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The Why’s and How-To’s of Vintage Jewelry
When it comes to jewellery, the mentality of “make something new out of the old” hasn’t always been the case. Choosing your jewelry is always a matter of preference and taste. Whether you like contemporary jewelry or not, owning estate or antique jewelry will always hold a special place in people’s hearts; a piece of memorable history with palpable sentimental value. These gorgeous pieces symbolize the development and growth of jewelry making craftsmanship, shaping the fashion trends and jewelry we have today.
Why Buy Vintage Jewelry?
1. Value for money
Everyone likes to save money. This is one of the most common reasons people buy vintage or second-hand jewelry; it’s worth the money. This is especially true for contemporary works that are still produced today or for which we have a large number of works on the market. Heritage jewelry can be priced more favorably than buying it at a retail store with a high price tag. Because it’s a second-hand item and has been worn or used before, it can sometimes depreciate significantly in value. If you don’t mind a few scratches here and there to save money, second-hand jewelry is definitely for you. Also, many second-hand items are actually still in original and good condition. It’s a real bargain to find these pieces!
Jewelry has been around for centuries. Each era has its own unique craftsmanship and iconic designs, catering to many tastes and preferences. In the absence of cutting-edge technology at the time, each piece is crafted using old world techniques and hundreds of hours of intricate handcrafting. No piece looks exactly the same as it is made. Some of these techniques are no longer used, and they have shaped the way jewelers make jewelry today. Uniqueness and rarity also add to the value of vintage pieces.
Instead of buying a new and contemporary piece today, you can customize your ring to the most specific criteria. From carat weight, colour, clarity, design, table proportions, shank dimensions in millimeters and more, a reputable jeweler can work with you to customize a ring of your design. For estate works, what you see is what you get. You will spend a lot of time going from website to website or store to store looking for pieces that really appeal to you. This is literally the thrill of antique jewelry shopping. Some people will find and buy heritage jewelry as a memento of the experience of finding that particular piece of jewelry.
3. Excellent quality
Vintage jewelry exhibits exceptional quality due to having stood the test of time. Jewelry is an investment that almost everyone feels attached to and takes great care of. This is why most antique jewelry is still in very good wearable condition. You’ll be amazed at how original and lovingly cared for some of the very old pieces in our collection are. Due to their high quality standards and reputation, many jewelers such as Roman Malakov sell estate and fine jewelry that are durable and will last you for generations (with proper love and care, of course).
4. History at your fingertips
As I said before, people develop a certain attachment to jewelry because they symbolize special relationships and memorable experiences in their lives. Every antique has its own place in history, and essentially, you are part of that story. This is something new jewelry doesn’t have. They become symbols of previous eras and the craftsmanship they possessed in that era. The unique and creative designs of each era would not be appreciated today and for generations to come if it were not for the preservation and value of pre-owned jewelry.
shop for vintage jewelry
1. Buy from a reputable jeweler
With today’s technology, finding a reputable jeweler is just an app or a click away. Check out jewelers near your location; be sure to check out their reviews, policies, customer experience (eg yelp, Google reviews), knowledge, etc. Unfortunately, some shops intentionally or unintentionally mislead their customers into buying fake antiques. This is why it is very important to do due diligence on the seller when buying jewelry in general. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure they answer your questions in an honest and transparent manner. If you are buying antique jewelry online, make sure the seller has multiple pictures of the item and a detailed description of the item. If not, please ask for more pictures or information. The jeweler will most likely send more pictures showing the condition of the item and be transparent with the customer. Trust is one of the foundations of buying jewelry.
2. Assess the condition of the item
Most jewelers do not restore or polish antique jewelry to maintain its authenticity and antique feel. As a used item that has been worn for many years, it should show signs of wear (such as scratches, dents, etc.). Few signs of wear are ideal; but be sure to check that there are no cracks in the metal or chips in the stone. If it looks brand new, ask if it has been repaired. If you buy online, make sure you see multiple views of the piece and research the jeweler’s return policy.
Jewelers of the past often signed their pieces and left a mark of their initials or small symbols. Just be sure to check it out as it’s a good sign of authenticity. This is especially true for second-hand brand jewelry such as Cartier, Tiffany, and Chopard. These branded jewelry houses always mark and sign their pieces. If you’re buying branded used jewelry, ask them if they have the original box and papers. If they have a certificate of authenticity, make sure the number on the certificate matches the number printed on the item.
3. Research and price checking
People should not be judged by their appearance. That’s why even a little research can go a long way. Research diamond prices, what styles appeal to you, how much they typically cost, and more. Not only will you feel more confident buying antique jewelry, you’ll spend less time and find it easier to shop around. The more information you have, the better your chances of getting the real thing and negotiating a reasonable price.
Since heritage or antique jewelry is unique, be careful when they sell antiques in bulk. Be wary if sellers advertise that they have more than 1 of the exact same item. They may have made pieces that look antique, but not really. Pay special attention to their wording; an example of this would be “antique style” or “antique look”. These usually indicate new jewelry with vintage designs.
Plus, vintage jewelry has a lot of history and value and can be sold for cheap. If you see an antique item for sale at an outrageous price (eg $20-$100 for a 1 carat antique diamond ring), think again. As I said before, without the technology we have now, jewelers of the previous generation would typically have needed hundreds of hours to handcraft a stunning one-of-a-kind piece. Creating a timeless piece requires precision, knowledge and craftsmanship. So much work and not just for a few bucks (unless the seller knows nothing). This is where research comes in. It is very important to cross check and verify the information and description of an item (such as diamond/gem price, price of similar items, gold weight, gem size, etc.) to find out its intrinsic value in order to know its authenticity. Please reconsider if the price is significantly different or different from other similar items.
You can find and buy antique and vintage jewelry almost anywhere; whether online or in a brick-and-mortar store. Buying wisely is always the most important thing when shopping for jewelry, vintage or not. But if you’re looking to buy authentic antiques, authenticating will ensure you’re buying the right item at the right price. Research is key.
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