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Posts tagged ‘and Antique Jewelry’

Understanding Estate, Vintage, and Antique Jewelry

Understanding Estate, Vintage, and Antique JewelrySummer is a great time to scour yard and estate sales for interesting fine jewelry pieces. There are great finds out there, but it’s sometimes difficult to know what you’re looking at if you don’t first arm yourself with some knowledge about jewelry before hitting the sales. Here’s an overview of the definitions and differences between estate, vintage, and antique jewelry.

Estate, vintage, and antique jewelry have similar meanings but the differences between them can greatly influence the value of the jewelry pieces. Before you purchase a previously owned piece of jewelry, it’s important to know the differences.

Estate jewelry: An Umbrella Term

Many people consider estate jewelry to be any piece of jewelry that has been passed down from a previous generation, but it actually refers to any piece of jewelry that was previously owned, regardless of its age.

Estate jewelry can be broken down into two types: vintage jewelry that is less than 100 years old and antique jewelry that is more than 100 years old.

For more on the difference between vintage and antique jewelry, we reference about style.com’s jewelry article, “What is the Difference Between Antique, Vintage, and Estate Jewelry?”

Vintage jewelry: Less than 100 years old

To be considered vintage, jewelry has to be at least 20 to 30 years old, and created between 1910 and 1990. Vintage is probably the most common term of the three, since it encompasses a large collection of jewelry ages.

The most commonly collected are vintage pieces from between 1940 and 1970. That includes the glamorous, Hollywood-inspired 1940s jewelry, the fabulous Jackie Kennedy-inspired jewelry of the ‘60s, and even the bold jewelry of the 1980s.

Jewelry eras included within vintage include: Modern, Mid-Century Modern, Retro, and Art Deco.

Antique jewelry: More than 100 years old

Antique jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is at least a century old. So, by definition, all antique jewelry is considered vintage, but not all vintage jewelry is considered antique.

When shopping for antique jewelry, beware of the term “antique style,” which is a tip off that the piece is not really antique, but rather made in the style of older, antique jewelry. Anytime the word “style” is used when describing a piece of jewelry it most likely means the item is a reproduction.

Many pieces from the 1920’s are now considered antique, especially those made in the earlier part of decade. Jewelry eras included in antique jewelry are Art Deco, Edwardian, Belle Eqoque, Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Georgian.

It’s important to remember that the use of the terms estate, vintage, and antique can be confusing, and in some cases misleading, so it is very important to understand the differences to avoid accidentally buying a reproduction piece.

Source: about/com/jewelry

How to Buy Estate, Vintage, and Antique Jewelry

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.47.01 AMFirst, know what it’s worth.

You don’t have to know the exact value of the jewelry you are buying, but it’s a good idea to know what your pieces are generally worth. Next, evaluate jewelry of similar quality and composition. Obviously, the better condition the jewelry is in and its grade of gemstones precious metals, the higher its value. If a valuable piece looks too worn, then their still may be value in the stones and metal.

Understand how gold is valued.

The purity of gold jewelry is indicated by its karat stamp. Most gold jewelry, especially antique pieces, are 14-karat, which means they are only about 58 percent gold. A 24-karat gold piece is pure gold and will be worth approximately the current price of gold per ounce. If there is no karat stamp on the gold piece, it is usually because it’s not real gold. In some instances, the karat stamp may have worn off. A quick way to test if a gold piece is real is to place it next to a magnet; if it sticks, then it’s not real gold.

Just as you should know how gold is valued, the same goes for precious gemstones. You’ll need official certification to know exactly how much your gem is worth. If you don’t have certification, research what type it is and its general popularity and market value.

Has the piece been appraised?

Make sure you are buying from a reputable, established jeweler who has appraised the piece you’re interested in accurately. Make sure the appraiser is Gemological Institute of America (GIA) educated. The GIA is the industry standard for gem and precious metal appraisals. A GIA-educated appraiser should abide by the strictest industry ethics and methods to ensure that a seller is given the fair market price for the piece being sold.

Realize the market fluctuates.

The price of gold and silver changes daily based on various factors, including market demand, manufacturing supply, and the financial markets. It’s important to understand that the price of the metals which apply to the piece.

Enjoy your estate, vintage or antique jewelry!

Most importantly, if it is a piece for yourself, make sure it is something you would enjoy wearing, or if it is for a friend or relative, if it is their taste. Have you seen them wearing pieces like it? The most valuable piece of jewelry is one that will be enjoyed.

If you’re in the market for estate, vintage or antique jewelry, make sure to visit Adina by Empire Jeweler’s remarkable online store. You’ll find an exquisite selection of estate rings, earrings, bracelets, watches pendants and more at true wholesale prices, all appraised by Adina Jewelers by Empire’s GIA-educated appraisers.

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