Your grandma’s ring. Your mom’s necklace. The best accessories are ones with a legacy. Start your own collection of heirloom pieces with the help of local experts.
The easiest and safest route to collecting vintage jewelry? Finding a trustworthy dealer. You’ll find many on El Paseo. It’s also wise to explore local auction houses and confirm whether the items you’re purchasing come with guarantees like certification from the Gemological Institute of America, an authoritative source that provides exact details on your purchase and prevents any misunderstandings between you and a seller.
If you hope to save a little cash — or simply love the thrill of a hunt — arm yourself with some gem and metal knowledge before going the DIY route at consignment shops and estate sales. Fine jewelry “should have either a carat mark or a hallmark,” says Patrick Dragonette of Dragonette Limited. British silver in particular utilizes a robust codex of glyphs to denote where, when, and by whom items were produced. Sites like online encyclopedia 925-1000.com can help you decode the symbols.
And while there are passionate collectors of every era, certain designs are more timeless than others and have better resale value. Look for geometric shapes, reticulated (or textured) metals, and clustered pavé settings. Midcentury modern is also enduring, particularly in the desert, where certain trademarks of the style — the clean lines of Bauhaus art and starburst shapes inspired by the Atomic Age — carried over into wearable baubles.
When it comes to costume jewelry made of nonprecious metals: “Buy what you love,” Dragonette says. “But if you can align what you love with fashion-house jewelry like Chanel, Saint Laurent, Valentino, or Armani, it’ll accrue more value.”