July 29, 2021

Understanding Your Antique & Vintage Jewelry

To put on and enjoy a beautiful piece of antique plus vintage jewelry with a history at the rear of can be a wonderful, exhilarating experience.
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For many it is a lovingly addicting hobby. The more 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 of it’s claimed value? It’s always recommended to buy from reputable dealers who else guarantee their items plus studying what to look for in a piece. Attend Vintage & Collectable Shows, browse Vintage Shops and read lots of books to familiarize yourself with period styles plus their findings.

When looking at a piece, examine it carefully both front and back. An genuinely old piece will have all the ingredients to confirm its authenticity. Many jewelry designs 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 proclaimed in the most unusual of areas so check along the edges, within the bale, the pin stem as well as on the back of the pin come! You’ll be amazed at what you could find plus where you will find it. Suddenly an item of jewelry that you thought was newer or made of silver plate or gold plate now may be seen in a different light as genuine antique silver or gold and have lots of value!

A lot of old jewelry such as Victorian Jewelry was not marked. So now what? A Victorian brooch with a long pin stem extending outward is a good indication that it’s earlier Victorian while a shorter you are of a later date. The “C” clasp is another indication that the item is old. Remember that there are always exclusions to the rules since the “C” clasp 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, bracelet, necklace, etc .. Does it look like a clasp used today or does it seem a bit different to you? Compare brand new pieces to old pieces. Really does the jewelry have a brass springtime ring clasp from the 1930s or perhaps 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 influence the value of a piece. The tube joint was generally used until the 1890s where the safety catch clasp shot to popularity in the Art Deco 1920s time period. Over the years the appearance of the safety capture clasp has changed so it’s good to identify the old from the new. Many clasps on old jewelry such as pins broke in time so replacement ones were soldered onto the back. All better Jewelry is soldered a few place but if the piece has raised pads soldered to the back of the Brooch where the clasp is connected then it is a replacement clasp.

Great clue to dating a piece plus determining the value of Antique and Vintage Jewelry is to look at the metal content where there might be some underneath put on, usually in back where it would rub against the clothing. Genuine Silver and gold, even if it has wear, will not display a base metal underneath since it continues all the way through. Many costume pieces from your nineteenth century and into the Art Deco period were made of precious metal and/or silver over base metals such as gold over brass, silver precious metal over brass, silver over copper, gold over copper, etc . That’s 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 it 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 Ww ii also. There are several tests in identifying Authentic Antique and Vintage Bakelite Jewelry using Formula 409, Warm 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 collection anywhere and the workmanship should look hand carved and not be crudely executed as if a stamp has been used. On Vintage Bakelite brooches, the clasp would be embedded into the piece.

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