If you are familiar with antique jewellery, you will be aware of the dazzling variety of styles available, including rare and unique pieces. However, many buyers are not confident that they could spot a fake among this array of designs. Even worse, fakers can be clever. You may come across old stones fitted into newer fixings and vice versa, but and it's misleading to sell such items as 'antique'. So, what should you look for if you think a piece might be fake?
Hallmarks and other markings
A hallmark shows you the item is made from precious metal as well as further specifics. Jewellery may also feature makers' marks. If you favour certain makers, its worthwhile to research their marks and don't buy a piece if the mark looks unfamiliar or the maker's name is misspelt. If in doubt, look online and find a reputable source for information.
Check the findings
'Findings' refers to the functional parts of a piece of jewellery such as clasps, hinges, bead caps, earring posts and so forth. If the jewels appear genuine but the findings look too modern, beware.
For example, many early Victorian necklaces were fastened with a tube hinge. Subsequent fastenings which could be genuine include rollover hinges, C hinges, and 'safety pin' hinges. Lobster catches are much more modern and are not found on real Victorian jewellery.
Know your jewellery trends
Like all fashion items, jewellery goes through trends. The cut of the stones, alloys used, and the colours chosen are all good indicators of the age of a piece.
Art Deco jewellery, for example, often featured bright colours in contrast to the more muted tones characteristic of Victorian pieces, as white gold was not used until the 1900s.
Interestingly, Victorian jewellers often used pinchbeck (a zinc-copper alloy) as a substitute for gold, whereas modern makers prefer real gold or platinum. A key indicator of the type of jewellery and its age.
Look for craftsmanship
On close inspection, does the item look like it was moulded? Have the jewels been glued in? If so, you may be looking at an imitation. Also, older pieces tend to be heavier than modern counterfeits.
Although there is a lot to remember, do not let all this put you off buying beautiful antique jewellery online. Be sure to only buy from sellers who supply large, good quality photographs and include a detailed description. If these are missing or inadequate, steer clear.
We hope that this quick guide will give you the confidence to find stunning, unique antique jewellery that you can treasure forever. For more information or advice, visit us online at Laurelle Antique Jewellery.