Helpful Guide for Authenticating Vintage Jewellery
Many people misunderstand what vintage jewellery is. It refers to a piece that is more than 20 years old and less than 100. This means that there are many different types of vintage jewellery with different values. For example, vintage costume jewellery brooches obviously wouldn’t be worth as much as vintage fine jewellery.
Modern jewellery often takes inspiration for its designs from styles that were popular in the past. Therefore, it can be difficult to tell whether a piece is truly vintage or is a copy of a previous style produced more recently. This is vital to determining how much the piece is worth. Fortunately, there are a few signs you can look for to determine whether a piece of jewellery truly belongs to a particular era or is a more recent copy.
If the piece is a family heirloom, a good place to start out authenticating it is to talk to family members about where it came from and when. If it truly is a vintage piece of jewellery rather than an antique, chances are that the person who bought it originally is still alive. You can then ask questions about where it came from. Not only does this help you authenticate the piece and determine its value, but it might also give you the opportunity to hear interesting stories about your family.
If there are no family members available to tell you about the history of the piece, or if the trail goes cold, you may also be able to authenticate it by looking for it in old family photos. If it appears in older photographs, you can conclude that it is authentic and not a more recent piece.
Receipts or Other Documentation
The word for a paper trail used to authenticate a collectible is called provenance. If the piece was particularly valuable, its provenance may still be intact. You may be able to find logs of cleanings, resizing, or repairs. If you are very lucky, you may even be able to track down the receipt from the original purchase, which should include the date.
You may be able to find clues as to the piece’s authenticity by looking at the jewellery itself. There are often markings on a piece of jewellery that document details such as the metal composition or the designer or artisan that created the piece. These marks are typically found in unobtrusive places. For example, on a bracelet or necklace, it may be near the clasp. Look on the back of brooches or the inside of a ring’s band for a mark or stamp. You may have to do some detective work to find out what the marks mean and what they indicate about the age of the piece.
When some metals have been exposed to air for a long time, a chemical reaction called oxidization takes place. This may cause spots of darkening on the metal surface, or it could affect the entire piece. This darkening with age is called a patina, and it can be one of the most effective ways to tell the age of a piece of jewellery however it is also possible to artificially recreate this look using certain methods. Understanding the difference between the two is helpful when looking to purchase authentic vintage jewellery.
The materials used in a piece can give you a clue to its authenticity. Modern jewellers make new pieces in the style of vintage jewellery as an homage to the craftsmanship of their predecessors. They may try for complete verisimilitude, but they can’t always use the same materials, either because they are no longer available or their use is restricted or prohibited by law.
Shop for Vintage Jewellery at Colonial Acres Coins
Despite attempts to re-create it out of a sense of nostalgia, vintage jewellery can be truly unique. Colonial Acres offers a wide variety of vintage, antique, and estate jewellery organized in different categories to help you find that perfect ring, necklace, watch or bracelet. Find that special piece for your own collection or as a gift for somebody else today.