As the gold market continues its strong performance, dancing around the $1,000-per-ounce mark, more collectors are turning to vintage jewelry to add a unique touch to their wardrobes. Vintage jewelry expert Jill Burgum of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, gives advice on how to make sure your money is well spent.
Q: What’s your best advice for beginning jewelry buyers and collectors?
A: My most common advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether you are buying from reputable dealers or from shops. There is also a lot of information you can find online. The Internet is a great way to educate yourself. Also, don’t expect that a modern jewelry seller or store will know much about vintage or estate jewelry. They often don’t because it’s simply not their market.
Q: Does “antique, vintage or estate” jewelry mean lesser quality?
A: Not at all! The common thread among those terms is that the item is previously owned, and there is a lot of value in purchasing estate or previously owned jewelry. First, you can get great deals. The premium paid when purchasing a brand new piece at full retail price will not be transferred once that same item is resold. It’s an excellent way to purchase designer names at a fraction of the original price. Also, purchasing estate jewelry is a fantastic way to acquire pieces with “Old World” craftsmanship. This is a lost art. Production costs are prohibitive in today’s market, making it unrealistic from a cost perspective to do a lot of the precision handwork you can find in older pieces of jewelry. Purchasing estate jewelry is also a wonderful way to acquire platinum-set jewelry. Traditionally, platinum jewelry holds its value better than gold jewelry. And don’t forget that you can find diamonds at a fraction of what you would pay at a new jewelry retailer. The savings can be amazing, up to 75 percent.
Q: What’s the one thing you have to look for when buying vintage jewelry?
A: Condition, condition, condition! Don’t overlook damage such as missing prongs, bends and dents.
Q: Anything buyers should be especially wary of?
A: I’m always careful when selecting items that appear as Art Deco. Ask if they really are Art Deco or “Art Deco style” or “Art Deco reproduction.” There will be a significant difference in value and potential resale. You should also ask if the piece is original. Was it always a pendant-brooch or was it originally a brooch that someone altered to make it wearable as a pendant, too? Was the bangle watch originally an Art Deco watch that was later centered in a gold bangle? This is referred to as a “marriage,” meaning a combining of elements, and it affects the piece’s originality and value.
Q: Anything else?
A: Make sure what you are buying is what it is purported to be. Gold vs. gold-filled. Real vs. synthetic. Gemstones vs. glass. You don’t want to purchase a gold jewelry item without gemstones and think that it will go up in value. The gold market fluctuates on a daily basis, but typically not in big enough swings to where you can make money, especially if an item is acquired when the gold market is high.
Q: So how do you distinguish between a good piece and a not-so-good piece?
A: Make sure to check for the quality of craftsmanship, finish, gemstones and repair. Ask yourself if the item is nicely detailed with clean or crisp edges. Check closely to see if the piece displays serious wear. Are there dents or cracks? Are there any signs of repair? Sometimes, yellow gold solder has been used to repair platinum jewelry by unskilled bench jewelers. Definitely keep a keen eye out for signs of lead solder repairs on antique jewelry as this affects the piece’s value. In the case of a bracelet, is the construction stiff vs. flexible? The more flexible piece is better designed and manufactured. Is the piece scratchy? That is a sign of either a new piece or lesser quality of manufacture. If gemstones are involved, are the colors clear, bright and lively? Are they of medium color? Generally, more commercially made items have lighter gemstones of lesser quality, meaning mass production. For diamonds, check the quality. Avoid diamonds that look like snowballs or diamonds appearing like gravel due to heavy inclusions.
Q: What are some of the most collectible names in vintage jewelry and why?
A: There are too many to list, but there are a few “top of the top.” Some of the firms noted for their exquisite designs and craftsmanship include Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Mauboussin, and Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. Their true vintage pieces, made prior to 1960 in Paris, command a premium. There are the rare designers, who are so exclusive that their pieces are unsigned, as in the case of JAR. Others produce limited quantities of very high-quality designs and to come across their works is the equivalent of finding treasures. These include Rene Boivin, Carven French, Pierre Sterle, and Janesich. Among contemporary names, Bvlgari, Harry Winston, Graff, and H. Stern all utilize the finest in both diamonds and colored gemstones.
Q: There seems to be controversy as to whether vintage jewelry is a good investment. What’s your take?
A: For the most part, not consider the majority of jewelry to be what most individuals would traditionally think of as a good investment. It typically isn’t high finance. Is it a money-maker on down the road? No. So why the interest or why should you purchase or care about vintage jewelry? Vintage jewelry, as with contemporary jewelry, is largely an emotional purchase. You have to ask: Does it make me feel good? Does the piece excite me? Do you get a visceral reaction or enjoyment? If the answer is yes, then that particular piece is a good investment in terms of the pleasure value. In my opinion, jewelry is meant to be worn and enjoyed. There is also the sentimental value factor that you attach to items. Was it the one-and-only engagement ring a woman wore? Was the item received for a special occasion such as the birth of a child, a birthday or a milestone? Or was the piece passed down through the generations of a family? Sentiment cannot be measured on the open market. It is entirely and uniquely personal.
Q: What if someone still wants to approach this as an investment?
A: To make a true financial investment, you may want to target designer name materials, because they have a better tendency to retain value or, in some instances, even increase in value. Or you may want to consider larger or higher quality diamonds or rare gemstones for investment purposes. Generally speaking, the items that will hold value are going to be beautifully executed and include fine diamonds or colored gemstones set in gold or platinum. As an aside, and would point out that there are far more pieces out in the marketplace that are unsigned vs. signed, but that should not be a negative factor or a reason to overlook them. Beautiful construction combined with fine materials will always be saleable and in demand.
AN EXPERT’S INSIGHTS
Noted vintage jewelry expert Jill Burgum, who received degrees in bench jewelry manufacturing from Bowman Tech and Stewart’s International and previously worked at Butterfield & Butterfield, offers these tips for today’s vintage jewelry market:
+ Trends: Jewelry follows fashion trends, even when looking at vintage and estate pieces. “Right now,” Burgum says, “1970s fashions are hot — so is yellow gold in textured forms. But be careful. The odds on nugget jewelry and rope chains coming back in style are not good.”
+ Quality: When establishing a jewelry wardrobe, look for timeless designs — a simple pair of moderately sized hoop earrings, three-stone rings, a tennis bracelet, diamond solitaire pendant, or stud earrings.
+ Care: Be aware of how you store your fine jewelry. “Don’t toss it into a jewelry box,” Burgum says. “Diamonds will scratch other gemstones as well as other diamonds.”
+ Upkeep: Keep your jewelry clean — it looks so much better, brighter and fresher. “Occasionally check to make sure stones are tight and not loose. Make sure your pearl necklaces do not have stretched silk cord — an indicator that they should be restrung before a potential loss or breakage occurs.”
+ Recycle: Keep in mind the “green factor” when looking at jewelry. If you have items that are (to you) outdated or damaged, turn it into cash that can be applied towards the purchase of something else you would like, or use the money to pay bills or take a trip. “The metal,” Burgum adds, “can also be melted and made into another item. Gemstones can be removed from one item and utilized in another. Be creative.”
Silver is a precious metal that has been utilized to make jewelry and other items. Pure silver is not feasible to be made into jewelry or other items since it’s too soft making it less durable. Silver is mixed with other metals to harden it and make it wearable and durable. The sterling silver is a known mixture of silver and one more metal.
The most frequent metal employed to add to pure silver is copper. Aside from copper, individuals also use germanium, zinc and platinum. The other metals are employed instead of copper for some factors such as decreased effect of tarnishing; lessen firescale and other disadvantages of using copper. Sterling silver jewelry cannot be marked with sterling silver, solid silver, silver or Ster., if it doesn’t contain at least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% is made of other metals to create and alloy. Since copper is probably the most used metal to produce sterling silver, it supplies durability on the jewelry making the silver harder, a disadvantage of copper is its tendency to tarnish. Whenever you plan to purchase a jewelry made of sterling silver, there are markings that you need to check.
These markings will define if the jewelry you bought is genuinely made of pure sterling silver with 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metal. These are the markings that you should check: 925, .925, 92.5, sterling, ster. These markings are found at the back or the insides of the jewelry. A silver jewelry that does not bear these markings could have lesser percentage of pure silver or it really is not made of silver at all. Caring for your sterling silver jewelry is effortless. Since sterling silver generally has copper as the additive metal, you have to maintain your jewelry in cloths or bags that prevents tarnishing. Keep your jewelry in a cool and dry location to keep it from tarnishing. You will also need to clean your jewelry once in a while this would be to maintain it bright and shining. Polishing cloths are employed to clean and polish your silver jewelry. You are able to also locate other formulas which are added to clean your jewelry.
What you might want to avoid is using toothpaste to clean and polish your silver jewelry. Toothpaste can leave abrasions and scratches on your item. In the event you desire to know a lot more about how you can care and clean your jewelry, it is possible to ask any jeweler for more info.
The price of silver has grown steadily over time, creating greater value and demand. Like gold and platinum, silver is a precious metal, giving it worth beyond its decorative purpose. As a definition, metals are considered precious when they are deemed rare. Historically, silver, like gold, has been used as currency. Today, it is considered primarily for investments and jewelry. Truly, the market value is an added incentive in buying silver jewelry. However, when shopping for silver jewelry online, it is important to follow a few guidelines to ensure a worthwhile transaction. First, it is important to establish the credibility of any e-retailer site you should visit.
Look for icons referring to established third party organizations that deal with consumer reviews and information security. Usually you can look at a certificate or company information on the third party sites giving you an objective view of the e-retailer in question. Check the dates on those certificates to make sure they are recent and not expired. Next, check the warranty. There should be at least 30 days offered for both refunds and exchanges. A reputable retailer will always back their product with a strong warranty. Feel free to call you e-retailer to ask about the warranty. You can get a good idea about the level of customer service by their response. Once you have established the credibility of your chosen e-retailer and verified a strong warranty, it’s time to browse and find your jewelry!After settling on a desirable piece of silver jewelry, do a quick inspection. Look in the description area to establish that the jewelry is in fact,.925 sterling silver. This means that the item is made with 92.5% silver, mixed with various alloys. This is the industry standard and is the highest level of silver used in the jewelry today. Silver is too soft, in its purest form, for decorative wear. Authentic silver jewelry is stamped with.925, indicating purity and authenticity. If not visible in the picture, you can either call or email to confirm the existence of a stamp or simply wait to inspect the jewelry immediately upon receiving it. OK, so you have a real piece of sterling silver, but what about the finish? Silver jewelry is not naturally shiny, but a rather dull grayish tone.
Therefore, it requires some finishing work for public consumption. The surface of any piece of silver jewelry can be finished with several techniques. Rhodium coated silver is the most costly of finishes. Here, a ring or pendant is coated with Rhodium, the most expensive of precious metals, used primarily to coat gold jewelry. The benefit is a great shine with added protection from tarnish for your silver jewelry. Some manufactures will polish the silver to a strong shine. This technique takes time as buffing requires handcrafting and may be reflected in the price of the jewelry. The benefit is a more perfect piece, featuring a smooth service without nicks and imperfections. Nickel plating and enamel coating is used primarily with Italian chains such as the Figaro, Curb and Marina designs.
The benefit is protection against tarnishing. Silver jewelry in general begins to darken, or tarnish, over time through a process called oxidation, a chemical reaction between silver and oxygen. This does not devalue the silver metal itself and may take years to show. It is important to note that in some cases, silver jewelry that contains nickel may cause an allergic reaction, specifically, in the form of green skin. It is not particularly dangerous and quite rare. Question the e-retailer about hypoallergenic, nickel free silver jewelry. Follow these simple guideline and you’re sure to walk away with a safe, secure and satisfying experience with the breadth of silver jewelry available online.[Top]
As per the provisions of federal law, the sterling silver jewelry needs to be made from an alloy consisting of least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.2 % of the alloy can compose any type of metal. Normally, the jewelry manufacturers made these jewelries by combining platinum or copper with the pure silver. The high percentage of pure silver is also responsible for providing sterling silver jewelry with the impressive and attractive shine. Also, these jewelries are priced high because of the alloy composing of 92.5% pure silver. However, many people love to appraise the jewelries to buy the best quality items on their predetermined budget.
1. Clean the Jewelry: When you decide to appraise the sterling silver jewelry, you have to start by cleaning the piece thoroughly. Use a soft cloth and clean the jewelry by buffing out the tarnish. You also have to ensure that fingerprints and similar temporary markings are completely wiped off during the cleaning process. If the tarnish is heavy, you have to consider using some specially designed chemicals available in the market as tarnish dip. Many people use silver polish to clean the sterling silver jewelry, but the polish is not strong and effective enough to properly clean the grooves and crevices developed in the jewelry piece.
2. Inspect the Piece Using a Magnifying Glass: Most of the sterling silver jewelry is launched by the manufacturer with quality marks. You can use a magnifying glass and inspect the piece thoroughly to identify the quality marks. Most of the jewelries made of sterling silver normally carried two quality marks. One of these marks will highlight the name, brand or logo of the sterling silver jewelry manufacturer, whereas the second mark will mention sterling, st er., 925 or .925. If the jewelry piece does not mention the silver percentage, the alloy is most likely coin silver and not sterling silver.
3. Consult an Expert: Sometimes the thorough cleaning and inspection using a magnifying glass may not satisfy a skeptical sterling silver jewelry buyer. So these people prefer to avail the professional assistance of an expert. You can contact a person having experience and expertise in identifying and pricing silver jewelry to ensure that you are getting the best and authentic sterling silver jewelry. You can even refer to some on-line material to determine the true price of these jewelries based on specific criterion.
4. Ask Permission of the Seller to Appraise the Jewelry: As the customers frequently request to appraise the sterling silver jewelry before buying the piece, many jewelry store owners retain the services of professional silver appraisers. As you may not be able to fix an appointment with the appraiser, you can always ask the seller to get the jewelry piece identified and appraised. However, it is very much important for a buyer to ensure that the silver appraiser is experienced and reliable.
The method and technique of appraising the sterling silver jewelry will differ based on the convenience of the buyer. You can spend some time in evaluating the piece on your own, or save time by availing the assistance of a professional silver appraiser.
When someone passes on, sometimes its expected and sometimes its not. Even when it is expected, the death may occur more quickly than anticipated. Its because of this, it is important to have a will. Another option is to give valuables that you dont use to those who you want to have them while youre alive. Preparing for someone or yourself to pass away can be difficult, painful, and emotional. Preparing ahead of time is one of the best ways to make sure your belongings go to the people you want to have them. Jewelry is an asset that not only is valuable financially but also will have sentimental value. Jewelry is a good place to start when making decisions about who will inherit or receive assets.
The first thing to do is to take inventory of what you have. It should be sorted by cash value, use, and sentimental value. The jewelry that you dont use should be given away if possible to those who you believe want it, if it has no sentimental value and there is not anyone to pass it on to, consider selling the jewelry and using the money for investments or gifts. If you want it to go to someone who may not be old enough to own it yet, add it to the will. For jewelry items with high sentimental value, a will could stipulate that it should never be sold, only passed along to family members.
Discuss with family
Jewelry you thought someone might be interested in owning might not care to own the jewelry. The jewelry can then be sold and the money could be used to purchase jewelry that person would enjoy wearing and remember you by. Some jewelry may not have cash value, but means a lot to a family member, but they never told you. Talking with family will eliminate hard feelings later. Remember, it may be hard for some people to talk about, so it will be important to understand.
Jewelry that is used regularly should be included in the will. After you pass on, it can be given to individuals or the will can have instructions for an executor to sell it and split the money among family members. Anything that can be given away or sold ahead of time should be.[Top]
China’s fashion jewelry market after a few short years time by a few years ago, has accounted for only 1% of the world in the forefront of the world, after the United States and Japan. In 2005 China’s total sales of jewellery market about 140 billion yuan, 5.49 billion of export sales, in the front row, the gold output reached 225 tons, silver amounted to 6000 tons, ranked fourth in the world and the third. In 2006, with the development of China’s economy, people’s consumption level, the fashion jewellery is become the housing, Wholesale Fashion Jewelrycars after China people’s third largest consumption hotspot. And by 2007, the market more prosperous, according to the ministry of commerce of the key enterprise of flow data show that the monitoring 2007 1 to 5 month of gold and silver jewelry consumption than the same period in 2006, the accumulative increase 34.6%, is 28 categories of goods monitoring the fastest growing goods.
In addition, August 2007 national gold and silver jewelry consumption jumped 53%. In the third quarter of 2008 gold demand is strong, up to us $31.8 billion, including investment demand a 51% increase over 2007. It is estimated that by 2010, China’s jewelry years total sales more than 200 billion yuan, exports more than us $7 billion, is expected to become the global fashion jewelry processing and consumption center, and will become one of the world trade center. One of the jewelry 2009 years is a jewelry industry will fittings of the year, the jeweler if “love for”, that is definitely an advantage-when people started to cut the budget to buy clothes, they may take some extra money to consider accessories, in order to increase the old car, and new, Fashion Jewelrypeople like existence feeling strong thing, best are more wide belt, big-outline model shoes and handbags, this is the large capacity new fashion world.
The fashion jewellery in recent years China has become the world a few fashion jewelry ornaments spending more than 10 billion dollars in one of the countries. Mainland China consumer groups huge, the four fashionable and Tokyo, Hong Kong and other cities act the role of article years total trade nearly 100 billion us dollars, but Chinese women adorn article per capita share of less than 5% is a huge market potential, visible. For a time, China fashion jewelry market consumption growth will depend mainly on the wedding, diamond consumption and overseas tourists consumption demand to drive the three. In addition, the every year 10 million couples hoping for the consumption of the marriage produced as high as 250 billion yuan. Especially the birth rate as high as 21% of the eighty s was born group will from 2007 to 2012 years or so into the marriage age, only the wedding jewelry consumption is good prospects. The fashion jewellery is to take the lead in international open one of the industry.[Top]