A Quick Guide To Identifying Antique Jewelry

Antique jewelry is defined as an item which is a hundred years old or more. While identifying some antique pieces can be more straightforward, for those of you who arent expert antique jewelry dealers, this can be a pretty tricky job!

If youre perhaps on the hunt for that special antique engagement ring or maybe a unique genuine Victorian necklace, then its important that you know what youre looking out for to ensure that you really are getting the best value for your money.

Here is a quick guide as to how you can differentiate genuine antique jewelry from other styles more easily.

Look for a hallmark

Hallmarks are official stamps or marks imprinted onto gold, silver and platinum pieces to show that the item has been independently tested and guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity as explained by The Assay Offices of Great Britain .

This is particularly important to look out for when identifying antique jewelry due to the reason that it is, in fact, illegal for a trader to sell or describe a precious metal such as gold, silver or platinum unless its been stamped with a hallmark.

The hallmark could describe a number of things including its purity, the original maker as well as when and where it was hallmarked.

Purity, for instance, is one of the more common markers specifying the kind of metal used, as well as the relative purity of the metal.


Another top tip to look out for when identifying antique jewelry is patina. This refers to the particular sheen which occurs after years of use. As antique jewelry is predominantly sold in its original condition so as to prevent damaging the precious metal, the patina should be fairly noticeable according to Money Crashers blog.

Due to its age, antique jewelry usually shows signs of general wear and tear including the odd imperfection and tarnish.

If presented with a bright, spotless, brand new looking item claiming to be antique, then its always best to ask the dealer if the item has been restored. If it hasnt, then theres a chance that it might not be real.

Check that the stone and setting match up

Highly prized gemstones can often be the feature in antique jewelry which is most susceptible to forgery. For this reason, when identifying antique jewelry, its important to ensure that the stone and setting of the piece look consistent.

We always say that its always best to be cautious if you see what you think is a precious gemstone set within a piece of jewelry which doesnt quite look constant to the rest of the item.

As quoted in one of their blogs highlighting cautionary signs that a piece of antique may not be genuine, when considering the validity of an antique piece, its a very good idea to check if all of the items features appear to be consistent.

Be watchful of misleading terminology

When trying to distinguish antique jewelry, another piece of useful advice is to be careful of misleading terminology that might lead you into thinking that the item is something which it isnt.

An example of a misleading term is antique style when describing a piece of jewelry claiming to be an antique. About Style warn that this could indicate that the piece looks very similar to an antique, but is in fact just a replica, particularly if there is no mention of the items age.

These are just a few of the ways that you can distinguish antique pieces from other styles of jewelry. If though, when looking to purchase an item of jewelry you are uncertain of the items validity, its always best to obtain a second opinion from a professional jeweler or gemologist before going ahead with the purchase.