Frequently Asked Questions

What does Fortuna do?

Fortuna is an auction house based in New York City, specializing in fine, estate, and antique jewelry. Our auctions are a platform for collectors, wholesalers, retailers, and private clients to buy and sell jewelry on an international scale.

What types of jewelry do you accept?

We accept all kinds of fine jewelry, watches, and objects. If you are not sure if your item is accepted by us, feel free to email us a picture.

What is a "reserve price?"

The reserve price is the minimum selling price for an item, that is agreed upon by the seller and the auction. For example, a seller’s Rolex watch may have a reserve of $25,000. This means that the auctioneer will not accept any bid below $25,000. If there are no bids that meet or exceed the reserve, the lot will be passed.

Why is the Starting Bid lower than my Reserve?

You’ve trusted us with some of your most prized possessions, and now you see your item is up for bid for less than your agreed upon Reserve; don’t worry, we will never sell your item for less than the Reserve price in your contract. We start the bidding low to get people excited and to create competition! If bidding stops before hitting your Reserve, we will simply pass.

What does “no-risk” mean?

In all other auctions, the seller can expect to pay fees for photography, marketing, and insurance—even if the jewelry does not sell. Many auctions even charge an unsold lot fee, charging you a percentage of the value of your item that did not sell. For example, if your $30,000 diamond ring does not sell at auction, you could still pay up to $3,000 in fees. Fortuna has eliminated this risk for sellers. If your jewelry does not sell, we return it to you at no cost. If it does sell, we take a commission from the buyer, and a very small commission from the seller. Because we are a specialty auction, without the typical overhead of a large multi-department auction house, we operate on much lower margins and pass the savings onto the seller.

What does “fair market value” mean?

The fair market value is an estimate of what price a piece of jewelry or watch can sell for in the second hand marketplace. The most important factor in selling your jewelry is exposing the item to as many buyers, in as many markets as possible. For example, a certain style of brooch may command $10,000 in the US, but a collector in Asia may buy the same brooch for $15,000 or more. With Fortuna, we expose your jewelry to an extensive pool of bidders all over the world, giving you an opportunity to make the most money.

What is resale versus retail?

When an item is bought in a retail environment, such as a brick and mortar storefront or an online store, there are many costs included in the price. The seller of the item has to pay for inventory, rent, insurance, marketing, employees, etc. It is common for retailers to mark up the jewelry price 100%–200% over their cost of the item, especially for big brand retailers. Resale is what a secondhand piece of jewelry or watch will sell for in a non-retail environment. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to sell a piece of jewelry for the same price it was bought for. There are certain exceptions though.

Can I visit your office?

Of course! We are located on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, from 10am-6pm. We only ask that you call us in advance to schedule an appointment. Our number is 212-389-9040

Do I have to consign a piece with Fortuna if you do a valuation?

No, our valuations are free and you are not obliged to consign with us thereafter. Please see the free valuation page to submit photos of items you wish to have valuated.

Do I need to send my jewelry to you?

If you are only interested in understanding what your jewelry is worth in a fair market, we can usually give you an idea after seeing pictures. If you want to consign in an auction, however, we will need to have your jewelry in our office. We need to properly photograph and catalog the jewelry, as well as show the items to potential buyers. There is no need to worry, as your jewelry is fully insured from the moment it is picked up by FedEx. When the jewelry is in our office, it is stored in our high security vaults in our secured office.

Why not sell to a local jeweler or jewelry buyer?

Local jewelers usually don’t have access to a global buyer pool like we do. The greater the number of potential bidders that see your jewelry, the more likely it will sell, and at higher prices. Another important thing to consider is that when another party is buying your jewelry outright, the lower they are able to buy your jewelry for, the more money they can make when they sell it. Because we work on a buyer commission structure, naturally it is our mission to sell your jewelry for as much as possible, as the more money you make, the more money we make.

How do I send my jewelry to you?

We will make arrangements with FedEx for an insured pick-up of your items. We will email you a shipping label that you can affix to your packed box. If you need further instructions on shipping or packing, feel free to call us for assistance.

How often do auctions take place?

Fortuna generally hosts auctions every month that offer fine jewelry and watches. Twice a year, Fortuna will also offer its signature sales during the Summer and Fall seasons. These sales are typically larger in size, and offer jewelry and watches of heightened significance and rarity. If you are interested in consigning items to one of Fortuna’s monthly or signature sales, please do not hesitate to contact our office.    

What happens if my items don’t sell?

We can ship them back to you if you wish, or if seller and auction house agree to try again, we can sell through other channels, such as a private sale. You also have the option of trying to sell the piece again in an upcoming auction.

Do you purchase jewelry outright if I don’t want to wait for an auction?

Yes, we do buy many types of jewelry, from single items to entire estates. Many of our clients would like to sell their jewelry in a faster, more discreet method and prefer outright sale. After we evaluate your jewelry in our office, we present a fair market offer and if accepted we give you a check immediately.

Is my jewelry fully insured?

Your jewelry is fully insured from the moment it is picked up by FedEx. When the jewelry is in our office, it is stored in our high security vaults in our secured office.

Do I need to pay for insurance?

No, we do not charge you any insurance fees.

I registered to bid, why is my registration still pending?

When you register to bid in a sale you will get an e-mail asking you for your Credit Card information and Photo ID– the e-mail is not always automatic and may take some time to receive, and be sure to check your spam folder.  Once we have received your documents we will charge you a one time fee to confirm that your credit card works: once it is processed it will be immediately refunded and your registration approved.

We do this to prevent fraudulent bids.

Is there a fee to register to bid in an auction?

There is not. However, if you win, you will pay a buyer’s commission. It’s how the auction house can continue to bring you great jewelry.

What if the item I won is not as I expected? Do I still have to pay?

An auction bid is a binding contract. It is the duty of buyer to inspect the lot BEFORE placing bids, or request additional photos, details, measurements, and a condition report. However, if we made an error in cataloging the item, we do not hold you responsible for the purchase.

What if the piece I buy is damaged?

All lots are sold “as is,” meaning that if a piece came to us with wear and tear (as often older pieces do), that’s how we sell it. We take extensive photos of the items before auction, and we always recommend that buyers request additional condition reports and photos. However, if you believe the piece was damaged in shipping, please contact us and we will help resolve the issue.

What is the auction return policy?

Because of the nature of how auction sales are conducted, there is no return policy. Once a submitted bid is won, the buyer is responsible for immediate payment of the item. However, if we made an error in cataloging the item, we do not hold you responsible for the purchase.

Can items be purchased pre auction?

Once an item is consigned to auction, it cannot be purchased before the day of the sale. If you are looking for a certain piece of jewelry, though, we do offer private jewelry sales. We can help you find the right piece to purchase.