Estate Jewelry continues to grow in popularity because of the character, charm, and unique beauty found in each piece. In addition, most estate jewelry has a story to tell. Jewelry has been adorned for thousands of years and will continue to be worn. If you are looking for jewelry that wows with a price that doesn’t break the bank, estate jewelry is the perfect place to start.
What is estate jewelry?
Experts at The Spruce define estate jewelry as “any piece of jewelry that is used. This term encompasses all second-hand jewelry, regardless of whether it could be defined as antique or vintage. The item could be less than a month old and it could still be considered estate jewelry.”
What should I know about shopping for estate jewelry?
Thoroughly examine the back of jewelry.
Whether shopping online or in person for estate jewelry, remember to examine the jewelry from every angle. Pay attention to both the front and back of a piece. The back of jewelry usually has a stamp that tells you what the jewelry is made from and hints at the value of the jewelry. No matter the material; be it gold, platinum, onyx, jade, lapis, or more —there is always a signature.
Check any prongs or clasps on jewelry.
Prongs and clasps give you insight into jewelry quality and longevity. Check clasps, prongs, chain links, and ring walls to make sure they are in good condition. Does the clasp look broken or ill-fitting? Are the prongs loose or pulling away from the stone or stones? If you can answer yes to these questions, consider the cost needed to repair the jewelry. You will likely want to repair these components or have them strengthened to avoid losing gems or the jewelry itself.
Look for signs of excessive wear.
Estate jewelry can tell a story. Be sure to examine the jewelry for signs of wear like dents, scratches in the metal, small chips in the gemstones, or cracks in enamel to make sure the right story is being told based on the use you expect to yield from the piece. If your expectation is to have the jewelry as a piece that will not be worn, only collected, excessive wear may not be as big a factor in your purchasing decision.
Ask or look for accurate descriptive and gemological details.
Quality estate jewelry is quality because of the details associated with it combined with the story the jewelry tells as a piece of art history. The information that should be readily available is authenticity certificates, carat weights, dates of manufacture, condition, and materials if the item is high end. Websites like CTBIDS.com can make shopping for estate jewelry even simpler by providing clear, detailed photos and videos of pieces that help you assess look, fit, and scale.
Understand the DON’TS of purchasing estate jewelry.
- Don’t purchase items that are at less than 18-karat gold or platinum if given the option.
- Don’t overlook well-crafted jewelry without well-known names.
- Don’t shop unless the source is safe, trustworthy and has a reputation for integrity.
- Don’t rely only on the Four C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat) be aware of materials and quality.
- Don’t buy a piece you don’t love!
With so much jewelry available, it’s important to make an informed purchase that you can love for years or gift confidently. Jewelry is meant to make a host of statements from “Congratulations,” to “I love you.” The tips in this article are a springboard for learning to purchase estate jewelry and getting the highest quality.
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