There is something very special about buying a piece of gorgeous history from an estate sale, but there are a few tips and suggestions we wanted to pass along before you spend more on a piece than you really need to! 
We have so many unique pieces in our store. Stunning gems and stones that come in all different shapes and sizes, expertly crafted pieces, one of a kind pieces, and every so often an heirloom or a piece from an estate sale comes our way. These stunning pieces of history are unique, rare, and can tell quite a story. A lot of the time, there’s nothing like them! They are living pieces of history that are a peek into the culture of when they were made, what was important in fashion, what natural elements were available, and define artistic styles of the era they were crafted in. Some pieces stand out as unique and groundbreaking styles that changed and invented fashion. Others reflect fads and what was all the rage. Most importantly, each has a unique story and reason why they were purchased. When a piece like this happens to cross our doorstep, we welcome it in with pomp and circumstance. These old ladies and gents have been around and deserve our respect and care. In this two-part blog, we are going to be talking about some of the most important things to understand and know when it comes to buying estate pieces, and why they are so important!
Jewelry has been used to show ardor, power, wealth, position, adoration, commemoration, status, and remembrance. They’re well crafted and cherished pieces of artwork that are a time capsule of what was happening in history when they were created. Outside of keeping these pieces in our families to remember our friends and loved ones by, we keep them because they’re stunning and have a sense of style that never goes out of fashion. That is why we love to buy them. According to Fortune, when an incredible collection of jewels that belonged to Wallis Simpson that had been gifted to her by the Duke of Windsor went up for auction, everything changed for estate jewelry. The price from the sale brought six times the amount it had expected to and it brought “estate jewelry into the realm of art”. We couldn’t agree more. So, when you find yourself in a position to buy a piece from an estate sale or stumble upon something truly surprising at a garage sale or auction, what are a few things to keep in mind?
[Know Your Terms]
When buying estate pieces, the more you shop in this world, the more terms you might be introduced to! Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking at and what everything means in the dictionary of these pieces.
  • Antique: This term can be very broad and it is used very often, as it does include any piece that is 100 years or older. These pieces are rare, as many mass-produced versions no longer exist. If they do still exist, they may or may not be in great shape compared to the piece you’ve found.
  • Vintage: This term means the piece was made during a certain period of time that defines it; it’s style, the materials used to craft it, and it’s style spans more than just the world of jewelry. This includes the Art Deco period and the Retro period.
  • Replicas: Yes, they do have a bad reputation because so many people think they’re knock offs. Some can actually be incredible imitations of an exquisite piece made to reflect an era or a piece that was made from an early time period. The quality of craftsmanship and the materials used to craft it might still be topnotch. The key here to make a replica worthwhile is to make sure that they are not being passed off or attempted at being passed off as the original it replicated. That is when we run into some serious issues, and where replicas get their bad reputations.
  • Motif: These pieces reflect a certain idea. The shape of a heart is one of the most popular motifs, and it symbolizes love and adoration, of course. Motifs have been used for hundreds of years, but sometimes their true meanings have been lost to history. This is due to the fact that many older motif pieces are purchased for their shape and not for the meaning behind why their shape has significance.
[Know Your Periods]
There are so many different time periods that estate jewelry comes from. Each has its own special qualities, styles, and cultural attachments. Before you go shopping for these pieces, familiarize yourself with the possible time periods of jewelry that you could be stumbling on and what defines them.
  • Georgian 1700s to 1830s
  • Victorian 1830s to 1901
  • Arts & Crafts 1890 – 1915
  • Edwardian 1901-1920
  • Art Nouveau 1895-1915
  • Art Deco 1920-1939
  • Retro 1935 to 1950
  • Mid Century 1950 to 1960s
  • The Sixties – Mid to late sixties
[Why It’s Popular]
Outside of their singular beauty and the fact that you can’t find anything like these unique and sometimes one of a kind pieces, there are a few secrets to why they’re special. It’s almost like a modern-day treasure hunt when looking for good estate pieces. People are hoping to come across excellent deals and find out that their pieces are actually worth much more than what they paid for it. It’s very important to remember to keep calm because not all pieces are created equally.
[What You Can Find]
There are those once in a lifetime finds that can bring you a hefty resale value or can be the perfect gift or engagement ring that you’ve been looking forever for. There are also those that can tell a gentle white lie in their sparkle. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting or buying these pieces. Before you do, make sure you know what you’re holding in your hand before you put down your credit card.
  • Costume Pieces: These might look stunning and because they are so beautiful, they can trick an untrained eye. Know that despite their beauty these pieces aren’t made with much more than metal alloys, glass gems, some glue, and incredible skill. They are much easier and very common to find at garage sales, in your grandmother’s jewelry box, and at flea markets. They may or may not be included in an estate sale or auction, because you generally find fine items in those situations. Fine pieces are those with diamonds, gems, and are made with gold, silver, or platinum.
  • Vintage Estate Pieces: Estate pieces are ones that have been pre-owned by someone or passed down through a family or multiple families. Antique estate jewelry must be at least 100 years old to be considered as such, while vintage estate pieces can be fine jewelry from as late as the 80s or 90s.
Not to leave you on a bit of a cliffhanger, but sometimes that’s exactly what we love to do! We love our estate pieces and the mysteries they hold, so that is what we are going to be leaving you with! We hope you enjoyed this first part of our blog about what to know when shopping for estate pieces. We are very much looking forward to you reading the second half of this blog! Until next time, if you ever want to view any antique and estate pieces that we currently have at the store, we would love to have you! If you have any questions about your own pieces, please don’t hesitate to come in and show us. We would love to see what you have and see what we can do for you. Until next time friends, remember to keep calm and rock on!


Joke of the day:

When I started going bald, my grandpa gave me his antique toupee weaver.

It’s an heirloom hair loom.