Monday, 11 June 2018

All About Vintage Jewellery

There are some beautiful vintage jewellery pieces around, and if you love jewellery as much as me, you may have some items already, handed down from a loved one. However, If you want to increase your collection you may wonder where the best places are to buy vintage jewellery. In this article, I will let you into some secrets, and put you in the best position to buy some special vintage jewellery, that you will love for years to come. 

There are so many reasons to buy vintage and antique jewellery. The difference between vintage and antique jewellery is technically the age, vintage jewellery needs to be at least 20 years old and antique jewellery over 100 years old, however, those of us who are non-experts often use the term vintage to describe antique jewellery.

Why should you buy vintage jewellery?




The main reasons to buy vintage jewellery are quality, uniqueness, as an investment and as an ethical choice.

Quality

Many items of vintage jewellery are handmade or made in smaller quantities and have the craftsmanship that mass produced pieces of jewellery of today do not have. If you think of the saying "they don't make things like they used to" then you know exactly what I mean. 

If you are buying vintage or antique jewellery from the UK always look for a hallmark, this is a minimum standard of purity of gold, silver, platinum and palladium and is a quality mark. Of course, costume jewellery won't have this mark, so look for quality and craftsmanship in how it is made and for well-known names such as Butler and Wilson. 

Uniqueness

It's unlikely that you will come across two pieces of vintage jewellery exactly the same, and the older the item is, the less likely that this will be the case. It's special to think that you will own something that is unique and different. It will also have a story behind the item. It could have been given to a lost love, to a mother, to a sister, to a friend - it has history and provenance. 

Investment 

Vintage jewellery can be good value for money and can increase with value over time. Also, certain brands of vintage jewellery such as Chanel, Cartier and Van Clef and Arpels can request a higher price tag too, so are perfect items to invest in, especially if you buy them at a good price as they will keep their value.

Ethical choice

Rather than buy a new item of jewellery, when you buy a vintage piece you are making an ethical choice, to reuse and treasure someone's cast offs. The item will be worn, treasured, and cared for again.

Where can you buy vintage jewellery?





Websites

You can buy vintage jewellery online at a number of places. Sites such as Etsy may have upcycled or vintage jewellery and is good for costume pieces. eBay has vintage jewellery for sale too but eBay has its risks, if you are buying from someone that's not a business, you have a risk that the item isn't what they say it is. Facebook has selling groups that you can pick up a bargain but again be careful when buying from someone you don't know online.

Websites like Lillicoco which is a specialist vintage and antique online jewellery store, have a range of antique and vintage jewellery, that has been looked after.  With a wide range of jewellery from Art Deco diamond rings to antique Georgian steel bangles, you will be spoilt or choice when you choose your next vintage investment. With tracked delivery, you have peace of mind too, and it's safer than buying from an individual you don't know. 

Charity or thrift stores

If you are lucky you may find that amazing piece of jewellery at a charity store. Often charity shops in wealthy areas have the best chance of finding a bargain. Staff, many who are volunteers, do not have the expertise of jewellery store staff so you may find something priced lower than it should be.

Antique Fairs and markets

You can find some lovely items of vintage jewellery at antique fairs, but it is rare you will get a bargain, as most people have shops or businesses where they sell these items.  

There are some markets that specialise in antique jewellery such as Portobello Road market in London. It's an iconic market with a huge amount of stalls. Will you find a bargain here? Well, you never know but you will more likely pay London prices for your vintage or antique item.

Auctions

Bidding for a vintage or antique piece of jewellery at an auction can be an exciting way to make a purchase.  Be sure to read about the item beforehand in the auction guide and set a price in your head that you do not want to go above, or you could get carried away and bid too much.

Jewellers

A traditional jeweller often has a second-hand section, where you can find a cool vintage piece. Of course, the jeweller has to make money on the item so it may not be as cheap as you think it should be. A jeweller is often more likely to sell antique items made of silver and gold so you are unlikely to find vintage items that are costume jewellery here.

How should you care for vintage jewellery?




All jewellery should be looked after with care but with vintage jewellery, you have the addition of the age of the item to worry about. 

Store your jewellery in a dry place away from direct sunlight and extremes of heat or cold. If you have the box all the better or store in acid-free tissue or cotton. Silver can oxidise and go black in the air so it is a good idea to store with a little packet of silica gel that absorbs moisture and helps keep its shine. 

Always wear with care, and do not spray perfume or hairspray around vintage jewellery and ensure any body lotions or creams are kept out of contact with the jewellery. 

If the item is fragile or made of costume jewellery, do not clean, take to a jeweller and act on their advice. If you are keeping the item for investment purposes you should also not clean it yourself and should seek professional advice as cleaning could alter the value.

If you bought the jewellery to wear, it is well made, has no loose parts, is of gold, silver, or platinum, has no organic materials (made of coral, pearl or amber for example) you can clean the item carefully. Use a soft toothbrush and very light solution of dish detergent and warm water. Rinse, then dry carefully with a soft lint-free cloth, and then buff with a special jewellery gold or silver cloth and a very light touch. If in doubt though always seek professional advice. If you have a special gold, silver or platinum jewellery liquid, always follow the instructions. 

Let me know, do you have any vintage jewellery?


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9 comments

  1. I love the idea of owning something vintage and jewellery just has something magical about it once you know it’s been around a long time!

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  2. I love the idea of buying vintage as an ethical choice -- I am trying to cut down on waste and on needless purchases, but buying used means I am giving new life to something that might have ended up in landfill otherwise :)

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  3. I have a few items of vintage jewellery I love them and always get people asking where I buy them all the time 😊

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  4. My Mum loves buying vintage jewellery. She always says the quality is so much better than what you can buy nowadays.

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  5. I love it when a piece of jewellery is passed down to me, particulalry when I perhaps never even knew it had existed. Its really special and of course the vintage pieces can be so much more beautiful. Mich x

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  6. I'd love to invest in antique jewellery! If it's lasted over 100 years it's pretty much a piece of jewellery for eternity and how lovely is it to pass it down through generations. x

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  7. Vintage jewellery is always so pretty. Like you say it is always so much better made than todays too. I have a couple of antique necklaces passed down to me through the family but as they are so sentimental I never wear them.

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  8. Before reading this post, I didn't know the difference between vintage jewellery and antique jewellery. I always mistake one for the other.

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  9. I love the idea of being able to support an 'ethical choice' when it comes to purchasing jewellery. And like you said vintage jewellery does increase in value over time too!

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