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Entries in 1stdibs (18)

How to Buy and Care for Antique Jewelry

Ancient Victorian Bangle Bracelet

Purchasing antique jewelry means buying something truly special. Each necklace, watch, earring, and brooch has a long history behind it that makes the piece unique, even if it was just one among hundreds when it was new. Learning to recognize and appreciate quality antique jewelry comes with time and practice, but we’ll begin with some basic knowledge to get you started.

First off, let’s clear the air about something. The terms “antique" and “vintage" are not one and the same. “Antique" has a legally defined meaning, whereas “vintage" does not. While both terms are often thrown around imprudently, the US Customs Agency defines an antique as something that is at least 100 years old and less than 50 percent restored. The term “vintage" merely describes an item that was popular in another era, though some trade specialists apply a 50- to 100-year age bracket to the term.

Tiffany Necklace Tiffany Necklace Stamp

What to Look For:

Every antique belongs to an era, and you might discover that you prefer one over the other. Learn the styles and distinctions of the Georgian (1790-1831), Victorian (1837-1901), Edwardian (1901-1915), and other eras famous for their distinct styles of jewelry. Many of these eras contain smaller periods when specific themes gained popularity.

Familiarize yourself with the designs, materials, and manufacturing techniques of the desired era and period. Victorian Romantic period jewelry typically features animals, flowers, and other nature-related themes, while the Grand Victorian era was known for large, dark gemstones, silver, and engravings of the Queen, for example.

If you must inspect an antique engagement ring yourself, invest in a loupe. A loupe is a small magnifying glass used by jewelers and watchmakers. Look for workshops in your town or even online to train your eye on what to look for and how to use it. Be sure to check the piece’s condition. Search for rust and discoloration, solder where the piece might have been broken and put back together, and other forms of wear and tear.

Where to Buy:

You can purchase antique jewelry from several types of merchants, but your knowledge and skill in recognizing fakes and appraising genuine pieces will largely govern where you should shop. We’ll list a few types of outlets here from the lowest to highest degree of knowledge required.

Professional jewelers and consignment stores: Brick and mortar stores with professional staff and reputations to lose are the safest bet for buying antique jewelry if you don't have time to invest in learning the ins and outs of the trade yourself. Experts can make recommendations, and you can see each piece in person.

Online retailers and professional marketplaces: The best deals can often be found online from reputable ecommerce outlets. While you don't get a hands-on look at each piece, these e-stores usually include multiple photos, detailed descriptions, and sometimes even live support staff to answer any questions you might have. 1stdibs is an excellent option for online antique jewelry shoppers.

Online from reputable merchants: Online consumer-to-consumer marketplaces like eBay can offer great deals on antique jewelry, but make sure to thoroughly check the merchant's rating, customer reviews, and return policy. Compare prices at multiple vendors, and always remember: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Estate sales and auctions: At this point, you're pretty much on your own for verifying and appraising a piece of jewelry. Bring your loupe and be ready to do some research. Don't count on the merchant to be knowledgeable or honest about what they are selling.


Tiffany Amethyst & Diamond Ring

Cleaning & Care:

Now that you’ve bought your antique bracelet, spend some time keeping it in good condition. Store jewelry in a soft-lined container at a moderate temperature with multiple compartments. Apply beauty products like makeup and hairspray prior to putting on your jewelry, as the chemicals in these products can cause harm. Don’t wear your jewelry when bathing, exercising, or cleaning, as chemicals and sweat can cause corrosion and discoloration.

If you notice a stone is loose or some other malfunction, take the piece to a jeweler who is experienced in handling antiques. Don’t use ultrasonic cleaners and beware of dip cleaners that can eat away at enamel and other coatings. Jewelry polishing cloths are a good all-around solution. It’s always better to under-clean than to over-clean.

Every type of metal, coating, and stone have different cleaning and storage requirements, so invest some time researching what’s best for your piece. Sterling silver should be stored somewhere airtight, for example, while pieces containing pearls should be stored somewhere breathable.

This is a guest post written by the team at 1stdibs exclusively for Gem Gossip.


From Rough to Facet: Gems of 1stdibs

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Whether you've seen gemstone specimens in real life, in museums, or only in pictures, there's no doubt that the idea of these things being created by Mother Nature deep inside the Earth has left your mind blown. No matter how many I have seen, it still boggles my mind.  It takes so many talents, on many different levels and wavelengths to take that "rock" and turn it into something beautiful we call a gemstone, and then set it into a jewelry design, with it all ending wonderfully with it going home with you into your jewelry box.  The steps along the way are all so very important, but have you ever stopped and looked down at a piece of jewelry you're wearing and try to think where that stone first began on its journey to you?!  

These pieces of fine jewelry, pictured alongside their rough counterpart, help juxtapose the incredible phenomena each piece experiences within their journey.  All are found on 1stdibs:


18k yellow gold Fantasy cut amethyst dangle earrings by Peter Suchy from Peter Suchy Jewelers via 1stdibs

Lover's eye brooch surrounded by amethyst with hair compartment from Fourtane via 1stdibs

18k yellow gold big amethyst rings circa 1880s from Kentshire Galleries via 1stdibs


Edwardian aquamarine and diamond bow pendant from Lang Antiques via 1stdibs

Art Deco aquamarine and diamond brooch from Nally via 1stdibs

Art Deco aquamarine and diamond white gold ring from Peter Suchy Jewelers via 1stdibs


Victorian malachite and gold urn necklace done in 15k gold from A.Brandt & Son via 1stdibs

18k yellow gold malachite and diamond ring circa 1970s from OakGem via 1stdibs 

Victorian malachite drop earrings set in gold from Fourtane via 1stdibs


Vintage Beauty: Diamond Drape Necklaces

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Some of the most exquisite pieces of jewelry make their way onto 1stdibs everyday. It is our job as browsers, dreamers and potential buyers to flip through their pages of diamond-dripping jewels. How magnificent are these diamond drape necklaces?? Loads of carats that glimmer on your neck, just about as perfect as the above vintage beauty. Details below:


  • Diamond & pearl necklace, circa 1910.  Set in platinum-topped gold, with nearly five carats of diamonds!  This necklace is from Galerie Montaigne, featured on 1stdibs.  Price: $24,000
  • A one-of-a-kind 29.30 carats total (!!) diamond necklace in platinum, with several heart-shaped diamonds--the center one being the center of attention, 2.75 carats and F color.  This necklace is from Lang Antiques, featured on 1stdibs. Price: $165,000
  • Tiffany & Co. diamond and pearl necklace set in platinum.  Amazing quality diamonds, totaling about five carats. This necklace is from Oakgem, featured on 1stdibs.  Price: $14,300
  • A bow-motif diamond necklace set in 18k white gold.  A charming luxury of 4.77 carats total and high craftsmanship.  This necklace is from Betteridge, featured on 1stdibs.  Price: $9,000




1stdibs2 iefkederoos jenngandia3 karrisoph2 rkjewels_ hodboutique4 immutodesign luckymagazine jewelry_maven

{from top to bottom:

Three exquisite rings from different eras as seen on 1stdibs

some gorgeous 18k gold rings and some vintage rings from iefkederoos

Jenn Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers giving Gem Gossip a shoutout for turning five years

Karrisoph also giving Gem Gossip a 5-Year shootout--with an amazing animal kingdom!

rkjewels_ making me swoon over banded agate antique rings & a Mizpah ring

these beautiful flower power rings featured at Hod Boutique in Paris

Immutodesign has the coolest combo of texture and bling

Lucky Magazine shot this photo while visiting Love Adorned in NYC

jewelry_maven sporting some really cool serpent rings}

Favorite Instagram Pictures: Early Fall 2013

1stdibs missibbydale ninacortes cwpoindexter gemsteady facetsfinejewelry elizabethsaylesjewelry2 anninavogel2 bochicny2 stone_fox_bride sallmorrison christiesinc satomi_newyork heartofsolidgold

{from top to bottom:

1stdibs Eric Firestone gallery, love this

misslibbydale of Christies shows off three amazing diamond bracelets up for auction

ninacortes tries on an awesome asymmetrical pear-shaped diamond ring

cwpoindexter snapping a photo of this Chanel necklace/brooch combo #swoon

gemsteady makes the coolest doodle into inspiration board love

facetsfinejewelry shows how beautiful rose cut diamonds can be

elizabethsaylesjewelry converting old, forgotten watch fobs into keepsakes for life

anninavogel posted this amazing print made for her inspired by her jewelry

bochicny treasure hunting in Italy

stone_fox_bride posted this breath-taking pear shaped diamond from a bride-to-be

sallmorrison on set of a gold photo shoot, hanging out with the coolest rams possible

christiesinc inside the studio of Mark Ryden, so much inspiration

satotmi_newyork and her stacks of rings that are addictively collectible

heartofsolidgold captures her jewelry box wonderfully organized and brimming full}