Antique jewellery has a unique charm – a heady mix of history, meaning and beauty that is often entirely one-of-a-kind. These jewels are timeless and, when passed down from generation to generation, often priceless as well. Think about wonderfully symbolic antique engagement rings, passed down through the generations to to-be brides, or heirloom antique necklaces and antique bracelets handed down from mother to daughter through the ages. And if you don’t have your very own heirloom jewels, it’s never too late to start a beautiful tradition by buying wonderful antique jewellery.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, almost everything can be duplicated with ease. What looks like antique jewellery could turn out to be cheap replicas with no value or backstory. If you love old estate jewellery, you need to make sure what you pay for is what you get. We delve into the ins and outs of antique jewellery, how to buy it and what to look for when you find a jewel you love. But first…
What Is Antique Jewellery?
The terms ‘antique’, ‘vintage’ and ‘estate’ are often thrown around interchangeably but these three words have distinct meanings in the jewellery world. Antique jewellery refers to jewellery that is over a hundred years old. Estate jewellery consists of jewels that have been owned before. Vintage jewels are linked to an era – think art deco or retro. Therefore, both antique and vintage jewellery can be broadly classified as estate jewellery.
How To Buy Antique Jewellery
When buying jewellery, you always make sure you buy from a reputed jeweller, based on recommendations and personal experience. With antique jewellery, you don’t always have the luxury of buying from a known seller. Here are some tips to make sure you get a decent deal:
Ask Questions & Research about Antique Jewellery
Don’t be apprehensive to ask the seller about details on the jewel you are buying. Going to consumer and tradeshows and exhibitions may ensure that some standards and criteria are set for those dealers participating. Nevertheless, always ask for details on the source, age, and background of the antique jewellery you are interested in. Check whether the documents are trustworthy by checking their credibility online. There are many jewellery associations and websites that guide with this online.
Closely Inspect The Piece
‘If you want to wear ancient jewellery all the time, I would recommend buying an ancient engraved stone or cameo set in a modern gold ring.. Offered in Antiquities on 12 April 2022 at Christie's in New York. When one hears the term ‘ancient jewellery’, it is understandable that many automatically associate it with astronomically high prices.. Offered in Antiquities on 12 April 2022 at Christie's in New York. Christie’s 12 April Antiquities sale in New York features a Western Asiatic Banded Agate Bead Necklace from the late 3rd to early 2nd millennium BC.. Sold for $325,000 in Antiquities on 27 October 2019 at Christie’s in New York. In ancient Mediterranean, Near Eastern and Egyptian cultures, gold and silver were as much a symbol of luxury and status as they are today, and highly valued.. Offered in Antiquities on 12 April 2022 at Christie's in New York. As with any ancient work of art, knowing the provenance of an object is essential and can add another interesting dimension to ancient jewellery.. ‘Ancient diamonds were not cut as they are in contemporary jewellery,’ Solomon explains.. Diamonds were, however, prominently exploited for their durability and used to carve images into other stones.
Vintage jewelry is jewelry that is at least 30 years old, while antique jewelry must be older than a century.. This means that there are many different types of vintage and antique jewelry based on fashion trends, manufacturing styles, popular materials, and jewelry stamps.. Here's a brief breakdown of the most popular jewelry styles by era:. White gold and platinum were popular, as well as garland designs that incorporated bows and leaves.. Art Nouveau: (1890-1910): Overlapping the Victorian and Edwardian styles, Art Nouveau jewelry is a very distinctive style that's characterized by nature-inspired designs and smooth, sweeping curves.. The colors are more muted and natural, including stones such as opal, amber, and moonstone.. This white gold art deco ring is set with diamonds.. In the UK, however, 9k gold is very popular and this is a common indicator that the item was manufactured there.. Aside from gemstones and metals, different materials were introduced to jewelry at certain points in time.. These were introduced in the late Victorian era, and are different from other synthetic opals that were made from plastic or sparkly glass.. These stones are also popularly used in vintage costume jewelry, especially from Mexican manufacturers.. As a result, a piece of jewelry made from palladium will most likely date from the 1930s or later.. Jewelry stamps or hallmarks on the piece often help determine an item's origins, or even the year it was made.. Metal stamps, such as 14k, 18k, 925 (for sterling silver), and PLAT or 950 for platinum can also help you identify the material.
Of course, the jewelry they wore in the old days was not made like we make it today.. The ancient people wore jewelry made of feathers, bones, shells, and colored pebbles.. Even today, we hear the tales and adventures of people long ago who somehow found luck and fortune because of gemstones and jewelry.. In following the trail or evolution of jewelry from the ancient worlds of Africa to the Mediterranean then Europe and finally the United States, we can see how jewelry evolved over time and is found in jewelry stores today.. There they found mummies encrusted with every imaginable type of jewelry worn, headdresses, necklaces, earrings, rings, crowns, and pins.. Greek jewelry included crowns, earrings, bracelets, rings, hairpins, necklaces, and brooches.. In the Middle Ages the royal family and churches frowned on commoners wearing jewelry or trying to copy their clothes or manners.