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.
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.