Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yet Another Asset Class: Jewelry

Our New England edition of The Wall Street Journal had to add a couple of pages to the Marketplace section today. One of the filler articles (not visible online, apparently) is "Jewelry Gets Advisers' Attention."
Stocks and bonds might be the most valuable items in an investor's portfolio, but they're not always the most precious. Large Wall Street brokerages, private banks and boutique wealth-management firms . . . are expanding their services to help the well-heeled manage jewelry collection that can run from thousands to millions of dollars apiece.
Jewelry is selling for record prices. At Christie's last fall, actress Ellen Barkin sold the rocks and baubles her ex-husband had given her for more than $20 million.

Ellen Barkin's topaz, ruby and diamond ear pendents,
mounted in silver and 18k rose gold,
sold at Christie's for $710,400.

The Journal calls attention to some financial-planning problems jewelry can provoke. Disputes over which daughter gets the diamond bracelet, of course. Some buyers need reminding that expensive jewels require special insurance coverage. Gift tax issues may arise if valuable baubles are given to daughters or granddaughters.

How does the estate-tax auditor know grandmother gave away an emerald ring? It was still listed on her insurance rider!

No comments: