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PERIOD and designer jewellery has outperformed the housing market in the Winchester over the past decade, according to new figures.

Research reveals the most rare and sought-after pieces of vintage jewellery have soared in value by over 80 per cent during the past ten years.

By contrast, average house prices in Winchester have risen in value by 45 per cent over the same period, according to ONS figures.

Art Deco (1920s and 1930s) and Belle Epoque jewellery (1890 to 1915) has soared by 88 per cent since 2006. Antique jewellery has risen by 68 per cent and jewellery from the post-war era (1945-1975) has risen by 70 per cent during the same period.

But despite such rises, Britons are sitting on millions of pounds worth of designer jewellery because they do not know exactly what it is worth, according to one of the UK’s leading auction houses.

Jean Ghika, Bonhams head of jewellery for UK and Europe, said: “Jewellery can often be left sitting in a jewellery box or in a safety deposit box with the owners unsure what to do with it so it remains untouched for years therefore we are actively encouraging customers to bring in pieces for a free and confidential valuation.

“People can often be unaware of how valuable a piece could be because the hallmarks, signatures or initials of its creators are unnoticed or unrecognised.

“Hallmarks, signatures, initials, even a name or a code on the back of a jewel can signify that a piece of jewellery has come from a highly sought-after house. These could include names like Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels and these ‘signatures’ can make a considerable difference to the eventual selling price.”

Bonhams is reporting that more people are seeking to sell significant pieces of jewellery they own. This used to be due to the 3Ds - death, divorce and debt - but now this is also due to the fact:

• Jewellery is not worn due to changing tastes and styles. Inherited pieces, sometimes in an older style, are not always considered fashionable or practical;

• Owners are re-assessing assets and want to realise the money so it can be used for other purposes;

• Inheritance planning: a significant and valuable piece cannot be easily shared equally between children;

• Some pieces can be costly to retain given increasingly high insurance premiums - especially if they are unworn.

Launching its Jewellery in June campaign to encourage people to find out the up-to-date market value of the jewellery they own, Bonhams is inviting people to access its network of experienced jewellery specialists in the UK so that they can provide up-to-date market valuations. This is done on a confidential and without obligation basis.

To contact your local Bonhams’ jewellery specialist, please go to http://www.bonhams.com/jewelleryinjune/. People who click on this link will have the option to upload of picture of their jewellery from their mobile ‘phone or computer to help Bonhams’ experts ahead of the valuation meeting.

Jean Ghika added: “Jewellery pieces from makers including Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany are in high demand and performing very well at our auctions globally. Buyers are actively seeking out examples of signed pieces from these great jewellery houses.

“They are also interested in jewellery from historic periods such as the 1920s and 1930s a period that’s renowned for creating bold and striking pieces of jewellery.

“Interestingly, we are also seeing a surge in prices in eye-catching jewellery from the 1960s and 1970s. These are achieving strong prices at auction in the UK and across the Bonhams’ global network.”

A Jewellery in June valuation will be held in Winchester on Wednesday June 28 10am-2pm at The Royal Winchester Hotel, St Peter Street, Winchester, SO23 8BS.

To book an appointment call 020 7468 8285 or go to http://www.bonhams.com/jewelleryinjune/

Average house prices 2006 vs 2016 from ONS. Figures broken down as follows:

2006 2016 %age increase

England 159 233 47

Wales 124 147 19

Scotland 94 143 52

N. Ireland 112 124 11