The excitement continues as we venture into part two of our blog discussing how to buy those stunning pieces you find at estate sales! While it can be an exciting and fun treasure hunt, there are still a few things we want to share with you before you head out on your next shopping adventure!
Hello, Summerville! How’s it rocking? We have so many exciting things happening in the store this month, so many incredible new pieces we want to share with you, and so many exciting waiting for you to discover! This includes new pieces in our vintage and estate collection. It is always growing, and we would love for you to come see some of the classic pieces we have waiting for you. What perfect timing to continue this blog topic, and to share some tips and suggestions on how to find your next treasured piece.
We know how exciting it can be to come across something that you immediately fall in love with. The moment you pick it up, you might begin to dream that you’ve found something worth more than you paid for it, that it might have an exciting or interesting story, or it might be the perfect engagement right or gift you’ve been looking for. While those last two dreams are all in the eye of the beholder, there are still a few things we wanted to share with you. Please know too, that since this is one of our specialties, these are all things we take to heart and keep in mind when bringing these pieces into our store! Before we begin, have you been enjoying this blog series? Have you taken any of these ideas to heart, or discovered your own way of approaching the estate sale world? We would love to hear about your experiences. Make sure to comment below once you’re doing reading this blog!
A consistent thing that we have heard, experienced, and come across in our research is that becoming proficient in buying true estate pieces of value is that it takes experience and it takes time to master. As much as we can offer advice, a lot of your success is going to come out of trial and error and experience. This will take time, you aren’t going to become the next famous picker overnight. Trying to do so will suck the joy out of what makes these pieces so special. It also shouldn’t limit what you personally like. If you are a fan of pieces that might not fetch amazing market prices, that’s okay! Add them to your collection! Just make sure when you are shopping for those pieces in particular that you’re paying a fair price. Do your research for what market value is, and know what you’re looking for when stepping into any estate sale situation.
When it comes to these blogs, we want to make sure that you come home with pieces that you love, pieces that you want to share, and pieces that you could sell in the future if you want to go down that path. We want to make sure that you’re not being swindled – or swindling others in the process. Also understand that with perfecting any skills or process, you are going to make mistakes and hit some bumps along the way. Try to not get discouraged, these are natural growing pains.
[More Than Most]
Fine jewelry made with real gems, platinum, gold, and silver can bring an excellent prince tag based on the value of what they’re made of. Some pieces can find value based on the era they’re from, their rarity, their designer, and even their style. According to EstateSales.Org, you can’t forget about the markings! Designers of certain pieces would put markings on their pieces to distinguish who made them. A price tag comes from much more than just materials. We encourage you to never make assumptions. A hefty price tag can gain some clout from what’s popular in fashion right now, too.
Designer Pieces: These pieces are sought after based on who designed and created them. Tiffany and Cartier are some of the most popular.
Antique Engagement Rings: These have made an incredible comeback, according to EstateSales.Org. Their unique designs, their careful and delicate bands, their unique gem pairings, and the fact that no one will have an engagement ring quite like it are some of their many draws. There is something very special in owning a piece of history, and continuing its story.
Native American Jewelry: These pieces have been sought after by collectors for quite some time. It’s recommended to research not only the materials that these pieces are made of when considering a purchase but also who made it and what the piece stands for. Each tribe will have its own unique brand of jewelry, a different reason why they were significant, and depending on where they are located, different materials available to craft each piece.
Vintage Costume Brooches: These have made a huge comeback as well, according to EstateSales.Org, for a multitude of reasons. They are being used at fashion shows, being worn more regularly in current fashion, are being worn more frequently at weddings, used for wedding decorations, used in crafts, worn as accessories, used in hairstyles, and much more.
If you’re ready to go on a serious search for these specialized pieces, dig a little deeper. First, don’t just trust your eyes, bring a loupe with you. A loupe is a small magnifying glass used by jewelers and watchmakers and will help you catch anything you can’t see with the naked eye. It’ll help you spot any damage, artisan marks or the lack of, and see if you’re handling a real piece of jewelry or not. Also, make note of the condition the piece is in. Is the damage it might have fixable or not worth the time or money you’ll need to put into it to resell it? Can it be cleaned back to a presentable shape? Are the dings and scraps on the piece too much to hurt the resale value or just enough to give it character? Also, don’t forget to have these pieces appraised as quickly as possible after you make a purchase. Make sure you receive all important documents and hold onto them for insurance and your own resale purposes. Most importantly – this is about you. If a piece speaks to you and captures your eye and your style, this still makes any piece very special!
When you’re out shopping, ask if you can try the pieces on. Go beyond just inspecting them with your eyes and how they feel in your hands. Hopefully, these pieces will be worn again once they go home with you or to someone else. We understand that you might not want to put earrings on if they need some serious TLC and we don’t encourage shoving rings on fingers that are too big. Trying on pieces can help you see if they lay right, help you see if anything is damaged that you didn’t see until you tried to put it on, and will also help you check it’s comfort level. Some older pieces you’ll come across will have some significant weight, too. Will this get in the way of you or your loved one wearing them, or in the possibility of selling them? Is the craftsmanship or the lack of the reason behind its weight, or is it due to masterly crafted gems and jewels? Certain aspects will cause the wearer to welcome this weight, while others will hurt your opportunity to sell. If it is still a piece that you feel you could get a good price for, and the wearing factor might be limited by how it lays or its weight, factor this into the price.
When looking for pieces that carry significant age, they should show their years. They don’t have to be decrepit pieces or have wear that will prevent you from enjoying or selling these pieces, but they should carry their age with grace. Make sure you pay attention to the details of how each piece was made. Every generation of jewelry makers used specific techniques to craft their pieces. Does the age of the piece you’re holding match those techniques? Also remember, if you’re holding a piece of jewelry that is a few hundred years old, it shouldn’t be perfectly shiny. The enamel will most likely not be in pristine condition. If it is, you’ve either come across something extremely rare, or someone isn’t telling you the truth.
We know that some of these reminders might not be common to you, but once you get into the groove of the estate sale world, they’ll become second nature. If you don’t know them now, don’t beat yourself up. That’s what we are here for!
If something, especially the price, sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Unless it is a piece that you have to have right now and will regret leaving it behind, don’t buy the first piece you see or even accept the first price you’re quoted.
It is okay to bring in a second opinion. We get it, you’re not going to be a walking textbook of knowledge. Wouldn’t THAT be amazing, though? If you have some questions and want another opinion, there is nothing wrong with searching that out.
If you’re truly looking to sell pieces, more so than just being a collector, you might have to switch your point of view of what you’re buying. Even if you do have exquisite taste, you have to remember to buy what is selling. Are you not a fan of antique brooches or engagement rings? That might be difficult because that is what’s selling right now. Focus on buying what is “trending” right now, not just what you’re passionate about. To understand and know what is trending will take some outside research, but it is worth your time to invest in it!
We hope this two-part blog will help you in your journey of estate sale buying. We know that this skill and this kind of treasure hunt is not for everyone. That’s okay, that is where we can come in! As we mentioned before, our collection of estate pieces is always growing. We are so passionate about their styles, their history, and finding the next perfect owner for each piece to continue its story. If you have any pieces that you want more information about or you are interested in selling, please come in and see us! Until next time friends, remember to keep calm and rock on!