Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Shopping for vintage jewellery

I read keenly the article on the Telegraph website the other day, How To Buy Vintage Jewellery, because I have amassed a substantial collection of my own, thanks to my magpie-like sensibilities and penchant for scouring charity shops and flea markets.

I have casually browsed the Susan Caplan Vintage website before, admiring their selection of such pristine looking vintage jewellery - her bridal section is great for anyone looking for a special piece which is both rare and not too pricey.

{bracelet by Sarah Coventry - sold out on Susan Caplan Vintage but available here}

I've often wondered whether any of the vintage jewellery I own might be of any value or significance. I have owned this bracelet for a number of years but only learned its origins when I saw it featured in a recent issue of Grazia. I called Susan Caplan to find out more about it, and discovered it's a bracelet made by designer Sarah Coventry in the 1970s, and that her work is quite collectible. I noticed that the bracelet has a tiny tag on it with Sarah's name on it, and these kind of tags, or signatures, are what to look out for if you're making a purchase.

Here are some other tops tips on what to look out for, as suggested in the article:
1 Always check the quality, craftsmanship and condition. Pearls are particularly prone to losing part or all of their casings, and verdigris is almost impossible to move.
2 Do your research and familiarise yourself with the materials and design references. Different companies produced different levels of pieces, depending on the fashions and designers on board at the time. The most sought-after were created for the high end and are very elaborate, sophisticated and highly detailed.
3 Check the signature and this will help authenticate and date it. Companies used different stampings, closures and clasps at various periods. Be wary of unsigned pieces unless you are very confident about recognising the level of execution. 
So which names should you be looking for? "Some designers such as Dior have always been collectable," says Caplan, "but most people didn't even know that Elizabeth Taylor worked with Avon. Monet has also increased in popularity. Their pieces from the Fifties to the Eighties were very well-made and 22ct triple gold plates, which was very unusual for costume jewellery at that time. Trifari is another example of something that no one was interested in a few years ago. But its top designer, who worked there from 1930 to 1960, came from Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels."
In terms of where to find a real bargain, Caplan advocates a good old rummage amongst your local table sales and charity shops. "You find bargains in the unlikeliest of places. Smart antique fairs are not the place for undiscovered treasures. You're better off at a local auction or a jumble sale." No further encouragement needed here. And here's another item from my charity shop stash which I found on Susan Caplan Vintage (modelled by Dominic the Donkey):

{a Jewelcraft charm bracelet, found in a charity shop}

{now selling for £125 on Susan Caplan Vintage - charming!}

{the all important Jewelcraft tag}

If you're a lover of vintage jewellery then stop by in a few days for my first ever Lemonade Pockets blog giveaway - tune in again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Blogs like these are great for ideas on where to find good vintage jewellery. I have scoured the high street and the Internet and it's still hit and miss. I've used Vintage Tom a lot as they have a great selection of vintage jewellery and vintage costume jewellery, but it's always good to get other ideas too. vintage jewellery