Overwhelmed in Miami

Exploring one of the world’s largest jewellery fairs

A visit to the Original Miami Beach Antique Show is overwhelming – at least that was my first feeling. The name does not do justice to it being the finest and largest jewellery, timepieces, and precious stones offering anywhere in the U.S. at this time of year. 

It is open to the public for five days and if one is seeking an immersion into this continent’s jewellery marketplace, then look no further. This year, it was held at the Miami Beach Convention Centre, bringing together hundreds of the greatest jewellery dealers. Spending time here is not just a lesson in collecting and commerce, it is also an insight into just how vast, multi-layered, multicultural, and sophisticated the buying, selling, and collecting of fine jewellery is in the U.S. 

Fine Jewels. Leonard Joel Auctions
18ct white gold, tanzanite
and diamond earrings

After coming to terms with the scale of the exhibition, my instinct was to walk every aisle at a considerable pace, concerned that I would never see it all if I didn’t. Then, realising this approach would simply leave me blurred, I accepted my fate that I probably couldn’t see it all. So, I flitted from one booth to another, in no particular order, but drawn to colour, the cabinets that seemed brighter, and the ones that were teeming with stock. Add to this the courtesy and enthusiasm that the American people bring to these events, and I found myself enjoying so many conversations that deepened my knowledge of just how complex the art of international jewellery dealing is. 

If such a visit interests you, I have a few tips that might just make your visit a little more meaningful and complete. Firstly, I would suggest mapping, in your own way, how the various traders have inevitably clustered; the loose diamond dealers, the antique jewellery dealers, and the “big” jewellery dealers of signed pieces, just to name a few. Secondly, I would suggest committing to at least two full days at the fair, with a very thorough break in the middle, because put simply, there is just too much to take in. But finally, and most importantly, engage with these hospitable dealers and get ready for a journey of knowledge-sharing, storytelling, and anecdotes from traders with all levels of experience. It is not overstating it to say that these international fairs are time-limited travelling museums, full of character and curiosity.
A visit to one, if the opportunity presents, will not disappoint. 

Chairman / Head of Important Collections

Banner Image: Miami Beach Antique Show at the Convention Center / Alamy

February 2023