What’s Old Is Always New Again


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This 14-18K brooch and earring set features a shell cameo of a lady, and was created between 1861 and 1887. It is valued at $2,250. Photo by Red Robin.

The practice of investing in tangible assets continues, as people seek out solid options to put their money into. Among the popular picks of this investing attitude is antique and vintage jewelry, and as summer draws to a close the report from auction houses and show floors is positive.

Last month’s New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show drew steady crowds and strong sales, as collectors and dealers alike perused and purchased antique jewelry from more than 100 fine antique jewelry dealers from around the world, according a press release from dmg world media.

"The show was superb! We were able to cultivate strong contacts and big ticket sales, "said Steven Fearnley, owner of J.S. Fearnley of Atlanta, according to a dmg world media press release.

Among the highlights of the show for Fearnley and company was the sale of a 7 1/4 carat emerald and diamond Edwardian ring, while Olivia Garary, owner of Olivia Garary Vintage Jewelry happily announced the show a success with sales that included a diamond Cartier rose from the 1950s, according to the dmg world media press release.

answers to questions about old jewelryIn the 1950s a nod to earlier generations and styles in fashion drove the same from jewelry.

"The full skirts of the "new look" were reminiscent of the Victorian era and jewelry designers looked to the past for inspiration.  A multitude of pieces were produced in what we now refer to as "Victorian Revival," writes author C. Jeanenne Bell, G.G. in her article entitled "The American Historical Period," in her book Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry.

"The jewelry used to compliment this new style was huge. It took on large proportions, just as it did in the 1860s when skirts were widened," Bell states.

Earlier this summer Canada’s Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers Inc. saw its spring auction draw 606 lots, with a sales ranging from $500 to upwards of $35,000 (Canada prices). Among the items was Tiffany gold bracelets, Hamilton diamond and platinum watches circa 1940s, Victorian necklaces of the late 1800s and diamond ear clips circa 1960s.

warman's vintage jewelryAs more people are looking at their own, or the family jewelry collection to see what treasures may lie within, the hunt for details can be an exciting part of the process of finding out the value of jewelry.  In Warman’s Vintage Jewelry noted authority and appraiser Leigh Leshner offers a detailed tutorial on settings and metals in vintage jewelry, as well as an in-depth history on rhinestones – including cuts and shapes.

Northeast Auctions also saw a favorable response to a suite of late Victorian, gold, enamel and rose diamond jewelry at its Summer American Auction, July 31-Aug.2. The set, which included a bracelet, pendant/pin and earrings, had an estimated value of $600-900 and sold for $1,111.50.

Christie’s also reported strong sales at its June "New York Jewels" auction, with 167 lots selling for a total of $11,367,875. The top lot was an exquisite pear-shaped fancy intense blue, internally flawless 6.29 ct. diamond, which sold for $3,554,500.

Looking ahead to May 2010, Antiques Roadshow regular appraiser Leigh Keno will host the inaugural sale at his new auction house Keno Auctions. The new auction house, whose Web site www.kenoauctions.com, went live the end of July, is actively seeking consignments (including jewelry) for its first sale.

antique trader jewelry price guidewarman's watches field guideFrom now until August 24 you can enjoy the spotlight on jewelry during the Buy One, Get One for Half Price (or more) sale at Shop.Collect.com. When you buy any jewelry book in the store, you can get a copy of Antique Trader Jewelry Price Guide or Warman’s Watches Field Guide for half price. Just include Coupon Code ATRBART81809 when ordering to receive your savings, which will be present in your shopping cart prior to check out.

More Images:

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This gold necklace, circa 1880-1890 is made of brass watch covers, and is assessed at $700. Photo by C. Jeanenne Bell.
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This Trifari circa 1950s necklace and earring clips is valued at $250. Photo by Roy Royer.
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This 1920s-1930s-era sterling silver pin is 1-5/8" x 1-1/4" in size, and represents a marcasite flower basket. It's valued at $95. Photo by Sunday & Sunday.

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