While new styles are always coming out, there’s something timeless and classic about antique jewelry that makes it highly sought after by a wide variety of consumers. But if you’re going to shop for antique jewelry, you need to know what you’re doing.
In the jewelry industry, the terminology is very important. While certain words may seem similar, they can actually have very different meanings. For example, you’ll frequently see the terms estate jewelry, vintage jewelry, and antique jewelry used interchangeably, when they’re totally different categories.
“Estate jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is used. This term encompasses all second-hand jewelry, regardless of whether it could be defined as antique or vintage,” industry expert Lauren Thomann writes. “The item could be less than a month old and it could still be considered estate jewelry.”
Vintage jewelry refers to jewelry that’s at least 20 to 30 years old. In other words, it’s anything made during the 1990s or earlier.
Then you have antique jewelry, which is any piece that’s roughly 100 years old or older. Many pieces from the early 1920s are also considered antique at this point.
In your pursuit of finding antique jewelry, here are some practical pointers:
1. Start The Antique Jewelry Search Online
There are plenty of ways to shop for jewelry, but one of the best pieces of advice is to start your search online. This is especially true when you’re looking for antique jewelry, which is often hard to find in traditional storefronts.
Starting the search online allows you to learn as you go. When you see terminology you don’t understand or styles you don’t recognize, all you have to do is run a quick search and you’re suddenly informed. Then, you can use this knowledge when you do shop in stores.
2. Shop With A Reputable Jeweler
It’s really important that you work with a reputable jeweler to find the antique piece you’re looking for. If you find yourself in a situation where a jeweler is hard selling a specific piece to you, this should be your cue to leave.
M. Khordipour is an example of a reputable jeweler that focuses on the client over the sale. Among other things, they’re known for helping clients find vintage Buccellati jewelry and will spend time assisting customers in tracking down the right pieces.
While every jeweler has a different approach, stay far away from the ones that want you to purchase something on the spot.
3. Always Get A Second Opinion
Before investing in a particularly valuable piece of antique jewelry, it’s always wise to get a second opinion from an independent jeweler or appraiser. Not only does this ensure you’re paying a fair price, but it allows you to verify the authenticity of the piece.
4. Avoid Antique “Style”
In order to capitalize on the popularity of antique jewelry, a lot of dealers will advertise pieces as “antique style.” While confusing, this is just another name for “reproduction.”
As Thomann warns, “Anytime the word ‘style’ is used when describing a piece of jewelry that appears to be old but there is no other mention of the item’s age, this could mean the item is a reproduction.” This is why a second opinion matters so much.
Wait For The Perfect Piece
They say patience is a virtue, and this statement certainly rings true when it comes to buying antique jewelry. The secret to finding the perfect piece is to wait. You’ll know when you come across the right piece – you’ll get that feeling that you’ve found it.
Until then, be diligent and disciplined in your shopping.
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