Naz Kadaoghlanian, Fine Jewellery & Watch Specialist at First State Auctions
Naz Kadaoghlanian leads the Vendor Team at First State Auctions (FSA). He has been the Head of Jewellery & Watches at FSA for the past 16 years. Naz’s Vendor Team handles all aspects associated with the sale of fine jewellery and watches at auction on behalf of private and commercial vendors making the entire process easy and pleasurable.
Can you tell us about your background in jewellery?
Jewellery was my fascination since childhood. While growing up I always looked in jewellers’ windows and liked making things. I will never forget graduating from primary school when the principal asked "what do you want to be in the future?" Everyone else came forward and said "architect" or "doctor", but I said "jeweller".
During summer holidays I went to work for a diamond dealer where I learned to sort the clarity, colour and cut of diamonds. This experience was invaluable and amazing. After leaving school, I went on to train as a goldsmith jeweller and that is where my career as a jewellery specialist started really taking shape.
You’ve had a lot of international experience in jewellery, what insight has that given you?
Growing up in the Mediterranean region gave me the opportunity to work in European countries such as Switzerland in the company of the world’s best jewellers. My family established a watch and jewellery company, based in Geneva, where I ran the jewellery department for several years. These were exciting times.
My 40-year career has given me tremendous insights into jewellery trends and different global markets. Through the passing of time I have experienced many changes in jewellery styles and consumer buying habits. One observation that has emerged is the rise in demand for brand names, as buyers seek quality and prestige. While fashions change and technology has recently started to creep into the industry, there will always be a strong demand for fine jewellery and watches.
What does your role as a specialist assessor involve?
I take this role very seriously and take many factors into account before making a considered assessment. Having items professionally assessed and valued is critical to build trust with auction buyers. In today’s world replicas are everywhere and can be very deceptive to the undiscerning buyer. It is vital that FSA ensures that each lot is described accurately in our auction catalogues and accordingly each item we accept for auction is “put under the microscope” to ensure its authenticity. With the watches we auction, FSA always inspects the interior mechanisms as well as the case, to ensure that a brand-name watch is genuine. Whatever is in the catalogue description is guaranteed, because we’ve done our homework … our customers have learned to trust us and rely on our guaranteed descriptions so they can buy with confidence.
For diamonds, FSA uses internationally recognised grading systems and certification such as GIA reports (Gemological Institute of America) and GSL (Gem Studies Laboratory) based in Australia. I have a Diploma in Diamond Grading and use this formal knowledge coupled with my extensive experience every time an assessment is conducted.
When it comes to gemstones, evaluation is also about experience. Decades of touching, assessing and comparing gemstones have further honed my skills, so I can price appropriately.
How important are auctions when it comes to jewellery and fine watch sales?
At auction, vendors always achieve the best prices for their jewellery as there are numerous motivated buyers wanting your item and vigorously competing against each other to secure it. In this sense, the auction environment is the best forum to determine the market value for an item at the point where the seller and the buyer’s expectations meet. With the Covid-19 pandemic, many retail shops are also closed and auction can be the only way to sell jewellery.
At First State Auctions, we have 100,000+ registered members from all over Australia - a much wider audience than many individual vendors can reach on their own. FSA conducts Fine Jewellery and Swiss Watch auctions every week and are able to sell multiple lots very quickly. For one of our vendors, we recently managed to sell 600 pieces of fine jewellery within a couple of months – he was totally delighted with the outcome.
What are your own favourite jewels, and are there any very special pieces you remember?
For me, anything that is made by someone is a creation. That’s how I look at jewellery. I appreciate that people put their time in to creating something. I always say that what a jeweller is doing is presenting what nature created. We are putting the gold and gemstones together from nature, and creating a luxurious and beautiful item. My favourite gemstone is sapphire because of its beauty and the strength of the stone.
One of my most memorable sales was to a Middle Eastern buyer. We were asked to supply two diamond tennis necklaces - one metre, and one metre ten centimetres - to a jeweller in Bahrain. Each diamond was 25 points and there were three diamonds per centimetre, so that’s a lot of points. I asked the jeweller why he needed such specific measurements.
It turned out that they were a present for the Emir’s favourite camels. Six months to make handmade diamond tennis necklaces for camels! This is a stand out memory, but of course through my extensive experience I have been fortunate to be surrounded by many jewels of distinction.
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