From having a natural ability for spotting gems to making Forbes 30 Under 30 and becoming a leading authority on signed, antique, and vintage jewelry in Portugal—Meet Hult alum António A. Amante from our Bachelor of Business Administration Class of 2015. Read on to learn about how he achieved his success.
Congratulations on your incredible achievement! How did you make it happen?
My path to scoring this achievement has been a mix of passion for my trade and a knack for finding hidden gems that resonate with gem collectors and connoisseurs. My journey spans three continents—New York, Miami, London, Lisbon, Paris, Bangkok, and Shanghai, and it’s given me a unique global perspective on luxury. With my background in art and antiques, I’ve built connections with diverse clients, from celebrities to dedicated collectors. Over the years, I’ve been privileged to work with rare diamonds, gemstones, fine jewelry, and luxury watches—buying, selling, and appraising them. Coupled with my solid academic foundation, I have emerged as a leading authority on signed, antique, and vintage jewelry within Portugal.
Since graduating, what have you been doing?
I jumped right into the world of antiques, fine jewelry, and luxury watches. My main focus is curating exceptional pieces, building relationships, and keeping up with trends in the market. I specialize in those hard-to-find, signed pieces from iconic makers like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co, Graff, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and more.
My passion for learning has taken me to some prestigious places like Christie’s Education, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Portuguese Government’s official appraiser program, L’Ecole by Van Cleef & Arpels, and the UK’s National Association of Jewellers. These educational experiences provided me with deep knowledge of art and antiques, sharpening my skills and broadening my experience. I also graduated as one of the top alums in the Portuguese government’s valuers program.
In my professional journey, I started as a sales consultant at HaXon Garden. Soon after, I earned a promotion to become a valuer and buyer for a prestigious antique jeweler located in the historic Burlington Arcade. This experience laid the groundwork for establishing my own UK-based company in late 2019. However, when the pandemic hit, I made the decision to align my efforts with Espadim 1985, a family venture in the luxury sector. This move allowed me to combine my passion for business and lead Espadim 1985’s expansion into Portugal.
I’ve emerged as a leading authority on signed, antique, and vintage jewelry within Portugal.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I meticulously research and catalog, connect with fellow enthusiasts, and build relationships with new clients. The pieces we acquire come to us through various channels; some are discovered through our shops or social media, while others require us to venture into international auctions, trade shows, street fairs, or even visit clients’ homes.
When it comes to dealing with luxury items, learning is just as crucial as selling. Every day brings new pieces, each with a unique story. These jewels require a sharp eye for identification, precise cataloging, and a commitment to sharing them with the world. I pay attention to the brands, makers, historical periods, rarity, provenance, condition, desirability, and authenticity—every detail matters. In many ways, you could say I’m like a detective, uncovering rare and special treasures.
In many ways, you could say I’m like a detective, uncovering rare and special treasures.
Are you on the career path you always wanted to be on?
Absolutely! I’ve been captivated by gems, watches, and antiques for as long as I can remember, and it’s more than just a hobby; it’s become a way of life. Thanks to my time at Hult, I gained the business know-how to turn my passion into a successful venture. Now, I’m excited to bring together my love for luxury with the practical expertise I’ve acquired.
What skills from Hult did you take that you still use today?
A combination of both professional and technical skills. From thinking strategically and pragmatically to having effective communication abilities and a broad international perspective. And practicing theoretical knowledge set me up to hit the ground running the moment I left Hult. These skills are essential for navigating the constantly changing international luxury market.
Thanks to my time at Hult, I gained the business know-how to turn my passion into a successful venture.
Why did you choose to study at Hult?
Hult’s focus on practical learning, global gatherings, and connecting with diverse students aligns with my belief that genuine growth and understanding come from immersing oneself in different cultures and perspectives. Hult’s collaborative atmosphere gave me the platform to polish my skills and carve out my career path.
How have you utilized the Hult network?
The Hult network has played a pivotal role in opening up opportunities for me. Collaborating with fellow alumni who share my passion for luxury has resulted in prosperous ventures and partnerships. Beyond that, whenever I’ve entered new and unfamiliar markets for work, my connections from Hult have always been there to offer help or make introductions that helped me navigate the intricacies of each market.
This network serves as an interactive platform for exchanging insights across various industries. Through discussions, collaborations, and events, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge that has influenced how I work. Hopefully, in return, I’ve been able to contribute and assist others as well!
The Hult network has played a pivotal role in opening up opportunities for me.
What’s your advice to incoming Hult students to make the most of their experience?
Fully embrace the life-changing experience Hult has to offer. Chat with your classmates, do extracurricular activities, and take advantage of the global connections Hult offers. If you’ve already found your calling, use this time to upskill. Your time at Hult is a blank canvas ready for you to build your future and find your purpose.
What’s next for you?
To ensure ongoing business growth and find creative ways to reach more people. The Espadim 1985 store is my focus. We aim to make it a worldwide leader when it comes to signed, antique, and vintage fine jewelry. We want to steadily climb the luxury hierarchy, acquiring increasingly rare and distinctive pieces that captivate collectors. As we expand, we hope to attract a wide range of customers which will lead to greater financial and reputational rewards.
Another goal is to become the first antique dealer to set up shop on Portugal’s most prestigious avenue, Avenida da Liberdade, which is considered the epicenter of luxury. Here, we’ll provide timeless and carefully selected pieces.
Do you also want to grow your career portfolio and make an impact in any industry? Download Hult’s Bachelor of Business Administration brochure.