Tips for buying Antique or Vintage Jewelry

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NJL-Vintage

Photo by Trazomfreak

  • Investigate – do your research before jumping in with both feet. If you’re into a specific style or era, know the characteristics of what you’re looking for. Also, if you look online, make sure you dive into the seller’s background a bit. If they have several of the same items for sale, it’s safe to assume they’re neither antique nor original. Most antique or estate pieces are one-of-a-kind, highly sought after items.
  • Ask Questions – do your due-diligence so you feel comfortable with the purchase. Questions like “How did you come to own the piece?” and “What’s the history associated with the piece?” are excellent leading questions to get some general information on the item and its history. Look for a viable story that would easily explain the item and where it came from.
  • Look for a Signature – Antique jewelers will almost always leave a makers mark on their pieces; some identifying attribute to distinguish that piece is theirs. An icon, initials or stamp are the most common forms and are the easiest to research online. The more you know about the original maker, the better you’re going to feel about your purchase.
  • Check the Patina – Patina is the natural wear after exposure to the elements over the years. Jewelers will not usually restore older jewelry solely due to the patina which helps to authenticate. If the piece looks brand new, it’s safe to assume it’s a remake, or a really great restoration. Unfortunately, in that situation, you’ll have to take the dealer’s word for it.
  • What’s the Price? – Think the price is too good to be true? It probably is. True antique pieces are made to last, have historical significance or are highly collectable. If your gut is telling you something is off, your best bet is to walk away.