Antique jewellery mirrors the time, culture and social norms of the period it was designed. It shows what the people of that age valued and enjoyed. From such clues, you can decipher the age of an old brooch or pendant. Typically, the older the jewellery, the more valuable it is. However, this might not always be the case, as it is possible the jeweler made many ornaments of the same design. Antique jewellery you find online may have dozens of copies, making it less valuable. Here are three ways you can tell the age of jewellery online.
Step One: Fittings and Findings on Earrings
Jewelers use fittings, mostly for earrings, as pin stems, hinges, and clasps. You can think of fittings as custom-made parts for an earring. The fittings tell you when a particular earring style first came into the market. Here’s a chronological list showing the age of different fittings:
- Shepherd hook
- Kidney wire
- Lever back
- Post and butterfly
- Spring clip
- Omega back
Although some of these styles are widely used today, fittings for old antique pieces are usually thicker in diameter compared to modern ones. For instance, the kidney wire first came into the market in the 1900s. The fitting is still in use today, but the diameter of the fitting is significantly smaller compared to the one used back then. Having this information can help you determine the age of a piece of jewellery simply by looking at it. If you can, ask the retailer if you can examine the piece before buying it to verify all these details.
Step Two: Fittings and Findings on Brooches
Looking at the back of brooches, you can glean some interesting details. Over the last century, jewelers have been putting a lot of information on the back that you can use to accurately date a piece. Also, the different clasps used on brooches can tell you when the piece was made.
The trickiest part when it comes to dating brooches can be seen at the back. If you see any suspicious solder, it means the piece was either altered or repaired at some time. Also, if you see a round or oval metal pad where the pin attaches to the brooch, it’s a sign the piece was altered. You should look for these signs when buying designer diamond jewellery online.
Step Three: Material Used in Black Jewellery
The flea market has an abundance of black jewellery, so you’re not restricted to buying it online. You can even find these pieces in antique stores and estate sales. To get a feel of just how much a piece of black jewellery is worth, look at the material used to make it. Most of the time, black jewellery is made from:
- Crepe Stone
- Bog oak
Each of these materials has different price connotations, and you should check out updated price guides to tell the exact value of the piece before handing over cash at a jewelry boutique.