New Items at Vintage Jewelry Online.com
This month’s newest collection features some distinctive and some dazzling items that are just perfect for Mother’s Day, including an 1858 tortoiseshell date book from France, a South Seas natural red oxblood coral bead bracelet that is beautifully matched, a runway faux Aquamarine and paste large rhinestone dinner ring, two red bakelite transparent, diamond cut necklaces and a modern George Jensen pin. Many Victorian fine and signed costume pieces have also been added. To see them all in a group, click here
Here are this months featured items. I hope you enjoy previewing them. The new featured highlights are found on the home page and include:
- a spectacular sterling enamel & cabochon Deco bracelet #AS-00047
- a glistening red diamond transparent bakelite 1930’s necklace #CB-00156
- a hard to find Miriam Haskell 2 piece, cluster & chain necklace set #CS-00177
- a hard to find Georg Jensen mid-century modern pin #CE-00040
- an attributed Hollycraft 4 piece rhinestone classic parure #CU-00050
- a timeless 35″ ivory and gold necklace #FG-00125
- a dramatic red oxblood coral South Seas bracelet #VE-00199
How to Value & Select Vintage Costume Jewelry — “Buy What you Like”
I’m frequently asked, when there is so much costume jewelry available, how do I know what to buy? And how do I know its worth? In itself, vintage costume jewelry has minimal innate value because it does not contain gold, platinum or precious gems typically found in what we think of as “Estate Jewelry” or “Fine Jewelry”. So its value is determined on other factors that allow us to compare one piece of jewelry to another. But after you have “assessed the value” of the jewelry, I practice one golden rule, “buy what you like” and you will never tire of your collection.
Assessing Vintage Costume Jewelry —
As you assess vintage costume jewelry, keep these important characteristics in mind as you determine its value and what you are willing to pay for it:
- Artist Worth
- Current Trends
Condition is probably the most important aspect in evaluating jewelry. And whether or not you decide to purchase it, in spite of its condition is a very personal decision. You might not mind if some of the rhinestones have darkened if it is rare piece you have been searching months or even years to find. You want to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I need the piece to be out of the box mint, never worn with perhaps a bit of tarnish?
- Does the item need to be in excellent condition with no yellowed or missing stones, chips, and no worn edges and looks perfect to the naked eye?
- Can I live with very good to good condition where some of stones might be faded, show some abrasion, or even missing but can be easily replaced; some minor wear may appear on the metal in the front, or there may be subtle wear to the enamel?
- Can I live with the piece being in fair condition where there is more noticeable wear to the naked eye, including worn metal, enamel and heavier fading and missing stones?
The better condition, the higher the value.
Quality and condition go hand in hand. But just as we evaluate a diamond by the “3 C’s”, we can use the same standard to evaluate the quality of costume jewelry.
- How does the color of the stones appear? Are they solid and reflective or is the color faded?
- What about the cut of the stones? Does light come through and is the reflection good? Are there interesting and a variety of cuts, shapes and sizes in the piece? Or are there abrasions or chipping of the stones?
- And what about the clarity? Are they brilliant, simply clear or are they speckled or have inclusions?
The better the 3 C’s, the higher the value.
The more interesting design, the better material and stronger construction, the higher the value.
- Is the piece signed or not? Some well-known artists are renown for their pieces because of superior craftsmanship, attention to detail as well as the subject matter. Haskell, Schreiner, DEJA, Eisenberg, Trifari, Boucher and Coro are just a few of the more well known, higher priced designers. But even within a company, there are lesser-valued items because their construction, the subject matter or attention to detail is not as great as others. Most companies produced low, medium and high-end items.
- Just because the piece is not signed does not mean it has less value. Many designers did not immediately sign their pieces when they first started out which is why you will see items described as “attributed to”. Early unsigned Miriam Haskell items sell at a premium.
- Even if it is an unmarked, non-designer piece, it does not mean it has less value either. If the piece is well constructed, has a great design and great detail, and is in excellent condition, it can run into the $100’s of dollars, similar to a signed piece of jewelry.
The more superior craftsmanship, attention to detail and more intriguing subject matter the higher the value.
- The more rare the piece and harder it is to find commands, generally speaking, significantly higher prices. Some of these may be signed and others may not. The most expensive items will be those that are one of a kind, in excellent or mint condition with superb design features.
- What stage of collector are you? Are you just starting out? If so, more ample items with high availability might be what you want to start with. These tend to be less expensive and more readily available.
The one of a kind items will have higher value.
- Trends come and go. So if you purchase the newest item that is the latest trend you will pay a premium for it. But that does not mean 6 months it will be as highly valued as when you purchased it.
- Buy what you like and you will always be increasing the value of your collection according to your personal taste.
- Know your style and what you feel comfortable with. Do you have a look you try and cultivate? Then buy jewelry that fits the look, but don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and experiment every once in awhile.
Do’s of Valuing Costume Jewelry —
- Do purchase some good reference books and begin educating yourself. (See the March 2006, Vintage Jewelry Unleashed newsletter for my recommended book list).
- Look at on-line auctions and see what the market is bearing for what styles and designers.
- Go to antique stores to see how antique dealers are pricing items.
- Visit web based vintage jewelry sites and compare, compare, compare.
Jewelry and Fashion Trends
In a word, lockets are this springs romantic must haves. Not since the Victorian and Edwardian periods have these lovely keepsakes been so coveted, whether they are gold, gold filled, sterling or covered with enamel or jewels these are timeless treasures that never go out of style. See the fabulous:
- Etruscan 15k Gold Combination Pin/Locket #FG-00007
- tri-color gold Victorian locket on velvet chain #VE-00041
- museum quality enamel 18th century locket on velvet chain #VE-00051
- ornate Etruscan 1860 locket #VE-00163
Big, showy cocktail rings and gold bracelets are on the top favorite lists this spring, whether they are costume or authentic gold. So make sure you have at least a new one of each to dramatize your look.
- Faux aquamarine & paste Deco sterling ring #AS-00048
- blue lapis cabochon & seed pearls Edwardian showy ring #FG-00018
- 3-Dimensional grape motif retro 1940’s hinged bracelet #CU-00003
- 14k gold, diamond and garnet 1860 bracelet #FG-00030
Link Chains and beads are still ever present and becoming today’s and tomorrow’s jewelry box staples.
- 61″ sterling link Victorian necklace #VE-00042
- 16″ long oxblood 12mm coral Edwardian necklace #VE-00162
- 15″ brilliant yellow double strand bakelite necklace #CB-00013
Black & White are a big hit this season with jackets, skirts, purses and shoes, so choose great black and white jewelry and make sure you mix and match.
- cut out polka dot peach & cream celluloid necklace #CB-00015
- crystal rhondel sparkling parure #CU-00009
- DeMario pink and white pearl necklace & earrings set #CS-00063