Timeless appeal: Young generation with an eye for a jewel in the lead at the RDS antique fair

Young buyers under the age of 25 have a growing interest in antique jewellery, according to one of Ireland’s top gemstone experts who has become an online sensation.

The new generation is looking for durable stones and has the knowledge and enthusiasm to compete with astute experienced collectors, according to Matthew Weldon of Courtville Antiques of Dublin.

And much of that is down to the time they’ve found during Covid lockdowns to research their chosen gems.

Weldon has led an online revolution in Irish antique jewelry sales with over 3.4 million likes on TikTok – and also presents the highly popular Gem Pursuit, which is in the top five percent of podcasts worldwide.

He is one of the main exhibitors at Timeless, The Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, returning to Dublin’s RDS today after a two-year hiatus due to Covid.

“The younger market wants to understand things — if I have someone under 25 come to see something, they’ve researched it,” he said.

“They want to be addressed at a pretty high level about the details. They won’t say ‘is this an emerald?’ – they go in search of its origin and its treatment.

“Before the lockdown, young people would go in and buy the easiest engagement ring they could get, but given the forced time to research, they wanted sustainable design classics.

“If I had a whole store full of Edwardian solitaire gold rings I could sell them right now, so is the demand for completely one-off stones – especially emeralds.

“Young people deal with antiques in a completely different way. They want to get to know the piece independently of you, while the more traditional customer is guided by you and the store.

“The demand from our followers for tickets is huge. They love the chance to see such a collection of design classics under one roof,” said Weldon.

“This is the first major physical dealer meeting and nothing beats being physically present and seeing pieces.

“We’re going to do several TikTok lives and Instagram lives and record a podcast episode during the show.”

Courtville Antiques produces three Instagram posts a day, a story every second day, and live videos weekly.

*Ireland’s largest selection of classic pieces that have stood the test of time will be on display at Timeless, the Irish Antique Dealers’ Fair, which runs from today to Sunday.

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