FAQS | First State Auctions


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FAQ for Online Only auctions - click here

FAQ for LIVE Streaming auctions with auctioneer and Online Bidding - click here

FAQ for traditional room auctions - click here


Please note for all auctions:

1. All lots are subject to a 20% buyers premium.
2. Loyalty Reward Dollars will no longer be earned at auctions.
3. No ring resizing service is offered by First State Auctions.



FAQ for traditional room auctions


Our auctions are open to the public and admission is free. Our professional and friendly team is always available to assist you and will try and make your auction experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. We can assist you with selecting a piece, product information, placing a bid and other aspects associated with the auction.

Frequently Asked Questions - Quick Links:




Viewing and Product Information

Where can I view the items to be auctioned?

We recommend that prospective buyers inspect the goods prior to purchase:

  • Our auction catalogues are available on our website about 10 days prior to the auction with detailed product information, auction details and product images.
  • On the day of the auction, our doors open 2 hours prior to the start of the auction and you are welcome to attend the viewings, inspect the items and speak with our specialist customer service staff, diamond graders and gemologists.
  • Viewing is also available at our Sydney head office by prior appointment.

We suggest that you create an account to receive reminder emails for upcoming auctions in your area.  

Where are the goods from?

Our jewellery and watches are sourced from local and international vendors including: government agencies such as Australian Customs & Border Protection Service, Australian Federal Police, insolvency trustees, manufacturers looking to liquidate stock, importers, private sellers and companies closing down or going bankrupt.  

Are the product descriptions guaranteed?

You can rest assured that all items you purchase from First State Auctions are genuine. First State Auctions is owned and operated by gemologists and diamond graders, and we pride ourselves on ensuring our descriptions are 100% accurate. All products submitted for auction are checked by at least two qualified gem experts before being catalogued. We ensure all diamonds, gemstones, gold and watches are authentic and graded correctly.  

What do the product descriptions “New”, “As New” and “Pre-Owned” mean?

To assist customers in understanding the condition of the items sold, they have been classified based on the following guide:
  • New - The item is new, in excellent condition, and has never been privately owned.
  • As New - The item presents ‘as new’ and is in excellent condition. It could have been displayed in a retail shop or be ‘pre-owned’ and in excellent condition.
  • Pre-Owned – The item has been privately owned. It may have signs of wear (e.g. a scratch) 

What should I consider when buying a diamond?

Every diamond is unique. Each reflects the story of its arduous journey from deep inside the earth to a cherished object of adornment. Yet all diamonds share certain features that allow us to compare and evaluate them These features are called the 4C's. Colour, cut, clarity & carat are the original 4Cs and for more information you can view the GIA videos below. GIA developed the 4Cs and the International Diamond Grading System™, the grading standard adopted by jewellery professionals around the globe. 

What do GIA and GSL mean?

GIA is an abbreviation for The Gemological Institute of America. Established in 1931, GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. A public benefit, nonprofit institute, GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry. GSL is an abbreviation for Gem Studies Laboratory. GSL in Sydney is the Gemmological Association of Australia's endorsed diamond grading laboratory. GSL was started over twenty years ago to meet the demand in Australia for a first-rate diamond laboratory. Today it has become the best known independent diamond certification and gem identification laboratory in Australia.  

Why is a diamond certificate important?

When buying a diamond, a diamond certificate obtaining a diamond certificate is very important. The Certification should be conducted on the loose diamond – it’s the only way to give an accurate grading. This way the setting is not obstructing the measuring of important information that make up the value of the stone. The laboratory should also be independent of any retail or wholesale business. Diamond grading is subjective, some laboratories standards of what is a “D” colour or what is a “VVS1” clarity are much lower than others. First State Auctions recommends GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for internationally graded diamonds and GSL (Gem Studies Laboratory) for Australian graded diamonds. We have regularly found other internationally known laboratories to grade diamonds up to 2 grades of colour and/or 2 grades of clarity higher than GIA or GSL. That means the stone you are buying as a VS1 and E colour with a less reputable laboratory, for example, could be graded by GIA or GSL as SI1 and G colour – this makes a big difference to the value and price you should be paying for your diamond. We come across many professional-looking laboratory certificates, which we believe do not represent the correct grading of the diamond. These are genuine laboratories, but are not endorsed by the Gemmological Association of Australia or internationally renowned. They are not GIA, even though some may sound like GIA to the uninitiated. We will send diamonds graded by these laboratories to the GIA or GIA laboratories to receive a true grading. So, our advice is buy diamonds that have a reputable, recognised and trusted diamond certificate to ensure that you get what you are paying for!  

Are the gemstones natural?

At First State Auctions, we only sell natural gemstones and cultured pearls. While some gemstones may have been improved through industry-accepted treatments such as heat treatment, we don't sell laser-drilled or fracture-filled diamonds, or lead glass-filled rubies. It’s about quality, naturally.  

Do all the pieces of jewellery come with a certificate?

Not all items have a certificate. Diamonds over 1/2 carat in size usually come with a laboratory certificate from highly regarded industry renowned organisations like GIA or GSL. Most other jewellery with an auction estimate of more than AUD 3,000 will have a certificate from an independent gemmologist. If an item has certification it will be stated in the catalogue description and the certificate will be included along with the images of the item. All items, regardless of whether they have a certificate, are inspected by our experts and First State Auctions guarantee the authenticity.  

Are there any warranties on watches?

First State Auctions provides its own 3 month limited warranty on “pre-owned” and “as-new” watches purchased at FSA auctions.

For “new” watches, FSA provides its own limited warranty for the period stated in the catalogue description.

The hands and watch movement are the only components covered under the limited warranty.

This is a limited warranty and does not include:

  • Ageing and wear and tear from normal use.
  • Damage resulting from improper handling, negligence, accidents, tampering or incorrect use of the watch.
  • Any external damage to the product.
  • Change of battery.
  • Any loss of stones or gems on the outer portion of the watch or watch face.
  • Moisture damage to a watch not marked water resistant.
  • Any damage that occurs as a result of a water resistant watch being used under conditions which exceed the watch manufacturer’s water resistance guidelines.
  • Water damage caused to a water resistant watch where the crown is not screwed down.

Please note that any modifications or 3rd party repairs will void the warranty.

Warranty on watches shipped to destinations outside Australia:

  • All watches shipped to destinations outside Australia are covered by the above warranty on condition that the watch is returned to First State Auctions Head Office.
  • All return costs to Head Office including shipping charges, customs, duties and other related costs will be for the buyer's expense plus all similar costs associated with the return of the watch from Head Office to the customer.


Do you take submissions to sell jewellery and watches from the public?

Yes, we accept submissions to sell fine jewellery and watches from the general public.

  • Click here for Vendor frequently asked questions (FAQ).
  • Complete the Selling Jewellery Form if you are interested in selling your Fine Jewellery or Swiss Watch.
  • Click here to learn more about why you should consider selling your jewellery at auction.

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Do I need to register for a room auction?

Before you are able to bid in a room auction, you will need to register.

You can register when you attend the auction or can save time and pre-register online.

All bidders are required to register their name, address and contact details. If attending a room auction you will need to provide a photo id at registration. When this is complete, you will be handed a bidding card with your own bidding number for use in the auction room.  

Why do I need to show my ID at registration?

The auction is a secure environment and in the best interest of FSA and its customers, we aim to maintain the highest level of security and integrity. 

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How do I bid in the auction room?

Bidding in the auction room is really quite simple and nothing to fear. You can simply raise your hand or your bidding card, or you may prefer to call out your bid. The auctioneer also accepts many commonly used hand signals and he will describe these in the introduction at the beginning of the auction. The auction is a relaxed process and if there’s any doubt, we will always ask you to confirm whether your bid is intentional. Our auctioneers have many years’ experience and at First State Auctions we like to keep things fun and accessible for all.  

What if I can’t be at the auction, can I still bid?

Yes, we offer 3 additional ways to bid if you cannot attend the room auction:

  • Live Online Bidding: With this type of bid you participate in the live auction as though you were present. It allows you to bid online from the comfort of your home (or on the go) and includes live video streaming of the auctioneer. Pre-auction competitive bidding and maximum bidding is also available. Click here to view upcoming auctions where live online bidding is available.     
  • Telephone bids: With this type of bid you participate in the live auction as though you were present. An experienced staff member will phone you from the auction room just prior to your indicated lot going up for auction and will bid on your behalf. Once bidding begins, we will keep you informed as the bids progress and ask you at each stage if you wish to continue bidding. This will carry on until you are successful, or tell us that you want to stop bidding.
  • Maximum bids: With this type of bid you provide us with instructions about the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the particular lot in question. Your bid is left with the auctioneer and executed on your behalf using up the amount required to knock out any competition during the sale and against any reserve price (if applicable).This doesn’t always mean that you will pay the maximum – if the auction activity is at a lower level on the day you may get the item for less. If room bids go above your maximum bid then your absentee bid will be unsuccessful. Your maximum bid must always be in Australian Dollars (AUD) and exclude the buyer’s premium. Online registration for absentee bidding closes 3 hours prior to the start of the auction. Please speak to staff at the front desk to register for absentee bidding on the auction day.  

What are the price guides or auction estimates?

An “Auction Estimate” is a guide to what an item might sell for at auction, based on what similar items have sold for at previous auctions and current market conditions. Auction Estimates relate to auction prices, not retail prices (which are typically considerably higher). In other words, an auction estimate gives an indication of the auction value of an item. These are not inflated prices, but aim to be a realistic guide. Any item can of course sell for less or more than the auction estimate, depending on the interest on the day.

Please ask our friendly staff for the price guides for any items you are interested in.  

Do the auctions have reserves?

Some items may have reserves. If there is a reserve, it will always be less than or equal to the price guide (auction estimates). Reserves are confidential between the vendor and auctioneer.  

What is the buyer’s premium?

First State Auctions, like all other traditional auction houses, charges a buyer’s premium. The fee is charged by us to cover administrative expenses associated with conducting the auction. The buyer’s premium goes directly to the auction house and not to the seller. The standard buyer’s premium at First State Auctions is 20% and is one of the lowest in the industry. A buyer’s premium is charged on all items purchased at First State Auctions and this 20% must be added to the hammer price. It forms part of the total invoice amount that is paid by the winning bidder. The buyer’s premium is not negotiable. Example: If you bid $1000 with the auctioneer and he declares the item sold to you (hammer price), you will then pay a further 20% buyer’s premium on top of this. So your final invoice amount will be: $1000 + $200 = $1200

Is the GST included in the price?

Yes, it is. A tax invoice is issued with your purchase, and people travelling overseas from Australia may be able to reclaim the GST on the items purchased subject to Australian Customs regulations. GST on the buyer’s premium may not be eligible for a customs refund.  

Where does the auctioneer start the bidding?

The auctioneer will start the bidding according to either a verbal or hand signal offer in the room, on behalf of an absentee bidder, or below the reserve (if applicable). The auctioneer may reject an opening bid if he feels it is not in the best interest of the vendor. Typically the auctioneer will look for a starting bid of at least 40% of the price guide (auction estimate). 

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How Do I Pay For My Successful Bid

How do I calculate what I have to pay?

If you are the successful bidder, the amount you will have to pay is calculated based on the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium of 20%. Example: If you bid $1000 with the auctioneer and he declares the item sold to you (hammer price), you will then pay a further 20% buyer’s premium on top of this. So your final invoice amount will be: $1000 + $200 = $1200

I am at an auction and have been successful in my bid. What happens next?

About 15 minutes after you finish bidding, you can proceed to our invoicing desk. You can either choose to pay in full and take the item away on the day, or pay a minimum of 20% deposit with the balance to be paid within 5 working days.  

What are the payment options?

We have plenty of payment options including:

  • Cash
  • Credit card - American Express, Visa, MasterCard, China Union (no surcharge on all credit cards)
  • Bank transfer
  • BPAY
  • Bank Cheque
  • Cheque (with photo id)
  • International Telegraphic Transfers

If you want to take the goods with you on the day of the auction, you will need to pay for the goods in full by cash, EFTPOS and/or credit card.

All other payment methods have a clearance time and the goods can be picked up in our Sydney Head Office or will be sent by secure courier when the payment has been cleared.

Is there a surcharge for credit card payments?

There is no surcharge on credit card payments. If your credit card is from overseas, we do not charge any extra ‘overseas’ fees – however you may need to check with your credit card company directly to see if they have any.  

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Collection/Delivery of Goods

Where can I collect the items I have purchased?

For pick up of jewellery on the day, after paying for your items, please proceed to our “Collections Desk”. Goods that are paid for in full by cash or credit card can be collected from the auction on the same day. Goods where a 20% deposit is paid, won by absentee bid, where payment requires clearing or that require re-sizing can be picked up in our Sydney head office or will sent by secure delivery/courier to you for a nominal fee.  

Delivery of goods

When goods are to be delivered to you from First State Auctions Head Office, we use secure couriers with tracking of packages.

  • We offer complimentary Worldwide shipping (fully insured).
  • A contactless "Click & Collect" service is available from our Head office in Sydney with prior appointment.
  • All delivery methods require signature on delivery by the consignee.
  • We can arrange for international delivery. For all purchases requiring shipping from Australia the purchaser shall be fully responsible for all customs clearance charges, duties, taxes and other charges in their respective countries. Australian GST will be removed from the purchase price.

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After the auction

Can I buy after the auction?

If an item has been ‘passed in’ or ‘referred’ then it may be possible to purchase the item after the auction. The Auction Manager may be able to help with a sale on the day itself, or you can contact our office the next day. Remember, we’re not hoarders! Our goal is to sell these items, so will assist where we can. Please note that offers will only be accepted for amounts higher than the referred or passed in values.  

Can I change my mind on an item already purchased?

No. At First State Auctions, like other auctions, all bids are final. You need to inspect potential purchases thoroughly and evaluate your priorities prior to bidding.  

How do I find out about the next auction?

You can register online now and we’ll let you know when we are holding an auction near you. If you are at an auction, simply advise us of your email address at registration. Upcoming auctions are also displayed on our website. 

Are the auction catalogues online?

Yes. You can view our photo catalogues online approximately ten days prior to the auction date at www.firststateauctions.com.au.  

If I need to, who can I contact after the auction?

If you need additional information or assistance, please contact us by phone on 1300 650 072 (office hours), live chat on our website or email jewels@firststateauctions.com.au  

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Do the auctions have a dress code?


While we are quite relaxed with the dress code, the general rule of thumb is no singlets, beachwear, or clothing with offensive images or slogans. Footwear is required.

Can I take photographs of the auction?

Sorry, photography is not permitted at First State Auctions.

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