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Designer vintage is always popular and if the condition is good then these pieces will
often keep their value in future years. Names to look out for are Christian Dior, Yves
Saint Laurent, Sara Coventry and Trifari amongst many others. Knowledge is power
and it is a great idea to read up on this subject before making any major purchases.
Knowing exactly what to look fo puts you ahead of the game and will ensure you get
the best designer vintage bargain.
If you are looking to buy some beautiful vintage jewellery keep in mind the following
– 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. Moremoderately 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 costume jewellery the V and A museum is a good
place to look.
Further reading: The Complete Guide to Costume Jewellery
The Ultimate Guide to European Costume Jewellery Brands