Collecting Jewellery – The Basics (Part 1)
Jewellery is a popular item to collect; with both form and function jewellery can be collected to be worn, to be displayed or to complement a particular interest or passion. Perhaps you're really into the Victorian style, or you love the bright enamel work of certain jewellers or cultures? You might want to collect pendants, or maybe you have a penchant for rings. Perhaps you're obsessed with a particular colour and want to collect all manner of pieces from a range of time periods, as long as they feature your favourite shade?
Whatever the reason for your jewellery collection, it's important to keep it in mind when scouting for new pieces, so you only invest in pieces that will enrich and enhance your existing items. If you wear your collected jewellery you'll want to ensure that the pieces you buy are in keeping with your style. Those of you who love the style from a particular decade, will want to ensure that any new pieces you buy match that aesthetic and that you're likely to have an occasion to wear them.
Knowing the look you're going for is one thing, but how do you decide whether to buy a piece or not? It helps to have a written list of criteria to help you shortlist potential new purchases and you will consider things like the material it's made from (perhaps you only collect yellow gold, or platinum pieces), the stones featured (a colour preference comes into play here), the maker of the jewellery (some people collect pieces from a specific design house) and the period it dates from. Budget is also an issue, so set yourself a limit per year, or per piece and stick to it. Some of these factors will be more important than others depending on your main reason for collecting them.
Buying second hand jewellery can turn up some gems (if you'll excuse the pun); often jewellery is donated to charity shops and you can pick up a real bargain if you know what to look for. Familiarise yourself with hallmarks and how to discern real gems from paste, and consider buying a jewellers loupe to inspect pieces that catch your eye. If you're able to handle the jewellery consider the weight – vintage jewellery is often much heavier than it looks and you can tell straight away from the weight of the piece whether the asking price is reasonable. Online auction sites and selling apps may also be hiding treasure – when dealing with a relative's estate people often use these channels to make a quick sale without the fees of an auction house, so it's worth checking these sites and apps.
Join us for part 2 where we look at the other ways to buy, how to store your collection and how to enjoy it to the full potential.