Estate jewelry is an excellent chance to buy antique jewelry that is both stunning and a good financial investment. But in order to benefit from this opportunity, you must be able to identify true vintage items and avoid reproductions and modern variations. How can you do this? Here are five things to look for.
1. Signs of Wear
Any piece of jewelry from prior decades should show at least a little wear and tear. Vintage jewelry may be more of a museum piece now, but it was originally made to be worn. So check for common signs that it's had a long and full life.
2. Trends of the Era
Familiarize yourself with common traits of jewelry and styles in the period of the piece. For instance, modern gem-cutting techniques with many facets are often distinguishable from older and more limited methods of cutting. World War-era gold jewelry was often highly diluted. These and other trends of the time are sometimes significantly different from period to period.
3. Maker Markings
Learn about jewelry markings that identify the materials used, producers, and purity. Gold and silver rings and necklaces will have numerical stamps indicating their karats or percentage of pure metals. Individual manufacturers may also leave their trademark stamps on jewelry. If you're unfamiliar with any markings, research them for authenticity.
4. Realistic Pricing
A good adage to keep in mind is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Unrealistically low pricing for vintage jewelry is often a warning sign that it may not be quite as advertised. If you work with reputable estate jewelry buyers and sellers, you avoid the bulk of this problem. But if you encounter particularly good deals, be sure to ask more questions.
Vintage jewelry is often more unique than modern pieces. After all, most manufacturers were smaller. Styles and tastes were different. And more artisans made custom pieces. Assess how unique the jewelry feels and looks. Items that were not mass-produced should be imperfect. Styles may not match what's common or fashionable today. And it might be whimsical, feature unusual subjects, have a long-forgotten purpose, or even appear to be for different genders.
Where to Learn More
Want to know more about buying authentic, investment-worthy vintage jewelry? Start by meeting with an estate jewelry seller in your area today. By learning what to look for, you can build a collection worthy of your time and money as well as preservation for future generations.