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  • Feb 06 / 2018
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Antique Jewelry

How to Guide on Evaluating Estate & Exceptional Vintage Jewelry

If you’re considering buying and selling estate or vintage jewelry, you first need to learn how to identify it. That way, you’ll know which pieces are worth purchasing and which are not. You’ll also have a better idea on how to price the items you plan on selling. By learning how to evaluate each piece and determine its age and worth, you can tell when you need to negotiate on the price so you invest wisely. Knowing who buys vintage costume jewelry, who buys real vintage jewelry, and where you can connect to these people is vital to your success.

The Findings and Fittings Are Key

When looking at any piece of jewelry, it’s important to examine the findings and the fittings. This will help you determine the age of the piece, which is needed to determine its value. Earrings, for example, have changed a lot since the 1800s. While any of the backings or fittings may be used today, by knowing when these fittings were introduced, you can determine how old the piece is. Spring clips, for example, are relatively new, while kidney wire fittings were introduced in 1882.

Picture of a kidney wire fitting

Estate jewelry buyers who are looking at broaches can use the same logic. If they find a broach that uses a trombone clasp, they know it wasn’t made prior to 1940. If it featured a basic C clasp, it’s harder to tell the age. The fittings will help you narrow down the age of the piece, but you’ll often need additional information to determine the true value of the piece.

Consider the Material

To figure out the value of a piece at an estate vintage jewelry sale, you need to look at the material. If the jewelry is lightweight, has a mold line, and makes a fairly dull clicking sound, you’re looking at plastic. It’s cheap, often doesn’t look that great, and really has little value to a collector. Costume jewelry is often made out of plastic and other cheap materials that look more realistic but isn’t the real deal.

Glass feels heavier and is usually warm to the touch if you hold it for a few seconds. Stone, on the other hand, will remain cool when held. There are many other materials used in jewelry, including jet, gutta-percha, crepe stone, bog oak, and many types of precious metals and materials. It’s not always easy to identify each type of material, which is why many carry jeweler’s loupes. These small magnifying lenses can help you get a closer look at the material so you can determine what it is.

Look for Hallmarks

Picture of a famous Hallmark

The best way to sell expensive jewelry is to know who made it. That helps you really lock down its worth, especially if you can also determine the year it was made. You’ll need to carefully look over the piece for its hallmark. This is often a small logo or a couple of letters that tell you who the manufacturer or designer of the piece was. If you’re lucky, there will also be a year mark near the hallmark. If not, you’ll need to do some research into the designer to determine when it was made.

  • Jan 23 / 2018
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Antique Jewelry

What the Antique Dealer Doesn’t Want You to Know when Buying Antique Gold and Silver

When you’re considering selling your antique gold and silver, you probably do a little bit of research to learn more about the market and the pieces you have. It’s great to be informed, but not every antique dealer would agree. Some try to keep a few little secrets from their customers. If you’re going to be dealing with antique jewelry buyers, you can get the upper hand by knowing a few of these trade secrets they’d prefer you not to know.

The Price Isn’t Always the Price

Antiques are one of those areas where the dealer often has a little bit of wiggle room in the price. When determining antique jewelry value, dealers generally add a percentage to what they paid so they can make a profit. In some cases, they will drop that percentage if they’re selling to another dealer or to one of their loyal customers. If you haven’t bought from a particular dealer before, you may still be able to get the piece at a discount, but you have to be polite about it. Instead of making an offer, as if there’s any room to negotiate the price. In some cases, the dealer may say yes. In other cases, that may not be the case.

Negotiating Images and Banner

Very Few Appraisers Are Actually Trained

Sure, a dealer may say that they will appraise your jewelry for you, but in many cases, they don’t really have any professional training. Even the various appraiser associations don’t have any kind of standardized testing for credentials. Only around ten percent of dealers are actually trained appraisers, so keep that in mind when you ask for someone to assess the value of a piece. If you want the opinion of someone who is more likely to know antique jewelry worth, go to someone certified by the American Society of Appraisers. They do require members to take a test in appraising specific areas in order to get certified.

Antique Verses Collectible

Many dealers throw around the word “antique” without actually using it correctly. Antiques are, by strict definition, 100 years old or older. That means items from the 1950s aren’t yet antiques. Many people simply assume anything that’s old is an antique, while it’s really more of a collectible. Keep in mind that even if you’re buying something that’s old, it’s not necessarily antique and may not be worth what you’re about to pay for it.

image of an actual antique

Dealers Often Don’t Know Everything

Even if you’ve found the best place to sell jewelry, that dealer likely isn’t going to know an antique rug from one bought on sale at the department store down the street. Just as “antique” doesn’t always mean antique, it’s also such a broad term that anything from a necklace to a tea set to a shovel can fall into the category. Make sure the dealer you’re working with knows the type of antique you want. Many dealers do specialize, so it’s important to find one you know will be able to spot a fake before you buy from them.

  • Jan 04 / 2018
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Antique Chinese Art, Antique Chinese Buyers, antique dealer, Chinese Antique Buyers

Sell This, Not That: Everything About Chinese Antiques Authentication, Appraisals, and Valuations

Are you thinking about getting into the Chinese antiques industry? There are many people who make a good amount of money buying and selling Chinese antiques, but you have to be invested. You don’t simply become a Chinese porcelain buyer overnight. You need to understand what to sell to truly make money, plus you need to know how to value your collection and where to find out if it’s authentic.

There Are a lot of Fakes

You can walk into just about any home décor store and see shelves of Chinese porcelain vases. These vases probably retail for $29.99 or so, and that’s really all they’re worth. With so many vases out there, figuring out which ones came from a department store and which are actually from Chinese can be difficult. Even some experts can be fooled. The first thing you want to do as a Chinese antiques dealer is find yourself an appraiser who is knowledgeable about Chinese pieces. Take your time and really vet the appraiser. This person is going to be your go-to expert to determine the value of your pieces, so you want them to be experienced and professional.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Second Opinion

If you take a piece to several Chinese antique buyers and they all turn it down, it’s possible even your expert fell for a scam. It happens. Take the piece to another appraiser and ask for a second opinion. Make sure you get detailed appraisal reports from both experts to compare.

Do Your Own Homework

If you’re going to get into selling Chinese antiques, you need to learn as much as you can about them. You can find a lot of information online about how to properly identify true antique pieces (those that are more than 100 years old). While you may not feel confident appraising your own items, you can at least learn enough to be able to weed out the obvious fakes and cheaper items from the valuable ones.

A person doing an online search for antiques

Know Your Audience

If you’re looking for where to sell Chinese antique items, you want to make sure you’re selling to people who understand Chinese art and know what they want. Selling at a general antique auction or to a general dealer is likely to get you less money. You want to find buyers who want specifically what you have. Sell to the market where the demand is—you’ll get more money that way.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

Dont be afraid to say no

When it comes to deciding what to sell, don’t be afraid to say no to offers you feel are particularly low. There’s no need to get into a hurry to sell items. In fact, many people who have made a killing selling Chinese antiques did so years after they bought the items. Many never really intended to sell, but later decided they needed to downside or had too much clutter. That’s when they learned that their Chinese antiques were worth a lot of money. It’s okay to hold on to antique items for several years. They’re not going to lose any value.

  • Dec 18 / 2017
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antique appraisal, Antique Collection, antique dealer, antique dealers and buyers, antiques

Trading Antiques & Keepsakes: What you need to know before hand

Thinking about getting into the antiques trade? For some, it becomes a fun hobby that they make some money from. For others, it becomes a full-time job or becomes their job following retirement. No matter why you want to get into selling antiques & collectibles, there are a few things you should know before you jump into the world of buying, selling, and trading antiques and keepsakes.


You Won’t Get Rich Fast

If you’re looking for a side job that will let you quit your full-time job within a few months, you’re looking in the wrong place. While it’s true you may eventually reach the point where you can buy and sell antiques as your job, it won’t be overnight. While it’s true that some antique buyers do make huge sales, those are often the exception rather than the norm. For every sale you have that’s several thousand dollars, you’ll likely have many, many more that are much less.

buy and sell antiques

Be Careful Specialized in High-End Items Only

Some people might think that they will simply focus only on high-end items so that every sale is at least several hundred dollars. There are a few things to be careful about here. First, expect to invest a lot more upfront in buying antiques. Many people know what their items are worth and won’t let them go for next to nothing. Also realise that high-end collectors are a fairly small niche. Most people can afford to purchase small antiques from time to time. Few, though, can afford to spend thousands every month.

Antique Clock

Explore Your Local Antiques Scene

Do you know where the best place to sell antiques in your area is? It helps to check out the local scene so you know where you’re likely to find good deals and where you can sell the items you find. You may want to work online, but that also involves doing a little bit of research. Some people assume eBay is the play to buy and sell, but there may be other auction sites out there that are better for the specific items you’re trading.

Local Antiques Scene

Be Ready to Put in the Time

One fact about keepsake and antiques buyers and sellers is that they have to put in the time learning about the items they’re trading. This involves learning how to identify different styles and types of antiques. You want to know the major manufacturers, designers, and artists in the antiques niche you’re invested in. Most dealers don’t simply purchase every type of antique they come across—they specialize. You’ll likely want to do that just because it makes it easier to learn about the antiques.

antiques buyers

You’ll also need to keep up with the market. This means learning about which antiques are selling well and which aren’t. Like any market, there will be ups and downs. Some designs or styles that are popular now may not be so popular in a few months. Keep up with the trends so you know what to buy and how to price the items you’re selling.

By following these tips, you can enter into the antiques market a little more prepared than others. That, in turn, will help you spend your money more wisely.

  • Dec 06 / 2017
  • 0
antique appraisal, Antique Art, antique dealer, antiques

Other than Selling, What Good Are Artifacts for?

If you’ve collected artifacts, antiques, and other objects, you may have done so with the intent of selling them. But what if that’s not your plan at all? There are many ancient artifacts out there that look amazing, and you may not want to sell them at all. If you don’t sell them, what else can you do with them? There are actually a number of things you can do with these items.


Decorate Your Home

Many people collect antiques and other artifacts for their own personal decoration. They love how these antique artifacts look, so they collect as many of them as they can. Some focus on particular artifacts such as ancient coins, while others may collect anything that catches their eye or that they’re interested in. Some purchase mostly small artifacts that aren’t that rare, while others may want to invest in the rarer and more expensive items.

antiques and other artifacts

It’s a Fun Hobby

For some people, owning the artifact is actually not their main goal. They love the thrill of learning about each artifact, carefully tracing its route from where it originated to where they found it, and even hunting for specific artifacts they have read about. They’re something like modern-day treasure hunters, searching for specific artifacts to purchase. For these individuals, it’s the journey that they’re really invested in. Owning the artifact is, of course, a nice ending to that journey, but even if they don’t end up finding what they want, they’ve still enjoyed the search.

Looking for specific artifacts

They’re an Investment

The reason some ancient artifact buyers want to purchase the rarest items they can find is because they’re making investments. They plan on holding on to these artifacts for quite some time and then may sell them later. Others plan on leaving these items to their children. They know that they or their descendants will have these rare items on hand if things get particularly bad financially. They’re a long-term safety net.


They Plan on Donating Them

Some people look for artifacts to purchase and later donate to a museum or other organization. Some of the most famous artifacts in history were purchased by individuals and included in their private collections until they made the decision to donate them. In fact, this is how many museums built up their collections. Some people donate their artifacts while they’re still alive. Others leave their collections to a museum when they die. In many cases, donating these items does provide the individual or their estate with a tax write-off.

antique artifacts

Artifacts can provide important historical lessons or show how things were once done. In many cases, people want to share these artifacts with others. Even those who don’t want to permanently donate their collection may loan their antique artifacts to museums or other organizations for display. This lets them share the items they’ve painstakingly hunted down without actually giving them away. Many people who love hunting for artifacts later do donate them or loan them out. Some even make it their mission to find specific artifacts for museums.