Collecting antique and vintage jewelry is a satisfying past time. The selection is enormous and pieces are often entirely unique, gorgeous and fun to wear. Learn 5 vintage and antique jewelry collecting tips so that you can start your very own treasure hunt.
- Know where to look. Typically the best places to locate antique and vintage jewelry are real estate auctions, flea markets and thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and Hospice. There is also a wide open field online on a host of web sites. EBay dealers are all vying for your attention and money and good finds are possible. Pricier places to look are antique dealers and specialty vintage clothing shops.
- Learn to seek out markers. Vintage jewelry is often stamped with the name of the jeweler. Discovering the marks can be difficult, but can substantially increase the value of the item. Some sought after maker marks are Ann-Vien, Boucher, Coro, Christian Dior, Lisner, Monet, Sarah Coventry, and Trifari.
- Determine if the aging on a piece of vintage silver jewelry is tarnish or the much sought out patina. Tarnishing occurs when the piece is exposed to air and sunlight, this can be rubbed off gently with mild jewelry cleaner. Patina on the other hand is the soft sheen of wear. Silver jewelry that is worn becomes lovely after time and this patina is very attractive to many collectors.
- Choose an era and do your research. Of course you can purchase items that you love from any era, but for the purpose of collecting, you may want to narrow the field. Some of the popular choices include; antique wedding jewelry, Bakelite, mourning jewelry, vintage silver jewelry, antique watches, and vintage hat pins, vintage broaches and Art Deco pieces. Know the material often used in the era, who the top designers of the day were and the variety of the products available in that particular group. This will give you a heads up when searching for pieces. It will also help you avoid the unfortunate experience of being misled by an unscrupulous seller. Before heading out to the flea market or thrift shop, do a little research on the going price of vintage jewelry. EBay is a good starting place. The auction format gives more information on the worth of antique jewelry than a book might since vintage jewelry is really only worth what people will purchase it for.
- Antique jewelry, vintage jewelry and costume jewelry are broad terms. Costume jewelry is defined as jewelry created without semi precious stones. Jewelry that is considered vintage is often from the 1920's to the 1970's. Costume jewelry is flashy and created from lower quality materials. Regardless of the materials used to create antique, vintage or costume jewelry, the rarity and history behind the pieces can drive the price up, making even tin pieces highly collectible.