Jewellery is a luxury item that has been sort after for thousands of years, promoting stature, wealth, personality and much more. Quality jewellery lasts more than one lifetime and can be great to pass down to younger generations for the family.
Jewellery gets more valuable over time which is why it is a great idea to invest in vintage or antique jewellery as these pieces can go for a premium price tag. This is also a great way to invest as the price markup won’t be as high as you would find in any new piece of jewellery.
Buying antique or vintage jewellery isn’t a walk in the park and buying any old piece isn’t necessarily going to get you the best quality for your money, in this article we will go through some areas to consider before purchasing your jewellery.
Differentiating Antique and Vintage
When differentiating vintage jewellery from antique, there is one key question to ask your dealer. That is, “How old is the piece of jewellery?”.
Vintage jewellery is a piece that is anywhere between 30 and 100 years old. Antique is a name to describe the age of an item so this would class as anything over 100 years old.
Vintage jewellery can now be defined as pieces from the:
- Retro Era (1935 – 1950)
- Modern Era (1950s-1980s)
Antique jewellery can now be defined as pieces from the:
- Edwardian Era (1871-1914)
- Georgian Era (1714 – 1837)
- Art Nouveau Era (1890 – 1910)
- Art Deco Era (1915-1935)
Check For Designer Labels & Hallmarks
It is vital to get an expert jeweller to thoroughly examine vintage or antique jewellery for designer labels. As with most old pieces, the hallmark is hidden in places less apparent, and sometimes doesn’t have anything at all.
Like with all jewellery, having a famous signature on a vintage or antique piece increases the value dramatically. An example of this would be the old necklace that was being sold at auction for £6000 until a Chanel engraving was discovered which then made the value rise to £68,500!
If the jewellery has a hallmark, this also shows solid proof of a piece of jewellery that has some value. An easy way to check the authenticity of a piece is through the Gold Traders Website where it will walk you through identifying the hallmark.
Gold Jewellery Valuation
Gold Jewellery has always been a reliable source of investment. Many investors have found that they make more profits by selling pieces just for their gold, rather than the overall quality of the piece itself. Gold in its purest form is 24ct, but this is too soft for gold jewellery makers. The highest purity for jewellery is 22ct, which can be sold for more than twice of the lowest purity of 9ct gold.
Gemstones are a little harder to value so its best to have an expert with you. Gemstones can be extremely valuable and in some cases, sellers will remove the good gemstones off antique jewellery and put them into new jewellery. This makes original antique pieces even more valuable due to transferring stones being a common thing to do meaning there are less original pieces out there.
When valuing any gemstones, it is always important to know the 4 C’s Colour, Carat, Clarity and Cut. This is still the case with antique and vintage jewellery, and more so with diamonds due to them being the highest of value. In the case of diamonds, the bigger, the better.
There are many risks in buying vintage and antique jewellery, and the most common of them all is the authenticity of some pieces. Many opportunity sellers try to sell new pieces which have been treated to look old as well as having old pieces with replica gemstones in.
It is very important to know what you are looking for so that your investment isn’t harmed. Alternatively, you can go to a certified jeweller or auction house. One thing to remember above all else, if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When buying a house, it’s best to check the value of the houses in your area to compare so you don’t pay too much. This is exactly the same as buying old pieces of jewellery to invest in. This can be done through expert auction sites and vintage jewellery seller websites.
By learning the history of products that were made in the same era, will give you a good understanding of the profit margins you can look to make.
Think Long Term
When investing in antique and vintage jewellery, it requires a lot of time thinking long term as well as where you are going to sell it later on. This is due to a piece being highly sort after in one destination but may have little value somewhere else.
It is always best to purchase pieces that have more of an appeal to a higher number of people around the world. This is a safer investment because you aren’t limiting the options of where to sell.
If the jewellery has a great design and brilliant craftsmanship, this piece will most likely be passed through generations and build value. Whereas a unique piece of antique or vintage jewellery can be more of a risk to invest in.
Types of Jewellery To Invest In
There are 3 key types of jewellery that are worth investing in 2021 as this is now a new era for jewellery.
Art Deco: Due to us being in 2021, Art Deco jewellery is now considered antique and is starting to increase in value. Bold designs resonate with today’s buyer, which will increase the value even more in the next 20 years.
Salt Water Pearls: cultivated pearls were huge in the 1920s which saw a downward spiral in natural pearl prices. Today’s market has changed their buying techniques as it is now a lot to do with sustainability and organic materials. This means that natural pearls are doubling their value in recent years so it is a great option for investors.
Jewellery from contemporary Designers: With most luxury designers moving away from the classic look of jewellery, and moving closer to what is on-trend. It is best to look for contemporary designers at goldsmith fairs and pick the best new jewellery they have to offer. This will grow in value over time which is what all good investors need to consider, as these pieces will eventually turn into vintage and antique jewellery.