Knowing Your Antique & Vintage Jewellery


To put on and enjoy a beautiful piece of antique and vintage jewelry with a history at the rear of can be a wonderful, exhilarating experience.
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For a lot of it is a lovingly addicting hobby. The greater you collect, the more you want to collect! It’s that exciting! But when buying these jewels of yesterday, can i be certain that what they are buying is truly genuine and not relatively new and/or associated with it’s claimed value? It’s always recommended to buy from reputable dealers who guarantee their items plus understanding what to look for in a piece. Attend Antique & Collectable Shows, browse Vintage Shops and read lots of books to familiarize yourself with period styles and their findings.

When looking at an item, examine it carefully both front side and back. An genuinely older piece will have all the ingredients to confirm its authenticity. Many jewelry styles do tend to overlap so always check the entire piece for clues. Could be the piece signed, hallmarked? Surprisingly sufficient a lot of antique jewelry was marked in the most unusual of areas so check along the edges, within the bale, the pin stem and also on the back of the pin originate! You’ll be amazed at what you could find and where you will find it. Suddenly an item of jewelry that you thought was newer or made of silver plate or even gold plate now may be seen in a different light as genuine vintage silver or gold and have lots of value!

A lot of old jewelry for example Victorian Jewelry was not marked. Therefore now what? A Victorian brooch with a long pin stem extending outward is a good indication that it’s earlier Victorian while a shorter the first is of a later date. The “C” clasp is another indication that the piece is old. Remember that there are always exclusions to the rules since the “C” hold was also used later on in Europe so take every detail into account in the future to your full conclusion. Look at the joint and the clasp of a brooch, bracelets, necklace, etc .. Does it look like a hold used today or does it appear a bit different to you? Compare new pieces to old pieces. Will the jewelry have a brass springtime ring clasp from the 1930s or even a shiny gold plate clasp? Are the findings on a piece consistent with the look of that era? Those small variations could answer your questions and drastically impact the value of a piece. The tube hinge was generally used until the 1890s where the safety catch clasp became popular in the Art Deco 1920s time period. Over the years the appearance of the safety catch clasp has changed so it’s good to recognize the old from the new. Many clasps on old jewelry such as hooks broke in time so replacement ones were soldered onto the back. All better Jewelry is soldered a few place but if the piece has elevated pads soldered to the back from the Brooch where the clasp is connected then it is a replacement clasp.

Another good clue to dating a piece plus determining the value of Antique and Classic Jewelry is to look at the metal content material where there might be some underneath put on, usually in back where it might rub against the clothing. Genuine Gold and Silver, even if it has wear, will not display a base metal underneath since it continues all the way through. Many costume pieces in the nineteenth century and into the Artwork Deco period were made of gold and/or silver over base alloys such as gold over brass, metallic over brass, silver over copper, gold over copper, etc . Which one way of knowing the piece is at minimum 60 years old and more. During the battle years of the 1940s there was a shortage of base metals exactly where it affected the jewelry market so sterling silver was substituted. If you see a marking such as “1/20 12K on Sterling” then 1/5 from the piece is 12K gold and is likely to be from 1942 to 1945. Vintage Bakelite which is a Polymeric Plastic-type invented by Leo Hendrik Baekeland in 1907, became popular in jewellery design during the hardships of World War II also. There are several tests in identifying Authentic Antique and Vintage Bakelite Jewelry using Formula 409, Hot Water, Simichrome Polish and a Q-Tip. Nevertheless some Bakelite such as Black Bakelite may not test positive. Since Bakelite is either cast or molded it would not have a seam series anywhere and the workmanship should appearance hand carved and not be crudely executed as if a stamp had been used. On Vintage Bakelite brooches, the clasp would be embedded in to the piece.

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