Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Junction Tuesdays: Eye of the Jeweler

Hello Quarterlifers! Although I was planning to highlight jewelry from the ‘50s and ‘60s this week, I decided to make that next week’s topic. Instead, this Junction Tuesday is going to be a tip—one that could mean the difference between passing on a random necklace and buying that random necklace for a few bucks then realizing it’s worth $100.

TIP: Invest in a jeweler’s loupe. A loupe is basically a magnifying glass that’s placed close to the eye to see tiny details on jewelry. A standard loupe has 10X magnification and can be bought on eBay at prices anywhere from $2.00 to $10.00.

Although the loupe is a small tool, I think it’s one of the most important items you can bring with you when thrifting vintage jewelry. Designers stamp their pieces with a “signature,” each having their own individual mark. Here’s a link I use all the time to research jewelry. Not only is this list of designers extensive; it also has pictures of marks, as well as the years they were used, which is perfect for dating jewelry.

When you thrift jewelry, always look for a designer stamp, even if you’re not sure who you are looking for. I’ve been doing this for years and still have tons to learn, but I’ve found experience is the best way to gain knowledge. If a piece isn't too expensive, scoop it up and research it when you get home.

Another tip is to take a few minutes and look up some styles that you like and then find the designers that specialized in those styles. This site is a great place to browse around and see what piques your interest.

Here’s a quick list of some of the designers I really like and always keep an eye out for: Coro, Trifari, Miriam Haskell, Whiting & Davis, and Napier.

-Shannan Fales is the owner of Junction at 1510 U Street NW. She shares her expertise in vintage and thrift each Tuesday.


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