Story Sellers: How the Power of Narrative Adds Value to Fine Jewelry

Invisible properties of objects can add as much value to fine jewelry as design, craftsmanship, and materialsSignificant Objects, a literary and anthropological experiment Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn devised three years ago, took products from charity stores—an Elvis chocolate tin and a fortune-telling device, for example—and infused them with context, background, and purpose. The results: Objects that came with a story attached attracted prices far greater than their story-free counterparts. A “Hawk” ashtray rose from its original price of $2.99 to $101 at auction because of a tale that revealed Pentagon technocrats wore tie tacks when there was a new weapon in the works. “If you couldn’t get the über-geeks to wear your tie tack, your project wasn’t going to get off the ground,” wrote William Gibson in the piece’s accompanying tale. “You had to demonstrate that your
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