Where To Get Your Fine Costume Jewelry
There are many things to look for when considering buying vintage costume jewelry. Don't take the condition of a vintage jewelry item for granted. Sure, vintage jewelry from the Victorian era through the 1930s can have a very vintage look to it. But there are times when you will find jewelry from the '40s, '50s and '60s in like-new condition. Even with the older pieces, don't settle for second best. Extremely worn plating, darkened or cloudy rhinestones, missing parts, missing stones, and chipped or scratched enamel all lower the value of a vintage piece. Obvious repairs such as sloppy soldering and haphazard stone replacements should also be avoided. Don't pay top dollar in a fit of last minute shopping desperation for a piece in poor condition. If you find a bargain piece that's kitschy and fun, and you know the recipient will love it, go ahead and purchase it. But, in general, buying vintage costume jewelry of quality makes sense. Pieces with pronged settings, substantial weight, smooth plating and bright stones in excellent condition will hold their value and wear better over time. There are certain manufacturers are known for creating jewelry of quality. Some of these manufactures are Eisenberg, Schiaparelli, Miriam Haskell and Schreiner are a few names to look for when purchasing a high-end gift. More moderately priced signatures include Weiss and Kramer among many others. There are just as many beautifully crafted unsigned pieces available on the secondary market, and all the aforementioned companies made unsigned jewelry at one time or another. It really depends on who you're buying for. An avid costume jewelry collector will appreciate a signature far more than someone who values the piece as a fashion accessory. Ask the dealer you buy from to give you some background information on the piece you're purchasing. This can include the designer or manufacturer, age or era of the piece, distinguishing design characteristics or materials used in construction, and background on the former owner, if known. Print out these details on a small card you can tuck in the box with your gift. To someone who knows little about vintage jewelry these tidbits are priceless and make the gift even more meaningful to them. Plus, it shows that you cared enough to take an extra step to make the gift special. Whether you're buying for a jewelry collector, or someone who's simply fashionable for the moment, there are some great sites to shop online for quality vintage costume jewelry ranging from the Victorian era through the 1970s. These reputable dealers also carry collectible contemporary jewelry from the best designers around.