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4 Steps To Value Vintage Jewelry


You may have been head over heels in love with that diamond watch or sparkly bracelet when you first purchased it. Now, however, it seems to have lost its appeal in your eyes. Perhaps that style isn't what you love anymore, or maybe it takes you back to a place or person you are trying to forget. Then again, it may have been a gift from a relative you barely know.

If you’d like to keep elements of your vintage piece of jewelry but know that the design isn’t exactly your style, come into our shop and we can discuss updating and personalizing the design, or at least help you determine the value. 

If you do not live close to our West Seattle store and have vintage jewelry that you don't wear, you are sitting on a great opportunity to make some extra cash - however, you may wonder how you can identify vintage jewelry and figure out its value.

We have compiled a simple guide on ways to easily identify the value of your vintage jewelry and assess its worth. Using the pointers below will help you determine if that piece of jewelry you think is vintage really does fit the bill.

Steps To Take To Identify Vintage Jewelry

#1 - Try to remember where you purchased the piece.

If you have a vision of being at a typical High Street retailer a few years ago, the chances are you are not looking at something vintage. If it caught your eye at a flea market or antique store, then you could certainly have something vintage in your jewelry box. It could even be a rare piece of custom jewelry!

Once you have remembered where you got it from, take a good look at the piece. Within the last century, we have seen all types of styles. If your piece seems to fit one of the styles it could very well be vintage. Pieces that are art deco, retro, 70’s, 80’s, and so forth are all considered to be vintage.

Remember, when we are talking about vintage jewelry we are not referring to antique jewelry. Vintage pieces have to be at least 20 years old. An antique piece needs to be 100 years old.

#2 - Consider Your Vintage Jewelry Items Carefully

One of the key steps to identify vintage jewelry value is to take a very close look at it.

How To Determine The Value Of Your Vintage Jewelry

Look at the craftsmanship. In the middle of the last century, some large-scale processes made it easier to create jewelry in bigger quantities. Take a look at whether there are any signs that the jewelry was handmade. However, even if it is not crafted by hand, it may still be valuable. Within the 1940’s and 50’s, a high number of vintage pieces were made by mass production.

Once you are done considering the craftsmanship, take a look at the materials. Identification guides for vintage jewelry always bear the materials closely in mind. Diamonds, sapphires, platinum, or gold may be part of vintage jewelry, or the materials may be less expensive such as silver or amethyst. Take a magnifying glass and see whether there are any marks inside. It will bear a stamp if it is made from gold, silver, or platinum. It is the material that can influence the value of the piece by as much as thousands of dollars.

Specific eras can also be identified by the cut of the gem. Cuts such as 'old mine cut' are no longer produced. These cuts can identify when the jewelry was crafted and often push the value up. The shapes and cuts of stones should be carefully analyzed.

Look at the clasps. Time periods can be identified by the types of clasps and pins used on necklaces and bracelets - the posts on earrings do the same. If there is a box clasp or ring clasp, you may be looking at a vintage piece. It was not until the 1970’s that the popular lobster clasp we see today started to be used. Brooches and pins that were popular in the past few decades have latches like a C clasp or trombone clasp. 

Look at the type. During the 20th century, there was a massive change in styles and trends. Is the jewelry big with bright colors or is it pretty and delicate? The overall appearance goes a long way in identifying when it was made as well as its value. During the mid-20th century the styles were bold and bright colors were the norm.

See if there is any evidence of the designer. The value of a piece of vintage jewelry can rise dramatically if the designer can be identified. Tiffany, Chanel, Cartier, and Bulgari are just a few examples of vintage designers who are still popular today. Some of these brands may bear a logo. Take a close look at your vintage jewelry to see if there is a designer's signature as this may skyrocket the value.

Get your designer vintage jewelry sold NOW!

See if you can find your vintage jewelry's paperwork. If the pieces were inherited or purchased at an estate sale, you may have a certificate for it somewhere. This will help you to identify their value. Take a look at where you keep any old papers, head up to your attic to have a look, ask around among your family if appropriate, and make a call to the place you purchased it from. Special boxes or cases will also add to the value. If your jewelry comes with an exquisite little box, turquoise in color with a white ribbon, you may very well have a Tiffany piece.

It will take you time to carefully analyze your jewelry and track down any authentication, however, it is vital in knowing how to identify vintage jewelry.

3 - Do Your Homework On Vintage Jewelry

How To Identify Vintage Jewelry 

Make use of the online world to read about vintage jewelry valuation services. There are a number of reliable sources that can aid you in getting an estimate of your vintage jewelry. A vintage and antique jewelry identification guide is a great starting place.

Look online to find pictures of clasps that are similar to your piece of vintage jewelry. Look at what time periods are linked to those that you find.

Search online for anything related to stamps or markings that are on your jewelry. It may just be the rare signature of a famous designer in vintage jewelry!

Look at sale prices offered online for pieces similar to the timeframe yours is from. You can use popular sites to get a rough idea of the value of your piece.

Even when you have an indication of what your vintage jewelry is worth, you still need to do one thing...

#4 - Find Yourself a Buyer

Vintage Jewelry for Sale in Seattle

Even the most exquisite piece of vintage jewelry in the world is hardly worth a thing if there is no buyer. Trying to sell it yourself through eBay or Craigslist is not likely to get you the best price.

If you are looking to buy and sell vintage jewelry in Seattle, the team here at Menashe and Sons Jewelry would love to discuss the options with you. If you are outside of Seattle, get into a conversation with a professional jewelry buyer in your area and ask for advice. They will likely need to examine the piece themselves and will then provide you with an appraisal. You will normally be charged a nominal fee but they will be able to help you find a buyer who is willing to pay the best price.

Get Yourself A Quote

When it comes to getting those unloved pieces out of your jewelry box and into your bank account, understanding how to identify vintage jewelry is the first step. Whatever you happen to have, vintage jewelry, custom jewelry, or a rare piece, you may be able to get more than you think for it. A careful examination will help you know what you have and how much it could be worth. Take your time to carry out some research and look for evidence of authenticity. After that, we welcome you to get in touch with us at Menashe and Sons so that we can make sure you get top dollar for the pieces you have.