Whether you are shopping for an engagement ring or a Mother's Day gift, estate sales are a good place to purchase antique jewelry. Estate sales usually feature hard-to-find pieces and unique items. If you are planning to hunt for antique jewelry at an estate sale, here are some tips to help your shopping.
Know the Brands
If you are looking for antique jewelry from certain designers, you need to be as familiar with the designer as possible. While shopping, you will encounter a number of pieces that are very good replicas of popular brands. If you want an authentic piece, though, you need to be able to separate the real from the fake.
Designs change throughout the years, so be aware of what markings were used during the particular period you are looking for.
For instance, earlier pieces of a popular designer did not feature any markings. However, markings were later added. If you encountered a piece that is marked prior to the date markings were added, you would know it was a replica.
Another bit of information that can help you know if a piece is authentic or not is the location. If the location on the jewelry is not where the designer manufactured the pieces during that time period, it is most likely not authentic.
Check the Sheen
Over time, jewelry begins to show the signs of wear. The sheen starts to fade and dents or nicks might be present. If a piece of jewelry looks to be too new, ask questions.
It is possible that the jewelry has been restored. If the seller says that it is has not, it is possible that the piece is not authentic.
It is important to note that some estate sellers prefer not to restore the jewelry. During restoration, the pieces can sometimes be damaged. To avoid this, the jewelry is often sold as-is and it is up to the buyer to have it restored, if desired.
If in doubt about the authenticity of a piece or the repair or restoration of the piece is questionable to you, ask for a receipt that provides details, such as a written description of the jewelry, the age, and its material composition.
If there are gems included in the piece, ask for a report from an independent lab that provides the grading and identification information.
Many estates work with professional seller services and are aware of what information buyers need to make an informed decision. It is because of this, most of the information you would need is readily available. If you are unsure about a piece, consult with a seller or expert in antique jewelry before purchasing.