5 Simple Steps to Identify of Your Vintage Jewelryby Eric originals Specializing in antique and signed jewelry, certif
With so many styles of jewelry on the market, it can be hard to tell if your thrift store treasure is a genuine antique find or a reproduction.
Start with these simple steps to gather information about the piece.
1. Look at the distinctive features of the design
Architectural geometric designs, as we have seen, were very popular in the jewelry of the 1920s and 1930s. Natural motifs, such as flowers and butterflies, were used in the subtle, poetic forms of the Art Nouveau period of the early 1900s. If your piece has diamonds, examine the pattern and see if it's an old mine-cut diamond — these were made by hand rather than today's laser-cutting machines.
2. Look for signs of wear on the piece
Although some signs of use are normal in all pre-owned jewelry, vintage jewelry has a particularly delicate, lived-in look. Blunt edges and frequent touch points on the ends holding the stones, clasps and earring hooks are gently worn.
Likewise, clasps should open and close very easily, as any resistance will wear away over time. Real pearls will lose luster over the years and vintage pearls will have dull spots on pearls that come into contact with the skin too much.
3. Look closely for any trademarks on it
Any gold jewelry made of real gold must have a purity stamp, expressed either in the "carat" system in twenty-four parts or in the metric system in thousand parts, or sometimes both. For example, an 18-karat gold ring may be stamped 18k (eighteen twenty-four parts gold), or it may say 750 (seven hundred and fifty parts per thousand, or seventy-five percent).
The standard sterling silver we see in jewelry today is usually stamped 925 (nine thousand and twenty-five parts, or ninety-two and a half percent). Older silver pieces may also be marked "sterling" or "coin silver."
4. Keep an eye out for logos or maker's marks
Other markings include symbols indicating where the metal was assayed, a maker's mark with a recognizable brand name or logo, export marks indicating that a piece was made in one country and shipped to another, or pictorial marks indicating other metals.
Here is a great resource on some of the specific markings you can find on vintage and antique jewelry. In particular, keep an eye out for marks from brands that were once popular but no longer exist, regional marks that have since been updated, or alloys that cannot be used in contemporary jewelry. All these will give you clues that you have a valuable old piece.
5. Focus on production methods
In particular, look closely at the closures of the jewelry piece. Some types of clasps, for example, came into use only in the latter part of the last century. One of the most popular clasps in modern bracelets and necklaces, the lobster claw clasp began appearing in jewelry in the 1970s (it looks like a lobster claw).
Made in the early twentieth century with simple C-clasps and safety-pin style clasps, this later evolved into the more complex and secure spring-loaded clasps you'll find on the modern brooch.
Created on Jul 19th 2022 07:28. Viewed 44 times.
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