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Things to consider when buying antique jewellery

Antique jewellery has never been more sought-after. Unique styles, with intricate details and a wealth of history mean yesterday’s jewellery pieces are in high demand. However, buying antique jewellery can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what to look out for. Here’s our simple guide to help you buy the perfect second hand antique piece.
  1. The age
When shopping for antique jewellery, make sure you know what defines a piece as being ‘antique’. High quality antique jewellery that has been looked-after will often still have hallmarks with date letters, making it easy to discover when the piece was made. Failing this, because hallmarks do rub as items age, have a look at the style of the piece and cut of the gemstones.
  1. The style
All antique jewellery has an era and particular design, which will help you narrow down your search when looking for that perfect piece of jewellery. The 1900’s to 1920’s brought about the Edwardian period; jewellery was characterised with an abundance of filigree, garlands of flowers and scroll decoration. edwardian-emerald-and-diamond-ring-p17055-4580_zoom Edwardian Emerald and Diamond Ring   The Art Deco period of the 1920’s to 1940’s focussed on straight lines, geometric shapes and fantastic symmetrical designs. The 1930’s to 1950’s featured retro jewellery; this period paid homage to classical engagement rings as well as a return to feminine motifs of flowers and large bows. The Art Nouveau period of the mid-century is well known for stylised motifs and curvilinear designs and this was certainly portrayed in jewellery of the time. Art Deco Diamond Emerald Pendant When looking at antique jewellery you’ll notice a huge difference in the cut of the stones. The old mine cut was the first diamond cut to feature heavily in antique jewellery. This cut was faceted for optimum surface light reflection, featuring a high crown and gently hand cut rounded edges. The old European cut was established in the 1900’s (certainly my favourite cut). This cut is becoming extremely rare to find today. The diamond looks fantastic when set and it’s the first cut to take into account the refraction of light through the stone.
  1. The supplier
Make sure you are buying from a reputable antique jewellery company. Jewellery specialists that focus on antiques ensure that you will get the best quality product. At Browns, we feel that it is extremely important to keep the authenticity of our heritage jewellery, keeping it as natural with no contemporary enhancements. A good, honest seller should usually have some detail regarding the history of the piece.
  1. The condition
When choosing antique jewellery make sure you pay attention to the detail and condition of the piece. Antique jewellery may have a ‘loved look’ to it with a lot of character, but you don’t want any chipped edges to your stones. Watch out for any imperfections in your chosen piece, and ensure it looks smooth and clean with quality craftsmanship. Make sure the stones are set symmetrically and perfectly, and that they’re held securely in-place. If you have any questions regarding antique jewellery, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re always eager to help you find the piece of jewellery you’ll treasure.