Women have worn jewelry since the dawn of human society to help present their beliefs, style and wealth to everyone they met, and jewelry still functions similarly today. Unlike other modern accessories such as handbags, the value of jewelry is not solely determined by a name brand or designer, but rather by its craftsmanship, quality of material, and sometimes most importantly, when it was made.
In short, the story behind a piece of jewelry is what makes it appealing. That may be why vintage jewelry has always been so popular, as each piece has its own unique story and reflects a time of glamour and beauty that few people wear anymore. As many great pieces of women's jewelry have been forged over past centuries, the list below should provide some tips for what to look for when trying to find a great vintage piece.
When Was It Made?
The first thing you should look for in a vintage jewelry pieces is the era in which it was made. Was this jewelry worn by glamorous women of the 1950's or high-society of the 1920's? Or does it have another story altogether? While you can ask the vendors who are selling this vintage jewelry, many of them may not know the actual details and story behind the jewelry beyond the general era in which it was made. This means you will have to find this information out for yourself and know what Victorian, Art Deco or Far Eastern jewelry looks like, so you can determine whether their description is accurate or not.
Is It Authentic?
Once you have found a piece of vintage jewelry that you truly like, you should determine whether it is authentic or not. This is often tough to do, as you will have to take each piece to a jewelry appraiser or someone who has spent their careers studying and examining different pieces of jewelry. As many of these vintage pieces are best to purchase at garage sales or small, out of the way boutiques, you probably won't be able to return any items if you discover after purchasing that they are fake. Then again, if you couldn't tell that the jewelry you bought was inauthentic, most other people probably won't be able to tell either. In which case, you might want to consider keeping them.
Does It Match Your Style?
Another important thing to consider is whether this piece of vintage jewelry will work with your own personal style. While a group of bangles may really appeal to you, their gold color and loose movement may not work with your modern, chic attire. Try a delicate Victorian necklace will probably go perfectly with your collection of colorful sun dresses. Wear pearls with those 40's or 50's era retro-style dresses that you bought for cheap at the local vintage clothing store. Necklaces and bracelets made from jade and stone will give a modern business outfit of slacks and a button down an elegant and artistic edge. In other words, consider what you will wear with these vintage jewelry pieces before you purchase them. Then again, this may be the perfect excuse to buy a whole host of new outfits.