Vintage jewellery is seeing a major comeback in modern fashion. Cynthia Findlay Antiques, which manufactures custom jewellery in Toronto alongside its booming retail business, offers some tips on building your collection of antique jewellery.
Know Your Metals and Gems
One of the qualities you’ll notice in antique engagement rings is the jeweler’s use of metals you don’t often see today. The Edwardian period was marked by the usage of platinum, which was a first for jewellery making throughout history. Other periods, such as Art Noveau, are marked by very shapely and natural forms (like birds, or the female form).
In addition, you’ll find gemstones played an important role in adding color to the designs. When Victoria’s mourning period for Albert ended, she began wearing gold lockets and black jet pieces that helped add more color to the fashion of the early 1900s. It’s common to see art deco rings set with emeralds or onyx, in addition to the more commonly used diamond settings.
These small details will help you identify authentic vintage or antique rings, although you shouldn’t rely on your eye alone if you can avoid it. Wherever possible, get these pieces looked at by an appraiser to verify their authenticity.
Skilled buyers learn to trust their eye, but even they make mistakes. For newbies, it’s always a good idea to shop for appraised pieces, or in a space where you can get appraisal easily.
As you’re shopping, develop a list of what your collection needs and what pieces you’re missing. After doing some travelling to various estate sales and jewelers in your area, you’ll find your collection will expand in no time flat.