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Fri Oct 12 2012 10:31:41

Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece about "Cashing in Your Jewelry," and how more and more women are turning "dated heirlooms" into "a vacation, tuition, or even more carats," and people with big bucks are buying up estate jewelry to diversify their assets.

What kinds of items are selling well? Signed designer pieces, especially those with "rare gems or unusual designs." One example is an Egyptian revival ring from Cartier from the mid-1920s, "featuring an eye-popping carved ruby framed with vibrant colored gems in a pharaonic motif," estimated at $30,000. (I don't advise working the word "pharaonic" into your vocabulary).

Another is the cutest little $100,000 mouse brooch you've ever seen (see partial screen shot, above), from Verdura and "incorporating diamonds and an irregular-shaped oval." (Hey, if any of these values make you feel inadequate or envious, just remember they just discovered a whole planet made of diamond, so none of these owners should get too high-and-mighty about the size of their gems!).

Back here on Earth, when I am at estate sales I look at what is in the case, sure, but I also advise pawing through any big bins of misc. jewelry baggies the sellers may have put out. Often they are a panoply of both signed and unsigned pieces, rare shapes, and oddball one-offs that can be repurposed into other pieces. At one recent sale, I found two large strands of mother-of-pearl beads, signed Trifari pieces, and several sterling silver items in those baggies, all at prices around $4-$8 a bag.

(Often those big bins are actually all sorts of leftover pieces from other estate sales which didn't sell; you can tell that if they have initials written on them).

This is not to say you will always find treasures, but my advice is to bring a jeweler's loupe to check for any gold, silver, or signature stamps, and even a flashlight in case the light in the room is bad.

How about you? If you go regularly to estate (and even yard) sales, what are your best jewelry-scouting tips, and what is your best find? Post a comment here or on the AuctionBytes boards!




Comments (4) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?   Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?

by: LOISD This user has validated their user name.

Fri Oct 12 22:03:44 2012

I once bought 4 boxes of costume jewelry and found a diamond and platinum ring that sold for $3000.  Almost missed it in a box of junk dime store rings.

Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?   Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri Oct 12 23:51:34 2012

All I know is try selling this type of merchandise on eBay and you're asking for problem buyers galore.

Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?   Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?

by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 13 10:48:42 2012

Found a David Yurman diamond ring for $12 in a box of sterling rings. Retail $1200.
My tip: grab all the jewelry you can and then look it over in a corner and put back what you don't want! lol

Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?   Trends in Estate Jewelry and What Are Your Best Finds?

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 14 00:56:05 2012

we seem to pick a lot of silver right out from under other peoples' gazes.  My partner's long had a thing for silver and in recent years that has really paid off......



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