Buying Fine Jewelry at Auction
Buying fine jewelry at auction is an exciting endeavor. Whether it is contemporary, antique or vintage jewels, auctions offer rare assortments of pieces perfect for collectors of all tastes.
You can browse detailed images and thorough descriptions of each item’s online listing, and request additional information on each piece from our team of skilled jewelry specialists. At Fortuna, we want you to know the benefits of buying at auction, as well as the many different ways you can bid on the perfect piece.
Benefits of Buying at Auction
Choosing to buy fine jewelry and watches at auction versus an online marketplace comes with multiple benefits:
Transparency With the Items Offered
Have you ever bought a piece of jewelry online, only for it to arrive damaged or look nothing like its photos? When you buy jewelry or watches at our auctions, we provide all the piece’s specifications upfront, before you place your bid. Our specialists—many of whom have worked at globally-renowned jewelry houses—inspect and catalog every lot of jewelry or timepiece we offer at auction. This process ensures every detail of the piece, from its history and style to its craftsmanship, is accurate and available for you to reference at any time. We also encourage all of our bidders to contact our specialists if they would like more information or additional images of a piece that strikes their interest.
Access to Some of the Rarest Treasures on Earth
One of the most exciting elements of bidding at auction, is the opportunity to take home some of the rarest pieces in jewelry and watch history! Whether it is a sublime piece of Art Deco Cartier jewelry handcrafted in the 1920s or a rare limited edition Rolex watch, Fortuna is the perfect place for buyers to seek unique and singular pieces that can’t be found anywhere else on the market.
Multiple and Frequent Opportunities to Buy
Most auction houses have a set seasonal schedule for their jewelry and watch auctions. Other online retailers don’t have a set schedule for selling items, which means you could miss out on some beautiful pieces—or wait years until the next posting. At Fortuna, we pride ourselves on our frequent auction events—occurring every 1-2 months.
How to Buy Fine Jewelry at Auction
Although our headquarters are in New York City, you can participate in our live and online auctions from anywhere in the world! If it is your first time registering to bid with Fortuna, you may be asked to submit photo identification and credit card information to verify your identity and confirm your seriousness as a bidder. We are committed to creating a fair and trustworthy bidding experience for each one of our bidders, and recommend that all new bidders register at least 24 hours ahead of the auction. Once you have been approved to bid, you will be added to our book of trusted bidders and immediately pre-approved for all future sales.
Bid in Person at the NYC Showroom
Come to the auctions, held in New York City. Upon registering to bid, you will be assigned a number and given a paddle. During the auction, just raise your paddle to place a bid on the item currently offered. The auctioneer will make note of your bid, and the staff with send you an invoice after the event, listing all the items you won.
Please Note: In-person bidding will be temporarily unavailable, in compliance with the statewide response to stunt the spread of COVID-19.
You can bid directly on Fortuna’s online auction platform a few ways, including:
- Registering online on Fortuna’s website
- Downloading the Fortuna iOS or Android mobile app
- Using LiveAuctioneers, Bidsquare or Invaluable (Please Note: Using these third-party platforms will incur additional online fees.)
Bid Over the Phone
If you can’t attend the auction in person, but would like eyes on the auction floor, you can bid by phone through a Fortuna proxy who is present at the auction. Just list the different lots you would like to called for on our phone bidding form, or notify us in advance by email. Several minutes before your lot comes up for bidding, your proxy will call you, keep you abreast of competing bids, and raise your paddle on your behalf if you wish to place a bid.
Bid as an Absentee
If neither the time nor location of the auction is convenient for you, you are welcome to leave an absentee bid, which is the highest hammer price you are willing pay for the lots you’re interested in. You communicate this by filling out an absentee bidder form and returning the form by email. If your noted price is higher than the hammer price, you will win the bid for the amount of the hammer price, even if it is less than what your maximum absentee bid was.
We strongly advise all to read and understand the full Terms & Conditions of Sale before bidding with Fortuna Auction. For more information on ways to bid and our upcoming jewelry auctions, contact us.
Other Ways to Buy
If no auction is currently taking place, you can still buy through Fortuna®. We offer private, one-on-one sales, ideal for those seeking anonymity outside an auction venue. Please let us know what types of jewelry or watches you’re looking to purchase and we will be happy to assist.
To speak to one of our jewelry specialists, please call or email us today. We are pleased to assist with any inquiries you may have.
608 5th Avenue, Suite 507
New York, NY 10020
Frequently Asked Questions
The highest amount the auctioneer accepts for a particular lot or winning bid is known as the “hammer price.” The "Buyer’s Premium" is a percentage fee on top of the hammer price that is added to the final invoice for the winning bidder. At Fortuna, the Buyer’s Premium schedule is as follows:
25% on the first $300,000
20% from $300,001 to $3,000,000
12.5% on the excess of $3,000,000As an example, if you placed a bid of $1,000 for an item at auction, your invoice after the auction will be $1,250 ($1,000 + 25%), excluding other shipping or local sales tax fees.
Registering to bid online at an auction is a quick and simple process; simply click here to create your account. You will have to submit your credit card information in order to start placing bids. Please note, your credit card will receive a $1 test charge to verify that the credit card is valid. This test amount is automatically refunded, but may take 1–3 business days to reflect in your account. As a new bidder, you may be contacted by our office to provide proof of ID and additional information to confirm buyer seriousness. This is a one-time process to ensure a fair bidding experience for all participants and to prevent fraudulent bidding. Once we receive this information, you will be added to our book of trusted bidders and automatically pre-approved for all future auctions.
We also offer absentee and phone bidding, which has a similar registration process. You may download the form for this purpose here and email the completed form to email@example.com. Please note that bidders with no buying history with Fortuna will have to submit photo ID and credit card information to complete their registration. Fortuna's Bidding Services department will provide you with instructions on how to securely transmit that information.
To be eligible to participate in an auction, we recommend completing your registration at least 24 hours prior to the sale.
Within 24 hours of an auction, successful bidders will receive their invoice via the email listed upon registration. The final purchase price on the invoice will include the hammer price, buyer’s premium, any local taxes that apply (Fortuna is required to collect sales tax for lots shipped to Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia), and an insured shipping quote.
Fortuna accepts most forms of payment, such as bank wire, check, cash, credit card, and money transfer via Zelle.
Please note, payment by credit card comes with associated fees and restrictions. For more information, please contact our office.
Fortuna offers in-house, fully insured domestic and international shipping services via FedEx. Your invoice will include an insured shipping quote to the shipping address on your account. Once payment has cleared, our team will carefully pack your lots to ensure their safe transit. On the day your package ships, you will receive an email with the tracking number so that you have up-to-date information on its transit status. Please note that international buyers may encounter additional VAT or import duty fees and these fees are not collected by Fortuna; FedEx will contact you to settle them prior to delivery of your package.
If you prefer to pick up your items in our New York office or make your own shipping arrangements, we are happy to work with whatever is most convenient for you. Please keep in mind that the New York City sales tax of 8.875% will be added to your invoice for office pick-ups unless you have a valid resale certificate.
Absolutely! In the week preceding an auction, all the jewelry and watches offered for sale are available for viewing at our New York office. Simply call our office or use our online scheduler to select a date and time to come in.
If you are located outside of New York, you can still take advantage of the detailed images and high-definition video views offered for each piece in our online catalog. For additional images, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our specialists would be happy to assist you.
If you have placed pre-bids (bids left online in the days leading up to a live auction), you will not be able to cancel or reduce them. This measure is to ensure a fair bidding experience for all participants who have made their bidding decisions based on the current activity seen online. Because of the nature of auctions, in which there may be multiple buyers interested in a single item, we have enforced this rule to prevent any disruptions to the bidding process.