6 Expert Tips To Authenticate Antique & Vintage Jewellery
Feb 23, 2022 | Montahah Ali
What is the difference between antique and vintage?
The main difference between the two is age, for an item to be considered antique it would have to be at least 100 years old or over and for an item to be considered vintage it should be around 40-50 years old. This rule applies for any item, doesn't matter what it is made out of.
Reason why you should buy antique or vintage jewellery
Antique or vintage jewellery can cost less than the same type of jewellery in modern days since there isn't any manufacturing costs involved and the stone can be cheaper. Old cut stones can save you money since it isn't something that diamond dealers or people prefer, however as people that like collecting are the people that love old cut stones. So it is popular among people that understand and like the style of old cut stones.
Quality is better
As the times have changed so has jewellery style and quality. It is hard to copy or imitate the same style of craftsmanship in antique and vintage jewellery in modern jewellery, which is why the quality is different in both. Antique and vintage jewellery were made by highly skilled jewellerys who took time in each piece which gave them their unique look, style and intricate detail. There is a high standard in this type of jewellery compared to mass produced pieces you find today.
It is an investment
The value of antique and vintage jewellery is more compared to new jewellery since they cant be copied or duplicated. It works the same as a car when you buy a new car it loses its value once you start using it but there is always demand for people that buy vintage and antique cars.
It is unique
It is unlikely for you to find the same exact piece of vintage or antique jewellery because of how unique it is. Antique and vintage jewellery were created with specific designs and detail. It was focused more on the craftsmanship compared to modern pieces which are usually focused on the size of the stone. Since over the years designs and styles have changed this is something else that makes antique and vintage jewellery special because it represents a type of style from its time.
It is ethical and environmentally friendly
Antique and vintage jewellery is ethical and environmentally friendly which is another reason why people like this type of jewellery. It takes a lot of water and energy to mine gemstones and precious metals which is why the majority of new jewellery is produced in a non environmentally friendly way, impacting the environment in a negative way. So when buying an antique or vintage piece you are not wasting new resources instead reusing it which also reduces your carbon footprint.
Some tips to look out for when buying your antique and vintage jewellery
Check out its materials
The material that the jewellery is made out of can affect the amount of its worth, so checking whether it's made out of silver or stainless steel, diamonds or glass rhinestones will tell you the price of the jewellery. This is the way you can tell whether your jewellery is real or fake without an expert eye.
A way to check whether the metal is real is by seeing its hallmark; jewellery have a little mark on them to show what material it is which gives people assurance that it's real. Some of the hallmarks are “925” for sterling silver, “950” for platinum, 18-karat gold bracelet should have the mark “750” or “18k/ct and a 24-carat gold ring would be marked with “999” or “24k/ct”. These are a few of the hallmarks to check out this method of identifying metals has been around for centuries, but now that hallmarks can also be fake there are other methods to tell the materials apart.
Compared to cheaper metals with plating that wears off over time gold never tarnishes. Since it is soft and malleable, it doesn't scratch glass when scraped against a surface. This is something that isn't the best to do since it can damage the jewellery. The way you check whether a diamond is real or not is by doing a fog test. If you breathe on the diamond and it clears straight away then it's a diamond since they don't retain moisture and if it takes a couple of seconds then it's a rhinestone.
Inspect with a lens
Another way to check your jewellery is with a magnifying lens (jeweller’s loupe), investing in a good lens with a 10x zoom can be a good way to check your antique and vintage jewellery. The average prices for a jeweller's loupe cost from £10 to £30, you will have to learn and train a little on how to use one beforehand so that when you examine your diamonds and gemstone you know what you're looking out for. When you have a diamond picked out it should come with a gem report, then you can use your lens to check the numbers lasered on the diamond girdle, the narrow vertical plane circumventing it matches correctly to the report.
The lens can also identify whether materials have been changed or replaced, when looking at precious gemstones you can usually see natural imperfections that are called inclusions, this is something you can spot close up only with the magnifying lens. If you can see bubbles in the diamond that means it's a fake and is usually made from glass. Another way you can tell whether your diamond is real or not is by checking their facet edges close up. Since diamonds are the hardest gem in the world the edges should be sharp and accurate. Fake stones have dull edges that also look rounded.
Find out its designer
The value of a jewellery can also come from the designer who made it, instead of just the materials it's made from. But it's not only about finding a great deal on an antique or vintage object produced by a well-known designer. If a buyer misses it and you pick it, it can be worth a lot of money at auction. There are many famous brands that till this day search for their own pieces to buy back such as Tiffany, Cartier, Coco Chanel and more.
The way that you can find out whether a piece was made by a designer or not is by checking whether it's been marked with a logo or signature of the designer. So using your magnifying lens search the jewellery and look for a logo or signature that's by the designer, however there are many fakes out there so a mark isn't the only way to tell if it is authentic this is something to look into beforehand.
Pay attention to the jewellery's style
Iconic vintage jewellery designers are iconic for a reason because of their signature style and design which makes it stand out immediately. So even if a piece doesn't have a logo or signature there are other ways to tell who the designer is, by doing your research and remembering certain designers styles you can spot their jewellery instantly. Different designers are known for their different styles.
So even if your item isn't made by a big and well known designer, recognising their style can help you find out if it's an authentic antique or vintage piece. The trend for jewellery in the mid 20th century was known to change very quickly all the time, such as the use of bold colours and bold designs compared to the earlier times where most pieces were more refined. So doing your research on different trends, styles and designs from a certain time period can help you figure out when an antique or vintage piece was made and what the value could be.
Observe its craftsmanship
Antique and vintage jewellery was not mass produced compared to the jewellery we find today. Jewellery made before the 1940s and 1950s were handmade, after this large scale manufacturing process became common so majority jewellery after this time was mass produced. The best way to tell whether the jewellery is authentic antique or vintage jewellery by the way it's been constructed. Mass produced jewellery is made from moulds which are produced in big quantities, quickly and usually cheaply compared to handmade items which are unique and rarely look exactly the same.
Check to see if your jewellery has different textures created on them if it does then most likely your piece is handmade. Looking at each section and piece part of the jewellery such as the clasp, wires, bases etc can also help you spot whether it's authentically antique or vintage jewellery or if it's been mass produced. If it's an authentic piece it will finished nicely throughout the whole piece compared to fakes which come with low quality elements. Handmade pieces are one of a kind which buyers love the most and it's what makes it easy to spot that it is an antique or vintage piece.
Get an expert’s opinion
Even though these tips and techniques can help you spot an authentic antique or vintage jewellery, the best way to check is by getting an expert's opinion to check if the jewellery is authentic and to find the value of the jewellery. Experts have studied different designers, styles, trends across various time periods which makes them specialists in the area of antique and vintage jewellery. Online search can lead you to many different sources and evaluation of antique and vintage jewellery so you have to carefully check when doing your research.
Since the antique and vintage market is huge, having experts say can save you from buying fakes and copies which can ruin your experience buying one of a kind pieces.
In conclusion the best way to check whether your antique or vintage jewellery is authentic is by following these tips. Doing your research can help you in your process of picking out antique and vintage jewellery and make sure to also get a expects say that way you know properly what kind of jewellery you are buying
We hope you enjoyed this blog! In the meantime why not read this blog on Exploring The Different Trends With Respect To Using Sustainable Materials For The Handmade Industry?
"Crafting a New Path: How the Handmade Industry is Providing Unique Opportunities for Entrepreneurs"
Jun 02, 2023