Patricia Faber of Aaron Faber Gallery was featured in the January 2021 issue of Rapaport Magazine for the article “Old styles, new challenges” by Phyllis Schiller.
For Patricia Faber, shifting gears in the wake of the pandemic meant “stepping up [our] digital game.” Her company built on what it was already doing: Selling its vintage watches and jewelry on its website and through Instagram, texting photos of pieces, and upping its social media marketing. Faber found that retail clients who might not have considered making large purchases online were comfortable shopping for brand names they knew, like Tiffany & Co., Bulgari or Cartier. The gallery added Zoom events as well; for the first, it partnered with a California vintner to discuss wine and watches.
Without trade shows, Faber found new opportunities in dealer chat rooms. “We also buy from private clients, with very strong referrals through our Midtown neighborhood, which has been a wonderful source,” she says.
Regarding trends, she suggests that “not going out means people don’t have feedback on their jewelry, especially the more abstract pieces, which might be why the more natural jewelry is selling.” Flower rings and petal earrings by major brands are popular styles, she explains, as “people want something more personal that touches them, something colorful and joyful that takes them out of this bubble we’re all living in.”
Rings are strong, as are earrings, pendants and smaller necklaces that can be given as gifts, she reports. “In terms of self-purchases, it’s across the board. I think people are realizing that because they haven’t been going to restaurants or theaters or buying plane tickets, they do have, even with the economic distress, money to buy something special.”
The trends differ by price range, she adds. “At higher price points, people are still collecting, and what sells is the brand names and beautiful salon jewelry. Whether retro, Deco, 1960s or 1970s, it’s something sumptuous, with gold or gemstones. In the lower price points, more sentimental pieces sell, such as Roman coin rings, petal jewelry, things that are very personal.”
Faber foresees a strong 2021, “with pent-up demand breaking out. You can see it now in the dealer-to-dealer networks. Things at the high end are being snapped up. There’s increased demand and higher prices for vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe watches, driven by auction houses and collectors and [the fact] that new watches from Switzerland were basically cut off in 2020. That might change later in 2021, but it’s going to take time for new product to come through the supply chain. I think brands are going to remain incredibly strong.”
Several pandemic-related trends will continue in the coming year, she believes. “It’s going to take the vaccine and then at least six months after that for consumers to get back into the habit of shopping off the internet. The popularity of more personal kinds of tokens and amulets will carry over. Once we can all get together, the market will be really strong, but we have to get there first.”