Expert advice on finding the perfect costume jewellery to treasure forever...
There’s something very special about owning a beautiful piece of vintage jewellery. But how do you go about making the right purchase? Can jewellery ever be a financial investment, and if so what should you look for? We spoke to Susan Caplan of Susan Caplan Vintage, who has been in the industry for over 30 years. Read on for her expert advice…
For the best-value purchase, look for a piece that’s been well looked after. ‘A 1960s Trifari brooch in mint condition is far more valuable than one which shows too much wear’, advises Caplan. If you’re working within a budget, consider going for a well-maintained piece from a more affordable designer rather than a well-worn purchase by a more expensive designer – it may be a better investment long term.
Your jewellery may appreciate in value – if you’re careful about what you buy.
‘In terms of investment, five years ago I would have suggested designers such as Elizabeth Taylor, Monet and Trifari’, says Caplan. ‘These are still highly desirable but they won’t be a bargain anymore – prices have soared since then. Today, look for Sherman or Regency. Their desirability is increasing by the day, they were exceptionally crafted and they’re still moderately priced. For a long-term investment (the benefits of which could be seen 10 years or so from now), try Alexis Bittar, Mawi and Shourouk.’
Before you buy, double-check that you’re getting what you’re paying for. ‘There are unscrupulous sellers out there and you must be careful not to fall prey to their claims’, says Caplan. ‘Make sure you’re not buying a fake. The main factors to look out for are manufacturers’ marks and quality.’
Genuine 1980s Chanel No.5 charm bracelet, sold out
Prices for vintage jewellery vary wildly, so work out how much you want to spend and then concentrate on finding the best piece within your budget. ‘A piece of vintage costume jewellery could be picked up for anywhere between £2 and £6000’, says Caplan. ‘It depends on the condition, the age, the style, the quality of the jewellery crafting, whether it is signed or not and which designer it is signed by.’
1980s Christian Dior bib necklace, signed Christian Dior, £1,275
You may never know who owned your jewellery first, or what journey it took to reach you. This is part of the charm of vintage jewellery, so let your imagination run wild. For Caplan, one of her fondest memories comes from a catwalk piece: ‘I sourced an incredible Versace runway piece (pictured) for a collaboration I was doing with Selfridges a few years ago. It was from Gianni Versace’s 1992 bondage collection’.
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