TRAINING THE EYE
The current market for vintage jewelry is still buoyant and the key element to buying well is high quality and condition. Antique costume jewelry by brands like Elsa Schiaparelli, Marcel Boucher and Miriam Haskell continually retains its value.
Be aware of corroded or damaged plating, murky rhinestones, absent or cracked stones and chipped enamel. While marks in gold and silver can be restored, blisters, fractures or holes can’t be restored.
Fastening should invariably be examined to see if it still functions effectively, and stay away from any pieces of jewelry with obvious soldering, since this possibly means it has been repaired at some point. Find out more: lecoultre Watch vintage.
Refrain from more pricey items until you have developed your ‘eye’ — remember it will be a approach of trial and error.
LOOK FOR HIDDEN GEMS
There are apparent opportunities for selecting vintage jewelry such as specialist jewelry fairs, retro clothing markets, charity stores and car boot fairs.
Lille, in France, has Europe’s largest flea market all through the first week-end of September where two million stall holders take over the city — the aura is fantastic and there is a large amount of vintage jewellery to be purchased at discount prices.
Search for the forgotten greats — the 70s was a time of experimental jewelry design by specialists like the Canadians Robert Larin and Gilles Vidal and continues to be exceptionally undervalued.
Make sure to foresee potential collectables, too, in particular catwalk collaborators such as Shaun Leane whose work graced many of Alexander McQueen’s catwalk exhibitions.
UNCOVER EACH ERA
Every period of time has its own language of design that can be detected if you’ve done your research and familiarised yourself with its shape and form. Art Nouveau jewelry (1890-1910) is linear and sinuous, with motifs like the dragonfly and peacock drawn from nature.
Small stones are often adorned all over the whole instead of the more elaborate single gems of the Victorian era. Enamel work like cloisonné, where the sections of enamel are characterized by wire as in a stained glass window, was popular.
Art Deco jewelry (1920-1930s) is geometrical, streamlined and elegant with a focus on squares and sharp-edge rectangles. Plastics such as Bakelite were used in large multi-coloured bangles and figurative bands.
From the Forties through to the early 1960s, floral styles held sway and knuckle-duster cocktail rings in hefty gold-tone metal were arranged with sparkling faux gems.
The mid-to-late 60s went space age and plastics were integrated into Op Art and Psychedelic–inspired jewelry.
The Seventies were denoted by imaginative body jewelry and huge stainless steel pendants for both men and women.
By the Eighties, fashion designers moved into jewelry design and logo-mania took control with brashly confident and frankly phony gold bangles, baubles and beads in the shape of Chanel’s distinctive double ‘C’s’ or a Givenchy ‘G’ worn with a Dynasty-influenced power suit.
DISCOVER THE FAKES
Professional tips: Coco Chanel once said ‘jewellery is not crafted to give ladies an aura of wealth, but to make them look beautiful’
Examine any dust around the stones that could possibly reveal age, and consider the design of the clasp — is it appropriate with the time of the piece?
Feel the weight of the jewelry and acquaint yourself with the brand signatures and stamps of the designers. And always challenge anything, specifically on the internet, which seems like a real bargain — it most probably isn’t.
When purchasing a diamond, always remember the four ‘Cs’ — colour, cut, carat and clarity. A diamond is a really expensive stone, so the position will never be poor quality.
Authentic diamonds don’t twinkle like rainbows; their light is white and grey. Inhale over a diamond — the mist from your breath of air should disappear instantly. When it remains for more than 2 to 3 seconds, it’s a fake.
Pearls must be held under a bright light and inspected for differences in color and iridescence — if the pearls are indistinguishable in shape and colour, they’re fake. Take the pearl and wipe it gently over the surface of your teeth — a genuine pearl should feel a little gritty.
Opt for quality. Authentic pearls are heavier than fake pearls, and are generally knotted between every pearl and have sterling silver clasps with safety chains.
A tremendous amount of fake Bakelite (or Fakelite — a type of plastic) is on the market right now, much of it developed in India. If some thing looks to have no apparent signs of wear, steer clear of it.
To test for the genuine thing, give the Bakelite a lively rub of your finger and then quickly smell it — it should have a camphor-like smell.
KEEP AND PRESERVE
Jewellery consisting of irreplaceable gemstones should always be stored individually, due to the fact that even the toughest stones can chip. Personal cloth pouches can be bought from the majority of jewellery stores and will prevent stones from accidentally scuffing one another in your jewellery chest.
Pearls are fragile and likely to develop damage from pollution; they’ll also be tainted by contact with your makeup, so make certain they are the last thing to put on before you leave the house. Rub with a soft, lint-free material and don’t take them on holiday — pearls must not be in contact with chlorinated water or sun cream, and may be damaged if exposed to too much heat.
Bakelite is susceptible to sunlight, which causes it to discolour or fade, so keep it away from direct light and preserve by covering in a soft cloth. It doesn’t react well to differences in temperature and can often split when held in plastic.
Wash by hand in soapy water, dry out with a soft towel and then use a polish like Turtle Wax to polish and eliminate small scuffmarks.