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Saturday, June 14, 2008

IS VINTAGE JEWELRY A GOOD INVESTMENT?

The answer to that question varies. It's a good investment if

1) it's a designer piece
2) the designer's jewelry is scarce
3) the condition is excellent
4) if you're buying to wear, invest or sell

On the right, is a superb designer piece in the Juliana style from DeLissa & Elster. What a gorgeous set of vintage jewelry! All stones are present, the colors are outstanding, and the design is unique.
Making it even more valuable as an investment is the fact that it's a 5-piece parure! Wow...now that scarce. It consists of necklace, bracelet, earrings and 2 brooches. This was a fabulous vintage jewelry investment. It was being sold on ebay with a "buy it now" price of $1850. The person who purchased it made an accepted offer of $1400.

Getting back to the criteria as to whether vintage jewelry is a good investment, here's the thing: there's lots of beautiful vintage jewelry out there but in all cases, if the vintage jewelry you're thinking of buying isn't a designer signed piece, then it's not worth as much as those that are designer signed. So when it comes to investing in vintage jewelry, look for the designer's name. That said, some designers fetch a higher dollar than others. Often that will have to do with scarcity. A Schiaparelli is harder to come by than a Weiss. Miriam Haskell is quite widely available but some of her pieces command huge dollars, especially if they are sets using her baroque pearls. Sherman jewelry is highly sought after but some colors will get much more money than others. And regardless of designer, sets (known as demis - 2 pieces - or parures if 3 pieces or more) are of much greater interest to collectors.


Coco Chanel was one of Schiaparelli's main competitors and like Schiaparelli, Chanel vintage jewelry also fetches a high dollar. There were 21 bids placed on eBay for the Chanel 80's cuff bracelet on the right and it ultimately sold for $2025 ... and it's not even gold! It's gold-plated. I find it astonishing in some respects that buyers will pay more for gold-plated or gold-filled items that are designer signed vintage than they will for real gold and diamonds but not designer signed.



Here's an example: the Cartier - inspired bangle shown in the photo below which we are selling from OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE is comprised of 6 channels of solid Yellow, White and Rose gold. This bangle was custom made in the 1980's, and weighs 33.88 grams of 18k gold. On top of that, it's adorned with 18 diamonds of VS-SI clarity, F-G color, for a total diamond weight of .65ct. The bangle was originally part of a set but we sold the ring alone some time back. The bangle alone has an appraised value, based on its gold and diamond content of around $6500. We are asking only $1399 for this knockout bracelet and it's worth every penny. But if it were the original Cartier bangle on which it is based, it would be worth many times more, especially with that gold and diamond content.


Incidentally, if you are interested in learning more about the piece in the photo above, just click on the photo. When you open the new page, amongst the other photos you'll see is the original appraisal for the full set i.e bangle and ring. The set was appraised at $8550 Canadian. As I said, we're now selling the bangle alone for only $1395 US. And this week only, from June 13 - June 20 (midnight) we are open to offers on all items, including this one, in our RUBY LANE SHOP

Back to the question posed in our heading and the criteria for investing in vintage jewelry. We've addressed most of that criteria except condition: it goes almost without saying: the better the condition of the vintage jewelry you're looking at, the better investment it is. In necklaces, brooches, earrings etc that use stones, watch for any cloudiness or darkening in the stones. Check for loose stones. Designer pieces with missing stones are far less valuable than those where all stones are intact, especially true if all stones are the originals. The thing is it's very hard to find perfect replacements for a stone missing in a designer piece and collectors can often spot a replaced stone very easily. Look for glued-in stones: if the designer never used glue that's most likely a replaced stone. As in all things, it's buyer beware.

Of course, if you're only buying vintage jewelry because you love its look and like wearing it, that's a whole different thing. Given the amount of modern reproductions on the market and available in the malls today, there's a huge interest in the vintage look and designer doesn't matter in that case. Happy vintage jewelry shopping! Swing on by OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE this weekend and make us an offer! And there's also some very affordable vintage brooches in OUR SHOP at e-CRATER.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ANIMAL BROOCHES - SOME FOLKS LOVE 'EM!


I've never been a big one on brooches of any kind but somehow over the past year I seem to have amassed quite a collection. Those that are part of my Sherman Jewelry are fine. These come in beautiful sets that I carry and you can see them by visiting the BROOCH section at SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE.

But as I've found out from one of the jewelry groups to which I belong, lots of people just love animal brooches. Well, guess what I found in my collection: I have both cat and dog brooches and they're really quite cute. Furthermore, several of them are signed pieces!

Take that "Poodle Power Brooch" in the photo. It's made by and signed PARKLANE. It measures 2 1/4" high by 2 1/4" wide and is in fabulous vintage condition. If you click on the photo, you can visit my shop at eCrater where I have this brooch and others listed in my CLEARANCE section at great prices.

Here's another cutie from that section that I'm selling for only $3! This pretty kitty with blue rhinestone eyes and ringing a bell that actually moves is signed AVON. You've probably seen this one around but if you never bought it from AVON now's your chance to pick it up at a really low price. Again, click on the photo to learn more.

Then there's the delightful "Furry Friend", a doggy brooch that's 1 1/4" high by 2 3/4" wide. He doesn't have a claim to fame as a designer piece but he does have something very special about him: he's made of tiny bits of mink. So nice to touch. Perhaps a grand-daughter or niece would just love this one.








As I mentioned, all of these sweet animal brooches are currently available in my CLEARANCE SECTION at eCRATER. And if you buy more than one, I combine ship so you pay only one low shipping fee for all pieces. Just contact me by email if you want to do that. Instructions are under TERMS on my home page.

There are some other nice clearance items in that store which we're still stocking. But don't forget my other regular shop at RUBY LANE or VINTAGE JEWELRY SHOWCASE!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BAKELITE! VALUABLE & EXPENSIVE!


When I first began shopping on eBay, I got a shock to find out that jewelry, primarily bangles, made of bakelite sold for big dollars! Heck, the last time I heard someone mention bakelite, it was my dad, talking the handles on some frying pans we had when I was still a kid! So it floored me to see that today, not only has jewelry made of bakelite become highly collectible, but also folks are willing to pay a lot of money for it!

Take the rather lovely necklace in the photo. This sold recently on eBay for $203! It has some wear to the chrome on the silver balls but that didn't stop 7 bidders fighting for it. A combination of things made this one valuable to the vintage jewelry collector: it's Art Deco and it's made from both Catalin and Bakelite.

But one has to be careful buying bakelite: the old question looms: is it really bakelite? Reputable sellers will test it with Simichrome or using steam which causes the bakelite to give off a chemical smell, or in some cases just rubbing it till it gets warm. Be sure to ask the seller if the item you're interested in has been tested for bakelite. You can also learn more about how to differentiate bakelite from plastic in an excellent article posted on my DESIGNER VINTAGE JEWELRY SITE (Click link)


For those who aren't interested in bakelite jewelry but collect other items made from bakelite, I've just listed the fabulous Bakelite Dice Toothpick Holder shown in the photo below in my SHOP AT RUBY LANE. What an outstanding vintage piece this is. Weighing 85.4 grams of bakelite and measuring 1 3/4" X 1 3/4" X 1 3/4", it's even signed "GB Modele Depose" on the bottom. Within 24 hours of listing it, four people had put a watch on it. No surprise there. Bakelite is one valuable material. Learn more about this item by clicking on the Photo or the link above.