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The Why’s and How-To’s of Vintage Jewelry
The “out with the old, in with the new” mentality isn’t always the case when it comes to jewelry. Choosing your jewelry has always been a matter of preference and taste. Whether you’re into modern-looking jewelry or not, there’s always a special place in people’s hearts for owning estate or vintage jewelry; it’s a memorable piece of history and sentimental value within your reach. These precious pieces symbolize the development and growth of the craft of jewelry making and have shaped the current trends and jewelry we have today.
Why buy vintage jewelry?
1. Value for money
Everyone likes to save money. This is one of the most popular reasons people buy vintage or second-hand jewelry; offers good value for money. This is especially true for contemporary pieces that are still in production today or pieces that we have an abundance of on the market. Estate jewelry is priced favorably compared to buying at high retail price. Because it is a second-hand piece and has been used or previously used, its price sometimes depreciates substantially. If you don’t mind a few scratches here and there to save money, then secondhand jewelry is definitely for you. In addition, many second-hand parts are still in perfect condition. Finding these pieces can really be a bargain!
2. Unique and unique
Jewelry has been around for centuries. Each era has its own unique craftsmanship and signature design that suits many people’s tastes and preferences. With the absence of cutting-edge technology in its day, each piece was crafted by hand using old-world techniques and hundreds of hours. No piece looks and is made exactly the same. Some of these techniques are no longer used and have shaped the way jewelers have been making jewelry today. Uniqueness and rarity also add to the value of extraordinary period pieces.
Unlike buying new, modern pieces today, you can tailor your ring to the most specific criteria possible. From carat weight, color, clarity, design, table ratio, millimeter shank size, etc., a reputable jeweler can work with you and customize a ring designed for you at the foot of the letter. With real estate, what you see is often what you get. You will need a lot of time going from website to website or store to store to find a piece that you really like. This is actually the thrill of buying vintage jewelry. Some people attribute finding and buying estate jewelry as memories of the experience of finding that specific piece.
3. Exceptional quality
Vintage jewelry shows exceptional quality because it has stood the test of time. Jewelry is an investment that almost everyone develops an attachment to and takes great care of. This is why most vintage jewelry is still in very good condition and wearable. You will be amazed at the care and attention to some of the very old pieces we have in our collection. Because of their high quality standards and reputation, many jewelers like Roman Malakov sell estates and fine jewelry that are durable and will last you for many more generations (with proper love and care, of course).
4. History at your fingertips
As I said earlier, people develop certain attachments to jewelry because it symbolizes special relationships and memorable experiences in their lives. Each ancient piece has its own place in history, and you are essentially a part of that history. This is something new jewelry does not have. They become symbols of previous times and the trade they had during those times. If it weren’t for the preservation and value of second-hand jewelry, the distinct and creative design of each era would not have been appreciated by current and future generations.
Shopping for vintage jewelry
1. Buy from a reputable jeweler
With today’s technology, finding a reputable jeweler is just an app or a click away. Check out jewelry stores near your location; be sure to look at their reviews, policies, customer experiences (eg yelp, google reviews), insights, etc. Unfortunately, there are stores that intentionally or unintentionally mislead their customers into buying non-authentic antiques. That’s why it’s incredibly important to do seller due diligence when buying jewelry in general. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure they answer your questions honestly and transparently. If you are buying vintage jewelry online, make sure the seller has several pictures of the piece and has a well-written description of the piece. If not, ask for more photos or information. Jewelers will likely send more pictures that show the condition of the item and be transparent with their customers. Trust is one of the foundations of buying jewelry.
2. Rate the condition of the item
Most jewelers do not restore or polish vintage jewelry to preserve the authenticity and antiquity of the pieces. Being a pre-owned item that has been used for years, it should show signs of wear and tear (eg scratches, dents, etc.). Small signs of wear are ideal; but be sure to check that there are no cracks in the metal or chips in the stones. If it looks new, ask if it has been restored. If you’re buying online, be sure to see multiple views of the piece and research the jeweler’s return policy.
Jewelry makers of the past often sign their piece and leave marks of their initials or a small symbol. Be sure to check it out as it’s a good sign of authenticity. This is especially true for second-hand brand pieces such as Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Chopard, etc. These branded jewelry companies always mark and sign their piece. If you are buying branded second-hand jewelry, ask if they have the original box and papers. If they have certificates of authenticity, make sure the number on the certificates matches the number stamped on the piece.
3. Research and price verification
Appearances can be deceiving. That’s why even doing a little research is very important. Research diamond prices, what styles you like, how much it usually costs, etc. Not only will you feel more confident buying vintage jewelry, but it will also take less time and make it much easier to go from store to store. The more information you have, the more likely you are to get an authentic piece and negotiate for a reasonable price.
Because estate or vintage jewelry is unique, be careful when selling antique pieces in bulk. If a seller advertises that they have more than 1 of the same exact part, beware. They could have made antique looking pieces and are not genuine antiques. Be especially aware of their use of words; an example of this is “old style” or “old look”. These usually mean newly created jewelry that has vintage designs.
Plus, vintage jewelry has a lot of history and value in it to sell for cheap. If you see an antique piece selling for a crazy price (for example, an antique 1 carat diamond ring for $20-100), think twice. As I said earlier, without the technology we have now, it would normally take jewelers of previous generations hundreds of hours to craft and produce a stunning and unique piece. It takes precision, knowledge and expertise in craftsmanship to create a piece that will last for generations. This job isn’t just worth a couple bucks (unless the seller is clueless). This is where research comes into play. Check and validate the information and description of a piece (e.g. diamond/gemstone price, price of similar pieces, gold weight, stone size, etc.) to find out its intrinsic value is essentially important. to know its authenticity. If the price deviates a lot or varies from other similar parts, think about it.
You can find and buy antique and vintage jewelry almost everywhere; either online or in brick and mortar stores. Shopping smart is always the most important thing when buying jewelry (vintage or not). But if you’re looking to buy authentic antiques, distinguishing the real from the fakes will ensure you’re getting the right price for the right item. Research is key.
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