Antique Costume Jewelry: How to Identify and Determine Value

Do you have a fascination for vintage jewelry? Antique costume jewelry has always been in demand because of its unique design, beauty, and craftsmanship. Over the years, it has become a collector’s item and, as a result, its value has increased significantly. But do you know how to identify and determine the value of rare antique jewelry? In this article, we will explore various aspects of identifying and determining the value of vintage costume jewelry.

How do I identify costume jewelry?

Costume jewelry, also known as fashion jewelry, is made from low-cost materials like metal alloys, glass, plastic, and other synthetic materials. To identify costume jewelry, you can follow these tips:

  1. Look for marks: Costume jewelry is usually marked with the manufacturer’s name or initials, country of origin, and sometimes the date. You can find these marks on the backside of the jewelry.

  2. Inspect the stones: Costume jewelry often uses glass or plastic stones instead of precious stones like diamonds or rubies. Costume jewelry also uses stones that are a little heavier than real stones.

  3. Check for weight: Real jewelry is usually heavier than costume jewelry. You can compare the weight of similar pieces made from different materials to identify costume jewelry.

  4. Look for quality: Real jewelry is made from quality materials, so it has a smooth finish and is free of rough edges. On the other hand, costume jewelry is usually made from cheap materials, so it might have rough edges.

  5. Examine the clasps: Real jewelry has high-quality clasps, while costume jewelry usually has simple clasps that may wear out over time.

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Vintage jewelry

Vintage jewelry is any jewelry that is at least 20-30 years old. This means that vintage jewelry can include pieces from the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. If you have inherited vintage jewelry or want to start a collection, you should know how to identify and value it.

Vintage jewelry can be classified into three categories:

  1. Art Deco (1920s and 1930s): Art Deco jewelry is known for its symmetrical designs, geometric shapes, and use of bright colors.

  2. Retro (1940s): Retro jewelry is known for its large and chunky designs, exaggerated curves, and use of colorful stones.

  3. Mid-Century Modern (1950s and 1960s): Mid-Century Modern jewelry is known for its abstract and asymmetrical designs, futuristic shapes, and use of mixed metals.

How do I know if my old jewelry is valuable?

To determine the value of antique costume jewelry, you need to consider its rarity, quality, and provenance. Here are some tips to help you determine the value of your old jewelry:

  1. Look for marks: As mentioned earlier, marks on the jewelry can provide information about its value.

  2. Seek professional appraisal: You can take your jewelry to an appraiser who specializes in antique costume jewelry. They can provide accurate information on the value of your jewelry.

  3. Check auction houses: You can check auction houses to see if similar pieces of jewelry have been sold and at what price.

  4. Online research: You can conduct online research to see how much similar pieces are selling for.

What is considered vintage costume jewelry?

Vintage costume jewelry is any jewelry that is at least 20-30 years old and is made from non-precious materials. This includes materials like rhinestones, glass, metal alloys, and plastic. Vintage costume jewelry is popular among collectors and fashion enthusiasts because of its unique designs and affordability.

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Is vintage costume jewelry worth anything?

Yes, vintage costume jewelry is worth money. The value of vintage costume jewelry depends on its rarity, quality, and condition. Some vintage costume jewelry can be more valuable than real jewelry because of its design and history.

Most valuable costume jewelry

Some of the most valuable vintage costume jewelry pieces include:

  1. Chanel’s signature camellia brooches

  2. Schiaparelli’s jewelry from the 1930s

  3. Yves Saint Laurent’s infamous tassel necklace from the 1980s

  4. Miriam Haskell’s jewelry from the 1940s and 1950s

  5. Dior’s choker necklaces from the 1950s

Authentic vintage jewelry

To ensure that your vintage jewelry is authentic, you should consider the following:

  1. Look for marks on the piece.

  2. Seek professional appraisal.

  3. Check the quality of the material and the workmanship.

  4. Research the history of the piece and the maker.

In conclusion, antique costume jewelry is a valuable treasure that can be passed down from generation to generation. By following the tips provided in this article, you can identify and determine the value of vintage costume jewelry. Whether you are a collector or just want to appreciate the beauty of vintage jewels, antique costume jewelry is an investment worth making.