Welcome to my first of many “Couture Conversations” with you. I hope you find our conversations both enjoyable and of value.
Many new collectors of vintage jewelry have asked me what to look for to assure they are buying “Quality” pieces to add to their collections. Of course each person has a unique viewpoint or “sense of beauty” however here is a Quick Guide that includes the general characteristics that help determine a “Quality” purchase.
2. Assure mechanics work. Again, I have collected a huge box of jewelry purchased hastily that later I found not mechanically sound. “The clasp won’t close, the pin is too short, the bail is backwards, etc. While my intention is to get the piece fixed, it never seems to happen and so the jewelry sits in my “TO FIX BOX” and can’t be worn.
3. Look for jewelry that has clear, sparkly stones that are not dull, dark or unmatched. Moisture is the enemy of vintage jewelry, especially pieces that contain foil backed stones and will definitely decrease the value of any piece of jewelry by destroying the brilliance and clarity of rhinestones or crystals. Unmatched stones may indicate a repair/ replacement has been made. All original is certainly preferred.
4. Look for jewelry that has prong set vs. glued stones. Prong setting is more expensive to do but will make the jewelry stand the test of time much more likely. It should be noted however that many pieces of quality vintage jewelry do have glued stones so this should not be the deciding factor.
7. I also look for bright enameling, something with a historic theme, something that has been worn by a well- known celebrity, something with 3-D or layering or movement because all of these features add to the value of vintage jewelry.