Do you have a jewelry enthusiast in your life who would appreciate a vintage gift to add to their accessories wardrobe? Or maybe you just yearn to add a piece of vintage costume jewelry to your collection. Take these useful tips into account when you venture out to buy vintage costume jewelry for a friend or for yourself.
You need to take the condition of the jewelry into account. Even though Victorian era vintage jewelry through the ‘30s has a vintage feel and look, there are times when you can get very lightly worn or like-new jewelry from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Don’t settle for second best even with older pieces.
Look out for and avoid haphazard stone replacements and sloppy soldering. Additionally, scratched or chipped enamel, missing stones, malfunctioning clasps, missing parts, cloudy or darkened rhinestones, and extremely worn plating all point to a low-value vintage piece.
Be sure to do a careful inspection to see such details and be careful when examining online photos. Don’t spend a lot of money in a burst of last-minute desperation for pieces that aren’t in good condition.
Don’t compromise on quality. Purchasing vintage costume jewelry of good quality is the sensible thing to do because such pieces hold their value and don’t wear out fast. Signs to look for include sparkling stones, smooth plating, and substantial weight.
Moreover, specific manufacturers are known for making great-quality jewelry; Hearts On Fire®, Memoire®, Madison L, Beverly K, Venetti, Ball Watch, Hamilton, Wolf Designs, SureFire, Deakin & Francis, and Tissot are a few brands to look for when buying top-quality pieces at stores such as Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry.
Note that it is not necessary for a vintage jewelry purchase to always be ‘signed’. There are a number of unsigned pieces on the secondary market and most leading jewelry companies have marketed unsigned jewelry at some point.
It depends on who the jewelry you’re buying is meant for. Ardent costume jewelry enthusiasts will value a signature piece much more than a person who appreciates it simply as a fashion accessory.
When purchasing jewelry for yourself, go for jewelry types that you will be comfortable wearing. Your purchases will be influenced by overall style, color, durability, and size.
For instance, business attire is well complemented by all types of colorful vintage brooches, whereas denim jackets and shirts look fabulous with clear rhinestone brooches. The same applies when you’re buying someone jewelry as gifts.
It doesn’t hurt to add a special touch to vintage costume jewelry, whether you’re buying them for yourself or as gifts for others. A good dealer can often give you some background on the manufacturer or designer, era or age of the piece, unique materials or design characteristics used in the construction, and background of the piece’s former owner where possible.
To a person who does not know much about vintage jewelry, this information is invaluable. It makes owning a vintage jewelry piece more meaningful.
Sarah D. Hoffman is a jewelry maker/designer with a degree in silver smithing and jewelry. She teaches jewelry making at art centers and colleges and is driven by her passion for top-quality vintage jewelry such as that offered at Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry.