Is Vintage Jewellery The Right Investment For You?

People all over the world have beautiful collections of vintage jewellery simply because they love it. However, it can also be a very viable long term investment for many people. This isn’t to say that simply buying any vintage jewellery is a good investment, as there are many things to take into consideration. However, with the right knowledge, you can make a serious amount of money over your lifetime! 

Let’s start by looking at how vintage jewellery is a good investment and then the things you need to know if this is something you are interested in! 

Things You Need To Know Before Investing In Vintage Jewellery

Knowing The Difference Between Vintage and Antique

Both antique and vintage jewellery hold value well, but knowing the difference between the two before investing is key. Vintage jewellery refers to jewellery that is more than 50 years old, dating back to before 1971 from 2021. Antique jewellery, however, is jewellery that is over 100 years old, dating back to before 1921 from 2021, the beginning of the Art Deco period. 

Antique jewellery certainly has its benefits, as although it is older and may have experienced some wear and tear, the cultural and historical significance associated with antique jewellery may enhance its value. Yet, vintage jewellery may be in slightly better condition and may be better suited to a more contemporary consumer. There are benefits to both antique and vintage jewellery, but each piece of jewellery is different, so the investment potential should be evaluated based more on the piece rather than on the period that it is from. 

Hallmarks and Designer Labels

Next up, when looking for vintage or antique jewellery, hallmarks and designer labels are a huge indicator of potential value. When a piece of jewellery is clearly marked as being of a specific quality or being associated with a major designer, it will likely be worth more.

However, it is important to remember that these things aren’t the be all and end all. Jewellery hallmarking was actually only made official in 1972 in the UK, so many vintage and particular antique pieces of jewellery will not feature it. This means that there are plenty of breathtaking pieces of jewellery out there without hallmarks and designer labels that will still be worth a significant amount of money. Additionally, there were amazing independent jewellers who had the ability to produce stunning jewellery with their unparalleled craftsmanship and the best materials, but these won’t all be hallmarked. 

So, although hallmarking and designer labels are a key indicator of value, this does not mean that you should limit your search to jewellery like this. Some of the most valuable pieces of jewellery circulating may not be hallmarked. The best thing you can do is to have an expert examine the setting, intricacy of design and the quality of the metal and gemstones. This is the most effective way to assess the value and potential investment opportunity. If paperwork is available that proves the selling history of the piece, that’s even better!

The 4 C’s

The next thing to look at is the 4C’s. Whilst it is always advised that you work with a professional and independent jewellery valuer who are experts in this, having a knowledge of the main components of high quality gemstones is important when you are investing and could help when it comes to your negotiating strategies

The value of a gemstone is determined based on the clarity, cut, colour and carat of the stone, also known as the 4 C’s. These four components are all combined to create the value of the gemstone. 

The clarity of the gemstone is referring to the presence of marks on the surface of the gemstone, known as blemishes, and also any marks inside the gemstone, known as inclusions. It is normal for gemstones to have flaws as a result of the enormous pressure it takes to create them. There is a scale with FL being the highest clarity being both flawless inside and out. The lowest clarity grade is L3, although there could be huge differences between two L3 diamonds. This is very complex, as is the knowledge required to establish the clarity of the ring. 

Next, the cut of the gemstone looks at the quality of the angles, the facets, quality of the finishing details and the proportions of the gemstone. A properly cut gemstone will enable light to reflect internally and externally, creating the signature dazzle that you would want from a gemstone. When the cut is not as good, the gemstone will look duller, and therefore will be worth less. 

The third C is the colour, which mostly refers to diamonds. The less colour that a diamond has, the more it is worth. This is because a colourless diamond allows more light to be reflected, making it more sparkly! Whilst we are on the topic of colour, it is key to the value of many other gemstones. For example, velvet blue sapphires are more valuable than violet blue shades. 

Finally, we have carat. The carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh gemstones. A carat is 200 milligrams and each carat is divided into 100 points. So, you will see a carat weight presented like this; 4.55 carats. As the carat increases, so does the value. However, two different one carat diamonds could be worth completely different amounts when taking into account the cut, clarity and colour, too. So, a 10 carat gemstone that has a very poor cut and clarity might be worth way less than an unbelievable quality 1 carat gemstone. 

Final Thoughts

There are so many different things to consider when it comes to investing in vintage jewellery, but the two main things to remember are that this is a long term investment and that not just any piece of vintage jewellery will make you money. Working with a professional jeweller is the best way to make a viable investment for your future!

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Daisy Moss

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