Endless talk of all things sparkly.

What to Consider When Buying Antique Jewelry

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above jewels are available through 1stdibs

Whether you are buying antique jewellery as an investment, to wear, to add to a collection, simply because you love it or because of a combination of those things, there are a number of things to consider and pitfalls to avoid. Here are some of the biggest and most important. 

Get a full description of what you’re buying 
This will be helpful for insurance purposes, and will also give you a better chance of recourse if it turns out that what you’ve bought isn’t all it seems. If you’re buying diamonds, then make sure that you get a description of what they’re like in terms of the ‘four Cs’: cut, colour, clarity and carat. Or in other words, what shape they are, whether they’re pure white or yellowish, how close to flawless they are and how big they are. 

Make sure it’s genuinely what it’s described as 
For more expensive pieces, this might involve getting an independent appraisal and valuation. Make sure the gold or silver content is what it’s supposed to be, that any gemstones are genuine and of the quality described, and that it was made by the person or company it’s ascribed to. Buying from a reputable dealer is a good way for beginners to make sure they’re getting what they think they’re getting. 

Most valuable items need to be listed separately on your home contents insurance. Check your policy, find out what to do and do it right away.

Ethical considerations 
Buying second hand or antique is a great way to make sure you’re buying ethically. After all, it’s a form of recycling, and whatever the past provenance of your new jewellery, you know that your money is unlikely to be going to finance African warlords (as can be the case with new diamonds). 

What will the resale value be? 
One of the best things about buying gold and gemstones is that it will always have a resale value. It may not be as much as you paid for it, particularly if you paid well above the scrap value, but it will always be worth something. Therefore be more careful about paying high prices for costume jewellery, even if you know it to be a ‘good’ make. It is a riskier investment, although if you manage to get a piece by a maker who is just becoming popular, it may still pay off. 

Do you love it? 
The joy of antique jewellery is that it’s an investment you can also wear and love. When it comes down to it, this is the most important factor. Whether you are starting a collection or just buying an individual piece or two, be guided by what you really like. Apart from the fact that it will give you more pleasure that way, the best way to become an expert in something is to love finding out about it.