Founded just three years ago, Elmwood’s has developed a reputation for dynamic auctioneering. Its young founder, Samuel Hill, had worked in auction houses himself before deciding to create his own online auctioneers, specialising in jewellery and watches. His Notting Hill, London-based business was set up to simplify and demystify a process that can seem daunting to a first-timer.
Since its creation, the company has conducted two online auctions per month, and in addition offers a personal, private sales service for one-to-one consultations and free, no-obligation valuations (they have just moved locally into a larger office and showroom to enable more viewings and events). Signed jewellery does especially well, and fine-jewellery sales attract a diverse selection of clients from around the world, with collectors ranging from established dealers to first-time buyers.
Significantly, Elmwood’s does not charge fees for those wishing to sell through its services, and is committed to the sale of unique high-quality items on a smaller scale, rather than multiple lots of a lesser standard. Its upcoming 5 August sale, for instance, features a 5.34ct solitaire diamond ring, claw-set within a scroll-decorated band (estimated price £50,000-£70,000) and an art deco diamond bracelet in platinum and 18ct white gold (£15,000-£20,000).
Elmwood’s has a relatively young team, each with specific skills; its new consultant director, Janine Furness, former arts editor and Sotheby’s director, attributes much of the company’s success to its contemporary approach and the ability to “pass on the enthusiasm” for its products to clients, and them not wishing to charge the top-end fees of other, older auction houses. “Their level of presentation has also always been important,” she says. “Their photography in particular is incredible.”
This has been an advantage during the recent period of lockdown, when “they were able to carry out client interactions remotely”, keeping overheads low and enabling a “natural flexibility” during the buying and selling processes. And significantly “they were already set up as a dedicated online auctioneer”. Since March, Elmwood’s has carried out 10 auctions, seven of which were live and three timed, which resulted in the sale of 807 lots achieving a hammer total of more than £1.7m.
The company is also rightly proud of its charitable drives, such as a recent auction for the National Emergencies Trust, and its determination to sponsor new jewellery designers, create apprenticeships and fund studio space for the industry’s next generation. “We’d like to talk to people at a younger age,” says Janine, “and appeal to them directly.” Its increased use of social media, too – a fast-growing Instagram presence, for example – will in turn foster the younger demographic that Elmwood’s is hoping to reach.
It is also highly committed to providing as environmentally friendly a service as possible, with its shippers confirmed as having low-carbon footprints and its launch of green packaging. Its new website, due to go live in the autumn, will add to its level of client-oriented service by enabling direct sales and creating a “leaner machine that makes client contact much closer”.
For more information, visit elmwoods.co.uk