Vintage Costume Jewelry as Gifts or A New Hobby

By: Jon Kreps

Vintage costume jewelry, first popularized in the 1920’s and a common fashion accessory for decades thereafter, is as beautiful and dazzling today as the day it was first made.? And, unlike the cheap fashion jewelry you find at the stores today, vintage costume necklaces and other pieces have appreciated in value since first being sold.? Buying mom a vintage Eisenberg bracelet might not only make the perfect gift this Mother’s Day and take her back to her youth—it might very well be the start of a new hobby—perhaps even together!!

But to purchase vintage costume jewelry is to know it—otherwise, you never know if it’s truly worth anything or not.??

Five Factors Affect The Value of Vintage Costume Jewelry:

  • Total Supply on Market
  • Market Demand
  • Originality of Design
  • Craftsmanship and Materials
  • Final Condition

With so many producers of costume jewelry, there never was any uniform batch size so some pieces are rarer than others.? The relatively larger manufacturers made a lot of jewelry that is still fairly abundant in the market.? Thus, they are not in great demand so pieces made by companies like Coro, Trifari, and Accessocraft will not command as much value as similar pieces by smaller companies like Barclays and DeMario.

Although signed pieces from the smaller companies tend to be rarer and thus more valuable than those made from the larger companies, you still need to be careful.? Even many of the larger companies produced special “seasonal" batches in limited quantities making them more valuable than typical pieces from the same company and quality of materials.

Supply does not by itself determine overall value as demand can actually play the biggest factor.? Miriam Haskell necklaces, brooches, and other signed pieces are all the rage right now and commanding top dollar.? Next year, it may be Bogoff vintage jewelry that becomes the next hot thing.

To truly collect vintage costume jewelry successfully and make maximum dollar, there is no way to avoid doing your homework—especially when it comes to thing like demand.? You need not like the jewelry to make money from collecting it—you just need to know it.? If you want to collect vintage jewelry and make money, then you need to do a little homework and find out which pieces are in demand and which are not.

Avid collectors tend to include popular pieces in their collections because they are more profitable.? In many cases, the collector doesn't even like the particular piece!

While it is easier to locate and collect the signed vintage pieces, avid collectors know that the unsigned pieces tend to be the most undervalued and thus have the highest profit potential. Plus, a large portion of the entire vintage costume market is filled with unsigned pieces making it imperative to recognize well-designed and valuable pieces.

But fret not—you can usually spot the unsigned pieces based upon the design characteristics.? Hollycraft, Florenza, and all of the top manufacturers of costume jewelry during the 1900’s through the 1960’s had common design traits.? “Costume Jewelry:? A Practical Handbook and Value Guide" by Fred Rezazadeh is a great resource for anyone looking to learn about the design traits of each manufacturer.?

With the vintage costume jewelry, pay particular attention to the type and quality of the gemstones as they play huge roles in overall value.? A handful of vintage jewelry manufacturers were famous for using gemstones of exceptionally high quality. Some of the best manufacturers to seek out when collecting vintage costume pieces for profit include:

  • Hollycraft
  • Weiss
  • Bogoff
  • Bergere
  • Boucher??

Eisenberg costume necklaces, earrings, and other pieces tend to be hard to find at the flea markets or via online auction. Locating the most profitable pieces to collect means finding pieces that still have a lot of room to appreciate.? Hollycraft and Bogoff pieces tend to be undervalued on the current market and should make for profitable acquisitions for the foreseeable future.

But, perhaps you and mom don’t want to start collecting costume jewelry together—that’s ok, who needs her?!? Seriously, if you are looking for a great Mother’s Day gift that will take her down memory lane while making her dazzleFeature Articles, look into vintage costume jewelry today!

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