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Estate Jewelry Buying Tips

October 18th, 2013 11:11 pm

Estate jewelry is a great gift for anyone who appreciates fine jewelry of the past. Jewelry has always been very popular with many women but estate jewelry ads a sense of uniqueness and personal attachment to a certain piece or style of jewelry. There are a few things that everyone should know before purchasing these rare items. A person must be educated before making a purchase to make sure they get their money’s worth and possibly received a nice return on their investment.

Antique or Estate Jewelry?

Experts frequently designate jewelry created prior to 1920 as being antique. Newer pieces that fall into an identifiable era generally get a vintage jewelry designation. Therefore, it is possible for a piece of estate jewelry to also be listed as antique jewelry. That said, quite obviously not all estate jewelry pieces are also antique or even vintage.

The Seller’s Reputation

Buying period pieces from a reputable jeweler is a key aspect in finding genuine jewelry and not merely nicely done reproductions. The jeweler’s reputation should be based not only on honesty in retail transactions but also on the time that the professional has been in the business. A jeweler with three decades in the field is far more knowledgeable at differentiating a genuine Art Deco piece from an imitation than a newcomer.

Asking Questions

Estate jewelry should be unique. Even so, the seller should have some information on a piece’s history. Did the seller purchase it at an antique auction? Did an original owner who is selling a family heirloom bring it in? Is the jewelry a museum piece that the seller took on as a consignment? In short, the more questions the buyer asks, the easier it is to ascertain if an item is real or merely a reproduction. When pieces feature genuine stones, there could be a jewelry certification. It never hurts to ask if one is available.

Bringing a Loupe, Estate Jewelry Is Rarely Shiny

“Patina” is a buzzword that experienced jewelry hunters use when describing the looks of their finds. It refers to the appearance of an item that has experienced decades of use. Estate jewelry should look somewhat worn. There may be scratches and scuff marks. However, it is possible for a genuine item to look almost brand new. Frequently this occurs when a piece has been professionally restored. It is rare that a seller undertakes this process before listing any piece of estate jewelry. If the item that the buyer is considering looks too new, it is time to ask about a possible restoration and the accompanying paperwork describing it.

It never hurts to examine a piece of estate jewelry with a loupe. In addition to scratches and dents, the buyer might find a signature, metal stamp or artisan symbol. Moreover, if the buyer takes the time to learn about period-specific gold content and diamond cuts, it gets easier to identify genuine estate jewelry from knock-offs.

How to Know If Pearl Jewelry Is Real or Fake

August 1st, 2013 4:25 am

Cultured pearls are made by two types of mollusk: oysters create salt water pearls, and mussels create freshwater pearls. To culture a pearl, the technician performs a delicate surgery to insert a bead nucleus or tissue. A nice pearl will hopefully be the result, and will eventually make it you to purchase at a jewelry store. Pearls are often rated on the “triple A” scale, but there is no universal grading standard. So, it’s a good idea to figure out the different types and what denotes quality.

The first thing you will want to do when identifying a real pearl is to look at the luster of the stone. A genuine pearl will have a glow to it. A natural pearl can be detected by looking at the thickness of the nacre layers. Roll a strand of pearls on a bright white surface under a very bright light. They should “wink” at you. The color will appear lighter and darker as they are rolled on the white surface.

Take a strand of pearls to a professional jeweler. They will be able to do a number of tests to find out they are real. You may think that they are not real if they are not a true color, but the fact is that natural pearls can come in many colors, such as pink pearls and even gold. There are even some rare kinds of pearls you can find that are black or even blue-black.

Other items that you can factor in when looking at pearls are shape and skin. Higher value pearls will be almost perfectly round. Obviously, the larger the pearl, the higher value it is going to have. The fewer blemishes that you can see on the skin of the pearl, means it is a high quality pearl and is also going to be more expensive. Real jewelers are more than happy to scape the surface of the pearl to prove it is real, which is another thing to ask about.

Pearls can also be paired up with gems to make unique pearl jewelry pieces. Once of the more popular places to find unique pearl jewelry pieces are Japan. These unique pieces allow you a larger variety of selection for pearl jewelry.

If you are in the United States, there are some professional jewelers who also offer different unique pearl settings. A couple of tests you can do are to bite the pearl. If it feels gritty on your teeth, they you know it is authentic. If it feels smooth on your teeth, you will know that it is fake.