There are so many amazing modern jewelry designers that make large and small piece to complement any outfit. I am a personal fan of Zoe Chicco’s pieces, as well as Nam Cho; but when I want to make a really big statement, I always go for the vintage pieces. The great thing about vintage pieces is that they tend to be unique, even one-of-a-kind. Even if they were mass-produced during their time, it was usually done in smaller batches. They also tend to be classic, timeless pieces that are always in fashion.
Sure, you could go with modern jewelry designed to look vintage, but it’s just not the same. At the same time, it can be difficult to find quality vintage pieces – but not impossible. Here are some places where you can find great vintage pieces to add to your collection.
Luxury Goods Buyers
Luxury buyers, like San Diego Jewelry Buyers, usually purchase jewelry from individuals and estates based on the piece’s condition and value. However, they also sell many of the pieces they buy, on consignment. Often, you can contact one of these places and let them know you are interested in purchasing vintage jewelry, and they can give you information on where and how they sell their pieces on consignment.
The advantage to working with one of these buyers is that they do accurate pricing and they make sure the pieces are in great condition, before putting them out for consignment. Another advantage is that, if you become a regular customer, whenever you need to sell any of your own pieces, you will have a trusted relationship with a reliable buyer.
Antique stores can often have a large variety of vintage jewelry, from estate sales and other sources. Like the luxury goods buyer, the antique store should accurately appraise the pieces to give you an accurate price.
However, it ultimately depends on the proprietor. Some may hire a professional appraiser, some may have the skill and knowledge to do the appraising themselves, and some may have neither. Although, if you feel that a piece is appraised too high, you may be able to negotiate for a lower price.
There are several avenues for finding vintage jewelry online. You have Etsy, eBay, Vintage Jewelry Online, and a host of other venders. The big advantage to shopping online is that you can find a wide variety of pieces, and you do it from anywhere. The downside is that you don’t get to see or touch the jewelry, and it’s difficult to determine the quality or condition of the pieces. A good, and trustworthy, online vendor will tell you if the piece has any damage or is missing any elements; but, if you encounter an untrustworthy vendor, you could end up with broken and unusable pieces, or nothing at all.
You may thing of yard sales as nothing more than a bunch of junk that nobody wants, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. People don’t just have yard sales to clear out trash, they have them because great Aunt Judy passed away last winter, and all of her stuff is in their garage; or they just updated their spring wardrobe and have a lot of gently-used pieces that need new homes.
As long as you’re not shy about poking through other people’s stuff, yard sales (and by extension flea markets and thrift shops) can be a gold mine. Of course the downside is that the jewelry could be in any condition. Some pieces might also be overpriced, although you may be able to negotiate.