Meet Samantha Dunn-Davies

18 August 2020

Samantha Dunn-Davies MRICS FGA DGA

Jewellery and Watches Specialist, London

Before lockdown, Bellmans launched a brand new London office, nestled in the heart of Mayfair opposite Claridges. The exciting new space is run by our Jewellery and Watches Specialist, Samantha Dunn-Davies, who also supports our fabulous team of jewellery specialists in the Sussex and Winchester salerooms.

Samantha is currently meeting with clients at the London office (either face-to-face, or in virtual meeting rooms) but has also been travelling the country making home visits to anyone feeling a little nervous about venturing into central London for valuations. She’s on the hunt for gold, which is currently fetching sky-high prices, along with antique diamonds, which are doing very well at auction thanks to their synthetic cousins, which have flooded the market: Certain modern-cut and premium clarity diamonds aren’t as buoyant as they used to be, because there’s been an infiltration of synthetics. But the traditional old-cut diamonds are doing extremely well, because people know they’re genuine.” Natural pearls are also thriving, with even damaged items selling at high prices: “We recently sold one set of certificated pearls for £8,500 hammer even though the surfaces of some pearls were peeling.”

For hidden treasures, Sam recommends carefully considering neglected jewellery boxes, where secrets might be tucked away: “It’s usually a relations jewellery, which people don’t realise the value of. It could be a sapphire necklace, or a diamond ring, which is just put away in a jewellery box and disregarded, simply because it might not look very modern. But they’re very saleable.” For example, Bellmans recently discovered a very small Andrew Grima gold and diamond set brooch which sold for £1,900 - “Grima was a society jeweller working in the 1960s and 70s, and he favoured highly original, abstract designs. It’s a very collectable piece of jewellery.”

With over two decades of auction house and industry experience, Sam has a canny eye for classic timepieces - but having worked for some of the top global auction houses, her expertise reaches beyond the wrist. Before joining Bellmans, she led a valuation team at a Jewellery and Fine Art finance company both in London and New York, where she spent a decade regulating all assets for open market purposes. She started her career at Philips, merging with Bonhams in 2000 as their Head of Department of European and Oriental Costume and Textiles. Samantha later joined Christie’s as Head of Sale for European Costume and Textiles, before training in jewellery at the Bonhams valuations department in London.

Samantha is a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, and a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, where she served on the Arts and Antiques Faculty Board from 2003 until 2011.

For at-home and online valuations of antique jewellery and watches, get in touch with Sam today. [email protected]