid on it. And all the
above holds just as true for “estate” goods sold outside of
auction formats as well.
Hope this helps.