By Abigail Summerville
(Reuters) - Privately held U.S. fine jewelry and luxury watch marketplaces Worthy and CIRCA Jewels told Reuters on Thursday they will merge to create a company worth more than $100 million.
The deal comes as a high inflation rate and slowing economy has sent many consumers with tight budgets into the arms of secondhand retailers, such as The RealReal, Poshmark and ThredUp.
Worthy and CIRCA connect sellers and buyers of pre-owned fine jewelry and watches, with Cartier and Rolex being the most-traded signed jewelry and watch brands on the platforms.
The companies said they will continue to operate under their own banners for now. Worthy's Steven Schneider will continue to serve as chief executive officer while CIRCA CEO Oren Schneider will become General Manager.
"You have to have deep product expertise and have a path to create transparency and value and I think we do that better than anyone else in the market, certainly as a combined business," Steven Schneider said in an interview.
Worthy made headlines last year when actress-model Shanna Moakler, the ex-wife of Blink 182 band member Travis Barker, auctioned off her engagement ring for nearly $100,000 on the platform.
The global secondhand luxury goods market rose to 43 billion euros ($45.40 billion) in 2022, with watches and jewelry accounting for a majority of the category showed a report from consultancy Bain & Co.
Worthy's stakeholders include Israeli investment firm Viola Group and the investment division of Israeli insurance company The Phoenix, while CIRCA counts New York venture firm Adama Partners as an investor.
($1 = 0.9471 euros)
(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing)