Identifying the Materials in Antique Jewelry

Whenever you’re buying, selling, or appraising antique or vintage jewelry, you first need to determine what material the piece is made of. This can be a challenge because lookalike materials can easily fool the untrained eye. Here’s help. They paid what? Collectors pay large sums for what used to be called “secondary jewelry.” Auction prices for antique and vintage items – earrings, necklaces, brooches, tiaras, lockets, hair combs, chatelaine elements, stick pins, hat pins – often seem high. It may be hard to believe, for example, that a collector will pay $1,500 for a plastic bangle, $250 for a peat brooch, or $385 for a rubber locket. But it happens all the time. To understand why, remember that the value of these items is based not on the worth of the materials but rather on the workmanship. A chunk of Bakelite, a plastic patented in 1909, is not in itself valuable. Bu
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