Young buyers under 25 are leading a surge in interest in antique jewellery, according to one of Ireland’s top gem experts who has become an online sensation.
he new generation is looking for sustainable stones and has a knowledge and enthusiasm to rival astute veteran collectors, according to Matthew Weldon of Dublin-based Courtville Antiques.
And much of that is down to the time they found during Covid lockdowns to research their chosen gems.
Weldon has led an online revolution in Irish antique jewellery sales with over 3.4million likes on TikTok – and also presents the highly popular Gem Pursuit which is in the top five per cent listened to podcasts globally.
He is one of the key exhibitors at Timeless, The Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, which returns to Dublin’s RDS today after a two-year Covid hiatus.
“The younger market want to understand things – if I have someone who is under 25 coming in to see something, they have researched it,” he said.
“They want be spoken to about the detail at a pretty high level. They won’t be saying ‘is this an emerald?’ – they will be looking for the origin and the treatment of it.
“Before lockdown, young people went in and bought the easiest engagement ring they could get, but given the enforced time to research, they want sustainable design classics.
“If I had a whole shop full of Edwardian solitaire gold rings I could sell them at the moment, such is the demand for stones which are completely one offs – especially emeralds.
“Young people engage with antiques in a completely different way. They want to know about the piece independently of you, whereas the more traditional customer will be guided by you and the shop.
“The demand from our followers for tickets has been massive. They are relishing the chance to see such a collection of design classics under one roof,” said Weldon.
“This is the first big physical get together of dealers and nothing beats physically attending and seeing pieces.
“We are going to be doing several TikTok lives and Instagram lives and recording a podcast episode at the show.”
Courtville Antiques produces three Instagram posts per day, a story every second day and live videos weekly.
*Ireland’s largest selection of classic pieces that stand the test of time will be on show at Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, running from today until Sunday.