Shopping for antique jewelry can be fun and very profitable for the right person. The next time you are at a garage sale or flea market, keep your eyes peeled. You can find some of the best surprises in vintage jewelry if you are smart enough to keep your eyes open and know what to look for. The world is filled with surprises, some of which turn up in the most unlikely of places. Here are five quick tips for the vintage jewelry lover in you.
Estate Auctions and Yard Sales
Antique Jewelry stores are a great place to shop for some very nice vintage jewelry. The downside is that these stores are shopped by people who know what to look for and by the time you get there; everything has been picked over a few times at the very least. Still, every now and then, you can get lucky and find a piece that has been overlooked or was just put out for sale.
There is a secret not everyone knows that has served us well over the years. It does not pay off very often, but when it does, it is well worth the time and effort put into it. Besides that, it is fun. Yard sales, garage sales, and especially estate sales will often yield surprises if you know what to look for.
Every chance you get, check out the jewelry at these venues and see for yourself how long it takes to actually pay off. Estate sales are the best because it usually means someone has passed away and the family wants to get rid of the excess stuff. To know more click here.
Always Be Prepared
Being prepared increases the odds that you will find something worthwhile at a yard sale or estate sale or auction. If there is one secret the older generation has learned how to keep… it is about the kind of jewelry they own. My grandmother kept her expensive broach given to her by her first husband 60 years ago in the same draw as her cheap costume jewelry in order to disguise it.
Always carry your loupe, the magnifying eyepiece for reading the important info in the back and inside of rings and other jewelry items. Look for designer names such as Monet, Kramer, and Napier. Keep your eyes open for odd or unusual pieces as these may be expensive, made to order pieces that were very popular in the 20s and 30s.
Another way to be prepared is to learn all of the old designer names that made the valuable jewelry stashed away in a million homes across the country. Familiarize yourself with the settings and findings of the eras as these are dead giveaways to the age of what you are purchasing for a song.
Never give Away Your Position
We know hard it can be to keep a straight face when you are at a yard sale and find a broach with a round, orange dot that says $3.00 and you know that it is worth at least $2,000. It would be a miracle if you did not jump in the air, click your heels, and sing zippidy do dah. Believe us, after you have run across this situation a few times… it gets easier.
Still, try not to let your emotion show and give away the fact that you know something the seller does not. Unfortunately, the best way to do this is to try to bid the seller down a buck and offer $2 instead of three. If you feel bad about it, you should not be doing it in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not a great feeling and even the best of us feel a little bit bad about running into such a great deal. What I usually do in this instance is wait until I know for sure the piece is a find and then go back and buy a couple of hundred bucks worth of other stuff, which I drop at the local Salvation Army on my way out. If this is not possible, console yourself with the knowledge that anyone who would sell their dead grandmother’s costume jewelry without having it appraised first… has it coming… first, for not having it appraised, and second, for not giving granny any credit.
Unusual is Good
I have several partners who travel around as we do and check out local flea markets and yard sales looking for vintage jewelry. The more you can hit, the better your chances of finding that one rare piece. However, it is easy to make the same mistake we made when we first started. At first, we discarded any vintage jewelry that was unusual because today, jewelry that is changed or added to usually lose value. We found out that this is not always true when it comes to vintage jewelry.
Older pieces of jewelry were often made to order by the very rich or influential in society. The more unusual the vintage article, often the more expensive it can be. This is only true if the precious or semi precious stones are real, as well as the precious metals from which the jewelry is designed.
When in Doubt… Spend
Even if there is some doubt about an article of jewelry’s value, what is a few bucks? It is worth it to spend a few bucks if you are unsure and if it turns out to be regular costume jewelry that is pretty… unusual… but basically worthless, it is sure to make a great gift for a child or teenager.
We know quite a few people that do this for a living. It is not that hard to get into it if you have a little time and a lot of knowledge. Shopping at local flea markets is fun, interesting, and can be quite profitable if you know what to look for. Once you have exhausted your local markets, with any luck and some smart trading, you should have enough to expand your search and travel the country. That is when it really becomes fun.
Bio: Drake White – GM at London Gold Jewelers in Scottsdale, AZ always recommends their extensive restoration services from the simplest to the most elaborate to ensure a treasured piece of jewelry is wearable on every level.