Are you a lover of antique jewelry? Vintage jewelry refers to those pieces that are centuries old and are held precious for their historic value. A piece of jewelry that is more than 100 years old is awarded the term 'vintage'. Vintage jewelry originated from the Georgian Period but also extended into other eras such as the Victorian and Edwardian Period. However the definition of vintage is fluid and also refers to jewelry created between the 1920s to the 1970s.
Types of vintage jewelry
There are many types of vintage jewelry such as costume jewelry and fine jewelry. They are usually of high
quality and are made of gold, silver, brass, bronze, copper and stainless steel. Pearls, opals, rubies and other valuable gems are used to adorn these jewels.
Bakelite jewelry belongs to the Depression era and is made of a dense synthetic resin. Book chains and cameos are Victorian era jewelry. Celluloid jewelry, jet jewelry, mourning jewelry made famous by Queen Victoria which comes in black, filigree and micro mosaics are some of the different types of jewelry that each has a story of their own.
Vintage jewelry never goes out of fashion. It comes in many artistic designs, shapes and sizes and can be worn for both formal and casual occasions. Vintage jewelry comes in many creative and unique designs and can be worn with all outfits. They are inimitable pieces which are hardy and tough. They stand against the test of time as their very name suggests. Vintage necklaces, bracelets, charm bracelets, cufflinks, watches, earrings, rings and brooches are extremely coveted pieces that are the current rage in the market.
Buying vintage jewelry
You can buy vintage jewelry at a number of places such as vintage clothing stores, garage sales, sellers' homes and even online on sites. However, it is important that you carefully inspect the items by hand before purchase to avoid receiving damaged items or compromise the quality of the item.
Check the moving areas of the jewelry such as the places where links are found. Some sellers may try to mask the defects in their jewelry, so ensure that the links are well secured. Do not overlook even minute cracks as they can undermine the value of antique jewelry.
Inspect the items in a well lit area, or near a bright window. Return the item to the seller if you are not satisfied with any aspect of the jewelry. Look out for worn plating, dull or cloudy rhinestones, scratches, missing parts or scratched enamel as they lower the value of your jewelry. Never buy jewelry in a hurry, take your time and choose carefully.
Jewelry need not always be signed. A few top designers sell jewelry of high quality but there are also
moderately priced ones available. However if you are buying jewelry to gift someone special, it is wise to pick out a signed piece as they are cherished more.
Quality is the most important thing to bear in mind when purchasing vintage jewelry. High quality jewelry
always retains its value over time. Vintage jewelry is expensive compared to modern jewelry because of the high quality of these items and their antique value. However, what's good about vintage jewelry is that it comes in a variety of price ranges.
Check the weight of the jewelry to ensure quality. Make sure that the gems are bright and shining, and that they are genuine. Fake gems tend to fall out and lack luster.
Seek extra information on the background of the jewelry and its history from the dealer. These make a piece more meaningful. Look out for bad repair work such as replaced missing stones and soldering.
Maintaining vintage jewelry
It is important to care for your vintage jewelry to keep them shining and shimmering and maintain their beauty.
- Dry methods should be used to clean them. Soap and water should not be used.
- Chemicals such as salt water, chlorine, detergents,perfumes and cosmetics are better off kept away from your cherished vintage jewelry.
- There are readymade polishes and cleaning products available in the market specifically to clean vintage jewelry.
- Do not use ultrasonic or acid bath cleaners to clean your jewels especially gems like lapis, malachite, turquoise, malachite or onyx which may become dull or discolored due to this.
- Take your jewels to a reputed store if you prefer having them cleaned by a professional. Don't get misled into getting them cleaned for free, as the service might not be as good as when you pay for it.
- Ensure that you store your jewelry in separate dry air tight boxes wrapped in a soft cloth, so that they don't rub against each other and cause scratches and damage to each other.
- After using jewelry, wipe them gently with a moist cloth, except for your pearls. Delicate jewels such as opal and emerald may be oiled from time to time by a jeweler to protect and maintain them.
- Do not expose your jewelry to heat and light, and do not clean the softer gems with boiling water. Keep your jewels away from extremes in temperature which can cause them to crack. Remove your jewels before sleeping.
- It is preferable not to store your jewels in plastic,use cotton to keep them covered.
- Do not perform household chores or gardening with your antique jewelry on, as this may cause wear and tear of the jewelry and make them come in contact with harsh detergents