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Do you enjoy shopping for vintage jewellery to find unique pieces? Or, perhaps you have a friend who would love a vintage gift to add to their collection. Keep in mind these useful these tips when buying vintage costume jewellery or designer jewellery.,
– Don’t take the condition of a vintage jewellery piece for granted. Have a thorough look at the item from all angles and use a jeweller’s loupe for close inspection. Keep an eye out for extremely worn plating, cloudy or darkened rhinestones, clasps that don't work properly, missing stones or rhinestones, and chipped or scratched enamel. All these will lower the value of a vintage item. Obvious repairs such as poor soldering and stone replacements should also be avoided.
– If you find a bargain price piece of low quality jewellery that you love, and must have then go ahead and buy it. However, overall you should be looking for quality vintage jewellery as these pieces will wear better and hold their value over time. Look for signs of quality such as substantial weight, pronged settings, smooth plating and sparkling stones to ensure it is real vintage and not newer jewellery.
- Particular manufacturers are known for making jewellery of quality: Eisenberg, Schiaparelli, and Miriam Haskell, are a few names to look for when purchasing luxury pieces. More moderately priced signatures include Weiss, Coro, Trifari, and Butler and Wilson, and Christian Dior among many others. Should you always look for a signed piece of vintage jewellery? Not necessarily. Although the designer signature will generally increase the value of the piece there are even more beautiful unsigned pieces available and all the previously mentioned companies made unsigned jewellery at one point or another. It really depends on who you are buying the jewellery for – a costume jewellery collector will appreciate a signature much more than someone who will enjoy the piece as a fashion accessory. There are various guides to collecting vintage jewellery and resource books which can help you determine top brands and signatures to look for.
– If you're buying for yourself, consider the style of jewellery you feel comfortable wearing and what suits your wardrobe. Size, colour, durability and overall look will influence your purchases. When buying presents, such as vintage necklaces, or vintage earrings consider the taste of the owner, bright colour rhinestones are not everyone’s idea of style. The beauty of vintage jewellery is the vast range of styles from delicate and simple to big bold and bright.
- Ask the dealer to provide some background information on the item you're purchasing. This can include the manufacturer or designer, age of the item, distinguishing design characteristics or materials, and any background on the former owner (this is known as provenance) if known. Print out these details onto a small piece of card which you can add into the gift box. To a person who knows little about vintage jewellery, these bits of information are priceless, and make owning the item more meaningful.
For more general information on vintage costume jewellery the V and A museum is a good place to look. For examples of vintage jewellery check out the Modern Vintage Style vintage jewellery section