Design Contributes to Beauty of Antique Jewelry

The design and cut of a particular stone can turn an old or vintage piece into a collector’s piece of antique jewelry. Sapphires, rubies and diamonds are just a few of the stones embedded into intricate metal to make rings, brooches and pendants back when most jewelry was fashioned by hand.

It would be rare today to find a jewelry maker who fashions the metal, whether gold, silver or even titanium from scratch, using molds for the metal and fine grinding and sanding it to a smooth and shiny finish, and then precision cutting the stone to fit into the mount. Those steps are what make old jewelry truly antique jewelry pieces.

Many people confuse being old with being an antique. A person’s grandmother’s wedding ring may be old and it may be beautiful, however other than sentimental value it may not be considered as antique jewelry by a true collector.

Some Items Made for Costumes and Not Collecting

During the early to mid 20th century, cheap tin and stone jewelry was made by the tons as costume jewelry. It was made to be cheap, had little value except as adornment for women who couldn’t afford the handmade jewelry. It would never be considered as antique jewelry.

A new collector however may not understand the difference and see some of this old costume jewelry, be convinced by a persuasive sales person that it is really old and believe it to be antique jewelry. What you may get is simply old costume jewelry.

People who collect true antique jewelry understand what makes jewelry an antique and not just old. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that steam or gas power engines were used in jewelry making and once this mechanical production became more popular, it sparked many new trends in adornment.

Light and delicate were the traits of antique jewelry of the Edwardian era and Louis Cartier started adding hearts and bows to his designs for his high income clients. Art Deco jewelry, arriving after the war, was what women were after which offered a more symmetrical design, although bright contrasting colors came with it.

As with most collecting, the value of an item is based on its age, its availability and what another person is will to pay for it. But with age, something which is old is not necessarily a collectable antique; it may just be considered antique jewelry because it is old.


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