High Value Home Insurance

2024 valuation trends for collectors

2024 valuation trends: Gold, diamonds, jewellery and whisky

In a recent survey*, NFU Mutual found that 6 in 10 High-Net-Worth Individuals consider themselves to be collectors. Whether or not you believe you are a collector, over the years you may have accumulated some beautiful items in your home, from antique jewellery or precious watches, to designer handbags or a cellar full of fine wine or whisky. 

It can be easy to underestimate the value of such possessions, especially if you haven’t had them valued recently, and don’t closely follow market trends. 

Understanding the importance of accurate valuations is crucial as it serves as a safeguard against potential underinsurance, which means that the amount you’re covered for by your insurance is less than the cost of replacing or repairing your precious items. 

NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance is specifically designed to cover high-value homes with contents over £150,000.

We work with trusted valuation partners who can, for a fee, provide a valuation of your belongings. Here they share five emerging trends that may affect the value of your collections:

Gold as a safe haven

Over the past ten years, the price of gold per ounce has doubled, to £1,601 at the time of writing according to Bullion By Post, the UK’s no.1 online bullion dealer.

Mark Smith, Managing Director at valuation specialists Quastel Associates, explains: “The main reason gold is at an all-time high is instability in the world. The wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and previously, the pandemic too. People move away from stocks and shares and property and move to safe commodities. This not only affects clients’ gold bullion and coins, but those who have gold content in jewellery.”

Mark says that his team regularly see clients who have not updated the valuation of gold for a long time. This oversight has the potential to result in instances of underinsurance should a claim need to be made.

Lab-grown diamonds may lose their sparkle

Lab-grown diamonds - which are physically identical to their natural counterparts – have become increasingly popular in recent years.

As well as their affordability, the rise of lab-grown diamonds is indicative of a broader trend toward sustainable and ethical practices in the jewellery industry. 

Annabell Parry, jewellery specialist at Doerr Dallas Valuations, expects demand for lab-grown diamonds to continue, as technology advances and consumers prioritise ethical considerations.

But, she explains, the gulf between these synthetic stones and the real thing is growing wider: “While lab-grown diamonds are generally more affordable than their natural counterparts, the price difference has become more pronounced. Over the last two years, the value of these stones has dropped while natural diamonds are keeping their value.”

Annabell says that there is limited resale value for lab-grown diamonds. “Many auction houses will not take them and many of the large fine jewellery houses will not sell them”, she says.

She adds: “While high-quality natural diamonds have been known to retain their value, lab diamonds are far less predictable. That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure your natural diamonds are properly certified.”

The emerging popularity of men’s jewellery

Men's luxury fine jewellery is an emerging market. Louis Vuitton, the world’s biggest luxury brand, launched its first fine jewellery collection aimed primarily at men at the start of 2024, following the launch, just months earlier, of “Tiffany Men's” by Tiffany & Co. collection.

Among classic men’s jewellery, cufflinks will always be in style, says Liz Bailey, Jewellery & Watches Specialist at Doerr Dallas Valuations: “As a rule, cufflinks that retain and increase in value are those by well-known and revered makers. Cartier produced an exceptional array of fine cufflinks and dress sets from the early 20th century onwards. These cufflinks are amongst the most sought-after at auction, with diamond-set examples selling for in excess of £52,000.” 

Liz adds: “Particularly stylish and useful are the ‘interchangeable’ or ‘baton’ cufflinks that were introduced by Cartier in the 1960s and also produced by celebrated jewellers such as André Vassort, Boucheron, and Van Cleef & Arpels. These wonderful cufflinks have become increasingly sought-after in the last couple of years”.

She says that given the jewellery market is ever-changing, and values are increasing all the time, it’s essential to consider a comprehensive valuation of your items to ensure adequate cover and peace of mind.

The whisky boom and ‘lost distilleries’

The record for the world’s most expensive bottle of whisky was broken last year, after a bottle of Macallan 1926 went for £2.1m at a Sotheby’s auction in London.

It was a big moment in a market that has been gathering momentum in recent years.

While the market in rare whiskies wasn’t quite as buoyant in 2023 as it had been in previous years, it remains an exciting time for collectors.

Mark at Quastel Associates says: “It comes down to a few magical things that affect value: age, rarity, the distillery and importantly it’s also about brand, such as Macallan.”

Mark explains that much of the current buzz is centred around the revival of so-called ‘lost or ghost distilleries’, which long ago ceased production. Among them is Port Ellen, which closed in 1983, but is set to re-open to much excitement among collectors after an investment from Diageo. “Bottles will be in high demand and will almost certainly sell out,” Mark says.

Luxury brand premiums and waiting lists for jewellery, watches and handbags

Premium and luxury brands in markets including jewellery, watches and handbags are creating great exclusivity around the items they sell.

While in the past, if you had the means, you could simply buy a luxury watch or piece of jewellery, nowadays luxury brands tightly control supply, with waiting lists and the expectation of a pre-existing relationship with a buyer.  

This can lead to strong second-hand demand. For example, luxury watches might fetch prices far higher than their retail price. And bidding on a pre-loved handbag may be the only way to get hold of the most exclusive models.

Mark says: “For you to be offered certain watches at the very high end, you need to have bought certain items from that jeweller, built up a relationship with them, and then you’ll possibly be lucky enough to be offered a chance to buy the most desirable and exclusive items.”

The importance of regular valuations

Whether you collect watches or whisky is more to your taste, make sure you have your collection valued on a regular basis, as valuations can go up or down depending on market trends and you could find yourself underinsured if something were to happen to them.

As part of our NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance we work with trusted partners who can, for a fee, provide a valuation for your belongings.

NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance is specially designed to cover high-value homes and contents which can be tailored around you and your lifestyle to help give you the peace of mind that your most valuable possessions are in safe hands.


*Of 1000 people surveyed by NFU Mutual, January 2024.