Les grands entretiens : Melanie Grant X Benoît Repellin

today11 May 2023

Written by: Claudia Carletti



In this captivating interview, Melanie Grant, Executive Director of the Responsible Jewellery Council and renowned writer, sits down with Benoît Repellin to explore his journey from growing up with an art appraiser father to becoming the Worldwide Head of Jewellery at Phillips, a prestigious auction house.

Their conversation delves into the artistry of jewellery, its impact on the auction world, the evolving trends, and the importance of attracting younger clients. Benoît shared valuable insights and experiences that shed light on this mesmerising world as they discuss jewellery auctions’ past, present, and future.

Childhood and the Artistic Influence

Benoît’s childhood was immersed in art and history due to his father’s profession as an art appraiser. His interest in art and history grew naturally, with auction catalogues filling their home and frequent selling exhibitions. This exposure not only shaped his perception of the world but also ignited a passion for the study of history and art history at university.

Throughout his upbringing, Benoît recognised jewellery as an art form, considering three vital factors: the quality of gemstones (nature), craftsmanship (era-specific), and provenance (historical significance).

Discovering His Calling

At the tender age of 12, Benoît Repellin’s fascination with jewellery auctions sparked. He would closely analyse the jewellery in auction catalogues, sketching his imaginative designs. This unyielding passion for creating art using gemstones set him on a path towards becoming a jewellery specialist.

With his studies in history and art history and completion of a gemmological course, he laid the foundation for a successful career in the auction world.

Ascending in the Auction World

Benoît Repellin’s career journey led him to Phillips, where he started as the Head of Europe and later became the Worldwide Head of Jewellery. With over a decade of experience in the auction industry, he has consistently thrived in his roles.

His work involved developing and investing in various departments, achieving outstanding results, and attracting both trade buyers and private clients.

His experiences highlight the challenges and rewards of working in the auction world, where passion, knowledge, and dedication are vital for success.

Jewellery in the Auction World

Throughout the interview, Mr Repellin emphasises the significance of jewellery in the auction world. While Phillips is primarily known for its focus on 20th and 21st-century contemporary art, it equally values jewellery as a collectable category.

The auction house maintains separate departments for luxury items, including jewellery, recognising its impact on the market.

Jewellery as an Investment

The interview delves into the perception of jewellery as an investment. Benoît Repellin suggests that while buying jewellery can be a promising investment, it is essential to purchase pieces one genuinely admires and enjoys.

He highlights the robust market for signed pieces, coloured diamonds, and historical jewels, indicating that jewellery continues to attract both art collectors and those looking to invest.

Challenges and Opportunities

With the growing interest in jewellery as a collectable category, younger clients, and the influence of technology, the auction world has transformed. The interview explores how COVID-19 further accelerated the adoption of digital platforms in auctions, making them accessible to a wider audience.

Mr Repellin envisions a future where technology coexists with traditional auction experiences, catering to diverse clients.

Trends and Prospects

The conversation touches upon the current and emerging trends in jewellery auctions. While coloured stones, especially coloured diamonds, continue to achieve exceptional results, period jewels from renowned Maisons and unique designs are also gaining traction.

Benoît Repellin expresses optimism for the future and anticipates the return of popularity for 60s and 70s jewellery, as well as the potential resurgence of 80s and 90s pieces.

The Joy of Auctions

The interview concludes with Benoît Repellin sharing his joy of conducting auctions and engaging with clients. He highlights the accessibility of auctions for the public, encouraging potential buyers to experience the thrill of participating in auctions first-hand. Mr Repellin’s passion, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the auction world have made him an invaluable asset in the jewellery industry.


Benoît Repellin’s journey from a childhood immersed in art and history to the pinnacle of the auction world showcases the profound connection between jewellery and the art of storytelling. His insights reveal the enduring allure of jewellery auctions, the evolving market, and the importance of inspiring a new generation of collectors.

As the Worldwide Head of Jewellery at Phillips, he continues to shape the future of jewellery auctions, preserving the essence of artistry and beauty in every precious piece.

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