Authenticated luxury consignment Web site The RealReal has opened its third fine jewelry and watch valuation office at 980 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, following the unveiling last month of a valuation office in Los Angeles. The concept was successfully tested in Manhattan last year.
The RealReal said its large and engaged network of shoppers and consignors in the Midwest will take advantage of the free appraisal service. “Chicago has always been a strong market for us and one with a very established jewelry and watch business,” said Mike Groffenberger, senior director of fine jewelry and watches, adding “2015 was a strong year for watches and jewelry. It was our fastest-growing category. The growth was driven by the concept we unveiled in New York last year.”
A fourth office is planned for San Francisco in June.
The RealReal, which has 4.5 million members, offers a white glove in-home pick-up service for designer fashion in more than 20 cities. Luxury managers visit the homes of potential consignors, decide what’s salable and then turn the merchandise over to authenticators at The RealReal’s offices. Consignors earn 60 percent to 70 percent of the sale price.
The fine watch and jewelry valuation office lets consignors to quickly to find out how much their items are worth. Graduate gemologists and watch experts are available by appointment and provide consignors with a valuation document stating the resale value of their item on TheRealReal.com. The company claims that fine jewelry and watches consigned to The RealReal earn up to two times more than they would if they were sold through other channels.
“What we’re doing through our valuation concept is making fine jewelry and watch pricing more transparent and accessible to consumers, something that has been missing in the market until now,” Groffenberger said.
While the top-selling brands on The RealReal include Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Rolex, unbranded jewelry bought from a local brick-and-mortar jeweler, “can be just as expensive or more expensive than Cartier, according to Groffenberger. The RealReal’s gemologists are equipped to appraise one-off items as well as those from well-known brands, he said.