A Few Pointers on Buying Vintage Jewelry
Vintage jewelry can be just the right accessory for an evening gown or add some glitz to jeans and a T-shirt. A quality piece will not only add to your wardrobe, it can be a financial investment. If you want to add vintage jewelry to your collection, but aren’t sure how to pick out a quality piece, here are some pointers on buying vintage jewelry.
What is Vintage Jewelry?
The terms antique and vintage have specific definitions. Vintage jewelry is generally accepted as pieces made from the 1940s to the 1980s. When referring to antique jewelry, collectors are generally referring to jewelry that is at least 100 years old.
Where to Find Vintage Jewelry
You don’t have to go to special auctions to find great and unique pieces of vintage jewelry. If you’ve done your research, you can find treasures at garage sales, estate sales, pawn shops, and jewelry stores. If you are shopping at a retail store, ask the seller if he or she is a certified gemologist or belongs to a gemological association. These will be experts in jewelry and although they may sell pieces at a higher price, they will have more information to give you about the piece.
Know the Designers and Styles
Research jewelry styles for the last 100 years or for a specific style you are interested in before shopping. This way you will better be able to identify true vintage jewelry, when it was made, and possibly even its designer. Become familiar with the jewelry makers of the time and look for their marks on the jewelry. High-end vintage jewelry makers included Haskell, Schiaparelli, and Eisenberg, while more moderate pieces included makers such as Kramer and Weiss. Several websites can help you in this research including IllusionJewels.com and MorningGloryJewelry.com which has photos of vintage jewelry maker marks.
Examine the Entire Piece
You want to examine the condition of the piece and look for any repairs or damaged stones. Look at it from all angles, from the top, bottom, and all around the sides. Signs of a poor repair or condition can include obvious soldering, bent prongs, or scratches on the stones.
If there are several stones, closely check that each one is still secured in the piece and that each one is still there. If there are several small stones, it can be easy to miss that one is missing. Using a magnifying glass will help you see the true condition of the piece.
Examine the Stones
Styles during this time often included large flashy stones. However, to make the pieces more affordable, the stones may be made of glass rather than gemstones. Even if you are not concerned with owning a piece with glass as opposed to gemstone, you still want to know what you are buying and not over pay. Ask the seller if he or she has tested the stones. If you are buying form a certified gemologist or gemological association member, then he or she is likely to have already done a gemological refractometer test and knows if the stones are real or glass.
When making the final purchase, do buy something that you like and will wear. It may turn out that your favorite piece of vintage jewelry is not going to be a financial investment, but you will get more enjoyment out of it if it’s a piece you truly like.
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Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry: Jewel Chat Marks
Guest post contributed by Stacy Pulliam on behalf of iNetGiant. Stacey is a freelance writer and personal shopping assistant for online entrepreneurs. Her articles appear on various shopping blogs.