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LONDON’S HATTON GARDEN: What you should know before you go

March 4, 2020 - Jewellery Articles
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Home to the largest cluster of jewellery retailers in the UK, London’s Hatton Garden promotes itself as an insider’s source—promising the best deals on diamonds and jewellery.  But how much of that reputation is based on fact? And how much is pure promotion?

Find out: 

 

What is Hatton Garden?

A small grid of old, narrow streets on the western border of the City of London, Hatton Garden may be only two miles from the chic jewellery shops of Bond Street but it’s a totally different world. For decades, Hatton Garden has been the location of the Diamond Bourse and the center of the UK’s diamond trade. In the United States, its equivalent is the Diamond District, the block of West 47th Street in New York with a heavy concentration of retail and wholesale jewellers and diamond dealers.

Beginning in the 19th century when the trade moved into the neighborhood from nearby Clerkenwell, generations of goldsmiths and jewellers learned their trade and spent their professional lives in Hatton Garden. For example, in 1950, Laurence Graff left school at the age of 15 to begin his apprenticeship in a Hatton Garden workshop before going on to found Graff Diamonds. However, from early days, Hatton Garden’s cash economy also attracted thieves who wanted to fence stolen goods, pickpockets, and unscrupulous dealers preying on shoppers looking for bargains. In 1993, Graff Diamonds was robbed of £7 million in gems, and on Easter weekend of 2015, the neighborhood became world-famous for the “Hatton Garden Heist,” when a gang of thieves disabled an alarm system, drilled through a 7-ft. cement wall, and robbed 73 safety deposit boxes, making away with over £14 million in gold and jewels.

What five things you should know about Hatton Garden before you go

Yes, you can buy and sell diamonds and jewellery in Hatton Garden, but it pays to be on your guard. Here, the truth behind five common misconceptions:

Myth: You’re going straight to the source. 

Fact: Hatton Garden may still be a center for dealers and retailers, but it hasn’t been a major jewellery production center for the last 75 years. Today, most of the jewellery sold there is produced in Asia—although jobs like polishing, engraving, and sizing are still done locally.

 

Myth: You’re dealing with small, independent businesspeople. 

Fact: Sometimes you are. But, more often, you’re not. Many businesses maintain different storefronts, but share  ownership. (That’s something you need to know when you’re trying to comparison shop. Or looking at a gem certification signed by a retailer’s neighbor or “competitor.”)

 

Myth: In the freewheeling atmosphere of Hatton Garden, prices change constantly and offers are often time-sensitive.

Fact: Prices for diamonds don’t ricochet up and down. If a jeweler doesn’t want to give you time to think about the offer, there’s usually a good reason. Always take your time to check things out.

 

Myth: Hatton Garden is a great place to find investment stones that will appreciate in value.

Fact: Unlike fine wines and blue-chip stocks, diamonds don’t really appreciate in value. Never buy a diamond as an investment: its price per carat may go up over decades; but by then, tastes will change and the stone will probably need to be recut.

 

Myth: You go to Hatton Garden to get wholesale prices.

Fact: Prices will be whatever the traffic will bear. One UK newspaper reported that some diamonds were being sold at 17 times their value.

Don't be misled by dealers who represent diamonds as an investment

Where can I buy diamonds or jewellery for the best price?

Yes, you can haggle your way through Hatton Garden, risk online auction platforms like eBay, check consignment shops, attend auctions, and hope for the best. Or you could shop a source of authenticated, pre-owned diamonds and jewellery like Gemma, our partner site, where you’ll find authenticated, warrantied pieces from brands including Cartier, Graff, Tiffany & Co., and Bulgari, at prices up to 78 percent off retail. Each piece has been authenticated by our team of luxury jewellery experts and is backed by our five-star reputation for customer service. Or, if you prefer, create a custom piece:  choose GIA-certified loose diamonds and the setting of your choice and have our jewellers execute it for you.

Where can I sell diamonds or jewellery for the best price?

You can probably make a quick sale to a local pawnshop, or you can place your jewellery on consignment or at auction. All of those options have their drawbacks. The pawnshop will net you quick cash but rarely get you a good price. While the other options involve lots of waiting and may not net anything at all.

A more profitable option: selling to WP Diamonds, a specialist online buyer of diamonds, jewellery, and luxury watches. You can sell your pieces to WP Diamonds for cash or receive store credit at our partner site Gemma (we’ll even give you a 10 percent increase when you opt for the store credit). Best of all, the entire process can take as little as 48 hours from start to finish.

Selling your diamonds, jewellery, or watches to us couldn’t be easier. Start by filling out our online form to receive a price quote from one of our experts. After that, decide whether you want to complete your transaction online (we take care of all shipping and insurance at no cost to you) or in person (by making an appointment at our offices in Birmingham, London, New York, Hong Kong, or Tokyo). From start to finish, our service is always simple, fast, secure—and free. Just read our hundreds of positive customer reviews to see for yourself.

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