Estate Jewelry

The term estate jewelry typically refers to jewelry pieces that have been acquired from a living or deceased person’s estate. Simply put, estate jewelry is jewelry that was previously owned and is a very popular way to find beautiful and unique pieces without paying outrageous costs that newer jewelry pieces can bring.

While some pieces of estate jewelry may be antiques this is not true of all pieces. Some estate jewelry pieces are retro and vintage and many are also newer or modern pieces. You should also understand that estate jewelry does not automatically mean fine jewelry. The genre can include both fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Understanding how to spot the differences will help you to find the best pieces and purchasing estate jewelry is an excellent way to add to your jewelry wardrobe without spending a small fortune in doing so.

Antique jewelry includes those pieces that were produced prior to 1920. You may find many pieces of antique jewelry at estate sales but you will likely also find those that were created between 1920 and 1950. These can be vintage, deco and retro pieces and estate jewelry includes all of these individual eras. Purchasing jewelry from estate sales allows you to add pieces to your jewelry collection that are typically priced very low. Most estate jewelry collections include many pieces so you can choose which ones you prefer. This jewelry is typically considered to be of a slightly higher value than modern pieces because even costume jewelry from decades past tended to be designed for the rich. You will likely find many pieces that contain real diamonds and/or other gemstones and those that are set in real gold or sterling silver.

When you are planning to purchase estate jewelry there are a few things that you should keep in mind. It is important that you are able to verify the authenticity of the piece that you purchase. You may want to spend some time learning about the various eras and the jewelry from each era. This will better enable you to spot the best deals and know a true value when you see one. You may also want to have your estate jewelry appraised after purchase just to verify the value. If the value is high you should consider purchasing an insurance policy to protect you in the event you ever lose the piece or it is damaged or stolen. In many cases you may be able to have the pieces appraised before you purchase.

Price is something else that you will need to consider when purchasing estate jewelry. You want to ensure that the piece is worth what you are paying. Again, you may be able to have it appraised before you purchase it. You also want to ensure that you can afford the cost. If you are planning to estate shop you may want to set a budget beforehand and choose only those pieces that really catch your eye. Many find estate jewelry shopping to be well worth the cost simply because you have the opportunity to purchase more expensive pieces at a much lower cost than you would at a traditional jeweler.

You will want to thoroughly inspect the estate jewelry that you want to purchase to ensure that each piece is in fairly good condition. Just because the jewelry is pre-owned does not mean that it should be damaged. Pay special attention to settings, prongs and the stones and ensure that no damage is evident in each piece. Estate jewelry, particularly fine jewelry, should be in gently used condition meaning that there are no drastic damages that can be seen. You want your jewelry pieces to last for many years so be sure that you are purchasing only those pieces that seem to be in fairly good condition. If you are unsure of the condition you may want to again consider an appraisal prior to purchasing a specific piece.

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