Not all old pieces of jewelry are antique. There are many details determining the value of antique jewelry, the witnesses of special moments and unique masterpieces of art. the qualıfıcatıons that wıll help you dıstınguısh the antıque jewelry from vıntage jewelry awaıt you ın thıs artıcle.

I have lived at the heart of the jewelry world for years, and have seen countless jewelry that was beyond comparison. I have found some over-extravagant, and some have been entrenched in my mind as pieces of art. I have seen some of the most famous and precious diamonds of the world, such as the 273-carat Centenary Diamond; special designs that have won prizes at the De Beers Diamonds International Awards, known as the “Oscars of Diamonds”; antiques that were sold at famous auctions and carried the quality of “timeless treasures”; collections of stars such as Elizabeth Taylor who was known for her love of jewelry… All of them were so beautiful and impressive it was hard to believe they were real. 


However, only some pieces of jewelry bring together exceptional stones, design, and competent craftsmanship. These are precious works of art, antique jewels that will be wrapped in cotton and passed down from generation to generation. Most of the antique jewelry that was crafted by talented masters and decorated with priceless jewels was inspired by movements such as the Belle Époque, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau, and was witness to moments that left traces in history. If only those jewels could speak to tell their stories! Royal jewels, jewels that aristocrats gave as wedding presents, gifts that were given to consolidate relations between countries, and many more are on display in the special rooms of the most famous museums of the world. The attention of individual collectors to this artwork that has witnessed history increased significantly after 1987 when the private jewelry collection of the Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson was auctioned. After this date, alongside painting and sculptures, antique jewelry has become another category of interest for collectors and has been included in the calendars of annual sales of famous auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s. 


For a piece of jewelry to be considered antique, it needs to meet several qualifications. Not all old jewelry is in the antique category. Some are considered antique while others are vintage. Experts separate antique and vintage jewelry with a firm line. Antique jewelry has at least a 100-year past, while vintage jewelry has been produced more than 20 years ago and is back in fashion or has inspired interest. 


To own antique jewels that appeal to refined taste is a unique pleasure but takes a serious amount of expertise. To be part of a world of charm and become the owner of treasures sold at auctions, one needs to have a knack for the business, or ventures might end in disappointment. I have spent years with jewelry, but am still learning something new every day. Nonetheless, at world-famous auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, the jewelry and precious stones are evaluated several times by important experts and sold at correctly estimated values, so one can shop with confidence at such reputed establishments. Here are some qualifications an “accredited” piece of jewelry must have in order to be sold at an international auction:  


The Current Condition of the Jewel

Antique jewels will inevitably have some aging, but the degree and location of the aging are very important. Jewelry that has undergone frequent repairs or whose model has been changed will have lost its integrity. The jewels that have kept their form and production technique from the first day will always have greater value; the original is always more precious. A good expert will recognize immediately that changes have been made to a piece. 


Craftsmanship 

Just like in haute couture, the backside of the jewelry is the best sign of the quality of the craftsmanship. A piece of jewelry that has amazing craftsmanship, where the metal is not seen too much, where the back is as smooth as the front, where details are worked in like lace, and where if it is a piece with moving parts, the additional pieces have been put together masterfully, will always score highly in reputable auctions. 


Gemology Certificate and the Rareness of the Stone 

If a stone such as a 50-carat precious pink diamond that is sold for millions of dollars in auction or a 20-carat Colombian emerald has a certificate from a well-respected gemology laboratory, like GIA, this will increase the stone’s credit and price. Some expert gemstone laboratory certificates are more respected than others in international markets. Stones that are large, clear, and with saturated colors are hard to come by in nature. In line with the principle “If it is rare, it is very valuable,” collectors get into fierce competition at famous auctions to get hold of such pieces. For example, years ago, a very rare 12-carat pink diamond named “Martian Pink” that had an estimated price of $8 million was sold for $17.4 million just 6 minutes after the auction began. 


The Jewelry’s Provenance 

The story of a piece of jewelry, its meaning, who owned it before, and whether or not it was custom-made increase its value. If the diamond ring given to Marilyn Monroe by Joe DiMaggio in 1954 had belonged to just anyone, it would have been sold for $3,000, but it was sold for $772,000 at the Christie’s auction in New York in 1999. If the charm bracelet which was one of the lowest priced items at the auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry and which had an estimated value of $3,500 had not belonged to Taylor, it would not have been sold for over $100,000. If at any auction a uniquely beautiful tiara decorated with precious ruby stones and diamonds was put up for sale at the same time as a plain and humble tiara that belonged to Princess Grace, there is no doubt that Princess Grace’s tiara would break sales records.


The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor: The Legendary Jewels that occupied the press and jewelry enthusiasts for days, and made people wait in line for hours in November 2011 is another good example. The jewelry in the collection was, of course, dazzling, but it was the romantic stories that influenced me the most. The Ping Pong Diamonds ring Richard Burton bought for Liz after losing a bet in a ping-pong match at Gstaad, and what Taylor referred to as “My Tuesday Diamonds” that consisted of the surprise piece of jewelry Burton bought for her every Tuesday are just two pieces from the exclusive jewelry that has many stories to tell. That is, Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection is not only remarkable because of its carats but also because of its stories and provenance. 


A Sign or Signature of the Jewelry Maker 

A symbol or sign on the jewelry will give a clue about the person who crafted it or the period it was made. If the jewelry was made by a famous craftsman or made in a reputed workshop, this will add value to it. 


Signatures on jewelry started in the period after World War I. Usually there would be a stamp in a specific place on a piece of jewelry. Some have reference numbers in addition to these stamps. Although most jewelers practice this today, a symbol of a reputed jewelry house such as Cartier, Boucheron, Lalique, Vever, and Tiffany’s & Co., or a signature of the mysterious master of jewelry Jar will add value to an 18th- or 19th-century piece suitable for auction. 


In a dazzling world, it is not difficult to have access to antique jewelry that has a special place in the world of precious artifacts. It is possible to participate in auctions on the phone or online. In fact, if you are lucky, you might even be able to buy a piece of jewelry at an unexpected moment which has a special story, belonged to someone famous, or has impeccable craftsmanship for a very reasonable price. The pleasure you will get from this is far beyond any pleasure you can get from buying jewelry at a jewelry store.

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