2020 is the year of antique jewellery. But how do you know if your pieces qualify as vintage?

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Antique jewellery

Antique jewellery is making a big comeback, especially in the bridal fashion memo; old school, heirloom jewellery does not just transcend eras and decades, but these pieces are normally passed down from one family member to another. So, you can easily borrow your grandma’s jadau choker from the 1940s to wear with your tulle lehenga. However, it is essential to note that just because a piece of jewellery is 80 to 100 years old, it does not qualify as an antique. There is, of course, more to it.

So, how can we determine if a piece of jewellery is actually a legit antique number? Let’s find out:

How does a jeweller identify an antique?

When you reach a jewellery showroom with a piece that you believe is an antique, the jeweller begins checking it thoroughly for intricacies. Intricacies and craftsmanship are features which confirm the validity of an antique. In the bygone eras, owing to the lack of machines and modern designing tools, the craftsmanship was solely hand-oriented and that’s what makes an antique so unique and completely priceless.

There is no one path or technical definition, by which a jeweller identifies an antique. However, most jewellers depend upon their cache of experience in this matter. In most cases, even if you go to one store to get your jewellery checked, the jeweller is likely to get the piece checked by a number of other jewellers before he decides to label your piece as antique.

To be precise, the value of an antique is completely engraved in the eyes of the beholder.

What is the 4-point checklist that you can observe to identify an antique?

Determining the age of your Jewellery

Think about how you acquired the piece. In case it is an heirloom piece or the one you acquired at a flea or auction, then there are higher chances of the jewellery being an antique. You must get the jewellery assessed by an archaeologist or a collector. Proper certification from certified collectors or agencies and anthropological societies all across the globe, will tell you the age and value of your jewellery. If the piece of jewellery dates back to a dynasty or is evidence of specific karigari found in a bygone era, it could be vintage.

The need to examine the item

At this stage you need to look closely into the craftsmanship of the jewellery. Handmade pieces that qualify as a collectible or antique are actually enamelled in a different way. Spotting the details of hand-crafted jewels is not easy and you will have to tilt and check out the detail on the underside or inside of your jewel. Also pay close attention to the finish. Consider the material of the jewellery, check the clasps and joints, and minutely study the cuts on the gemstones used in the piece. All these, when studied in context or in reference to modern jewellery will highlight the difference and help you relate to the periodicity of the piece.

Check for wear and tear

Jewellery that has matured over time will have some stiffness on the clasps such as the ones used on necklaces, pins and bracelets, etc. Then the style of clasps can also differ as every different time period used a different type of clasp and this can be a marker of the age the jewellery belongs to. For instance, certain locket clasp designs are no longer in use today but was used in decades back. It’s always advisable to take the piece to your trusted jeweller to know more about the piece, he’ll clearly have a better idea than you.

Identify the gems and embellishments on the piece

Jewellery that belongs to a particular dynasty will also be symbolised by the material that was during that period. Basra pearls and certain rubies and diamonds like Golkonda diamonds, old Burma rubies, Colombian emeralds, Alexandrite’s are very specific to 19th-century craftsmanship. The presence of these gemstones and their rarity actually make or break a jewel and qualify it as vintage.

What exactly can you do with the antique jewellery?

Assess the risk of remodelling

Remodelling to modernise the piece is the best idea if you want to go about a practical approach. Many people want their old, heirloom pieces to be a part of their personal style, since they are sentimentally attached to it, and these are one-of-a-kind. For that, you need to scout the industry for designs and visit antique specialist jewellers to confirm if the jewellery is meldable or if it would be too risky.

Never melt

This is because melting the jewellery in order to give shape to an entirely new piece should never be your priority when it comes to antiques. It is always preferable to preserve the essence of the piece rather than doing away with the craftsmanship.

Choose an antique remodelling specialist

Moreover, not every jeweller is equipped to preserve an antique in the best way, so ask your chosen jeweller to show you samples of their previous remodelling work, attempt an antique makeover only when you are convinced with their handiwork.

Alternatively, you can choose to liquidate your antique. However, the calculations and ideals change as soon as you choose to sell your piece.

How to liquidate your antique?

Get Multiple Evaluations

Jewellers insist that you preserve antiques. Prominent jewellery houses like Atul Jewellers, who regularly deal with antiques will always insist that with an heirloom piece, remodelling should always be on your mind. However, if under any circumstance you decide to sell your jewellery, you should visit trusted shops. Moreover, as a thumb rule get your piece evaluated by 3 to 4 prominent jewellers and then choose to sell it to the one giving the best value.

Wait for the right buyer

Another point that you need to keep in mind when choosing to sell your antique is that in most cases the jeweller will not give you an upfront payment for the piece you decide to sell. Rather, they will want you to wait for the right buyer. So, the liquidation process is slow and quite time-consuming. It will only conclude once you have a buyer on board, who accepts your rates and decides to pay you the price your jeweller quoted. The jeweller will deduct a nominal transaction fee in this case.

What if you want to buy one?

When planning to buy an antique your knowledge about intricacies, stones, their gradation, goldwork intricacies, etc. play a vital role. So, even though you can probably get antiques in many pawn shops around the globe or with a number of jewellers, the actual price will depend on the depth of your awareness.

 

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