The Value of Antique Jewellery

Antique jewellery is often a beautiful heirloom that has been passed down through generations. But it’s also a great investment, especially if the piece is of high quality.

But how do you know that it’s real? A few things can help you distinguish an authentic antique piece from a reproduction.


In jewelry circles, a piece is considered antique when it is 100 years old or older. However, many jewelers use the terms antique and vintage interchangeably. It is important to know the difference between the two in order to determine a piece’s value and its potential for resale.

While identifying a piece as being antique or vintage can be helpful, it doesn’t tell you a lot about its specific characteristics. In particular, antique-style reproductions can be difficult to spot for those without the expertise of a professional.

Other clues can include the materials, gemstone cuts and clasp types. Vintage pieces often display signs of wear and tear, such as dents or tarnish, that can help confirm the piece is truly old. How firmly the clasp closes can also be an indication of age.


The materials used in an antique piece of jewellery can influence its value. These include gold, silver, pearls and semi-precious stones. In the Edwardian era, intricate designs were popular. These included ornate laces, bows and ribbons. The suffragette movement of this era was also reflected in jewelry.

Pinchbeck, an alloy of copper and zinc was a popular metal for chatelaines, buckles, snuff boxes and watches cases. It looked similar to gold but it was lighter and less expensive.

Aluminium is an abundant white base metal with low density. It can be anodized to produce a virtual rainbow of colors and is often found in chain mail jewelry. Celluloid and Bakelite are natural plastics but they cannot be heated to return them to a moldable state like other types of thermoplastics such as cellulose acetate and polyethylene.


Traditional antique jewellery requires a high level of craftsmanship and skills. It is the result of countless hours of mastery, decades of inherited traditions and a lifetime of passion encapsulated into one timeless piece.

A key factor to consider when determining the age of a piece is its maker’s mark, which can be seen as symbols or letters carved into the metal. Additionally, examining the condition of the piece is important: chips, cracks and discoloration impact the value of a jewellery item.

Buying pre-owned jewellery also supports the environment, as it creates a re-circulating jewelry market, decreasing demand for new pieces and protecting precious resources, including forests, air and water. Furthermore, acquiring vintage pieces prevents dated items from clogging up the marketplace, making room for more contemporary styles.


While it is easy to find new jewellery designed to look like something from another era there is nothing that quite matches the authenticity of an antique piece. The materials, artisanship and techniques used in ancient jewellery cannot be duplicated by modern jewelry makers.

The Victorian era saw more cheerful designs as well as floral and figurative motifs. The ever present bow motif and girandole shape were a quintessential feature of this period.

Post World War I saw a move towards Neoclassicism, a realm of clean lines and simplicity. Faceted and carved gemstones were crafted into elegant shapes. The jewellery of Brenda Ginsberg is infused with these regal themes and the beauty and elegance that was synonymous with this era. It is the perfect way to make a lasting impression at any event.


Antique jewellery is valuable for its craftsmanship and design, offering insights into specific time periods and cultures. It is also a sustainable choice, as it avoids production processes that consume energy and natural resources.

Other factors that determine value include the condition of a piece – minor, difficult to see damage will impact a jewel’s value less than more obvious blemishes. A hallmark or maker’s mark indicating the metal will also add to its value as will a certificate of authenticity or appraisal.

It is important to consult with a professional who can authenticate the piece and provide a price quote. A local pawn shop may offer this service but it’s best to seek out an expert that specialises in Antique Jewellery. This will ensure that you receive the best price and the most accurate valuation.

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