Vintage Jewelry – Perfect for a Unique Look


Vintage Jewelry – Toucan Brooch

Styling Vintage Jewelry
You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to wear your vintage jewelry.  A great vintage costume necklace can jazz up a simple white t-shirt and jeans, or you can wear your grandmother’s wedding band every day.  Plus, vintage jewelry is perfect for achieving a unique look – you don’t have to worry about anyone else wearing the same vintage earrings to a party!


Layering is in. Go ahead and mix vintage jewelry with contemporary fine and/or costume jewelry.   Add new charms to a vintage charm bracelet.  Pair a contemporary pendant necklace with an heirloom locket.  You can mix and match white and yellow metals, and stack new and old bracelets for bohemian appeal.

Choosing Vintage Jewelry
Most vintage jewelry has been worn before, so it is important to assess any wear, signs of repair or problem areas before purchasing.  Keep an eye out for any cracks in the stones or metal.  Look for bent or worn prongs.  Prongs should be flat and smooth against stones and should be uniform in shape and size.  They should not catch on any clothing.  Also look for any frayed strings or knots between beaded or pearl jewelry.  Knots should be tight and not show any loose threads.

If you are looking for a specific collectible vintage jewelry item, do your research first so that you will not be fooled by any knock-offs in the marketplace.  Many collectible pieces have particular signs you can look for when checking for authenticity.  If a piece claims to be made of a precious metal, be sure to view the fineness stamp, metal testing information, or an appraisal.

Wearing Vintage Jewelry
Many people put on their jewelry and never take it off.  They shower, garden, cook, exercise and sleep while laden with rings, necklaces and bracelets.  It is smart to be aware of your activities while wearing jewelry.  While a simple wedding band can easily be worn at all times, a simple chain necklace will tangle and pull if worn to bed.  Diamond earrings will become quickly cloudy with soap when worn in the shower or caked with dirt when worn while planting flowers.  You wouldn’t wear a $500 silk dress to the gym so why would you wear a $500 bracelet while you’re sweating on the treadmill?

Storing and Cleaning
Proper storage and cleaning will prolong the life of your jewelry and save you money in the long run.  Take off your jewelry before you go to the gym.  Keep a box in your bedroom or bathroom where you can safely keep your jewelry while sleeping or showering.  Jewelry should be the last thing you put on before you leave the house – after any lotions, perfumes or hairsprays are applied.  And stop in at your local jeweler at least once a year to have them check your prongs on any rings you wear daily.

If repairs are needed your best bet is to visit your local jeweler with the item(s).  Most jewelers will be able to repair jewelry that is precious metal-based.  Many will also be able to repair base metal or plastic jewelry and replace any missing stones.  Call your jeweler before you damage the piece more by attempting to fix bent prongs or glue cracked stones yourself!

One last tip: if your ring gets stuck on your finger, don’t use soap or lotion to pull it off.  Instead, spray a little Windex on your knuckle – your ring will slide right off and your stones won’t be clouded!

Courtney Sconza,
Gemologist at Ruby Lane

Guest Writer