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Vintage Costume Jewelry: Wear Today And Sell For Profit Tomorrow

Dec 20, 2007
Vintage costume jewelry produced between 1910-1970 is now a hot collector's item despite being relatively inexpensive when first purchased. Unlike costume or fashion jewelry produced in places like India and China made in dizzying numbers and using poor quality materials in most cases, vintage costume jewelry continues to appreciate in value as demand continues to grow for a shrinking supply. Any of the costume or fashion jewelry pieces made today will not retain value and most likely will not last long due to shabby craftsmanship and inferior materials. Manufacturers of vintage fashion jewelry include:

Coro
Eisenberg
Weiss
Coventry
Trifari

Antique costume jewelry is typically viewed as any piece of jewelry not manufactured with precious metals (yet it is common for pieces to be plated with a precious metal) or gemstones while also being mass produced and sold for relatively low cost.

Despite costing relatively little when first launched, authentic costume jewelry manufactured between 1920-1970 can fetch some serious money on today's market. In many cases, there are many pieces being sold in flea markets for a measly dollar but actually worth hundreds. There are three main things that help determine the value of authentic vintage pieces:

Demand
Stone/Gemstone Quality
Craftsmanship

Despite dozens of companies producing thousands of pieces annually, they produced jewelry in varying quantities. On the one hand, you had large players such as Coro and Trifari flooded the market with thousands of copies for each design.

On the other side of the coin there was: DeMario, McClelland, and Barclays who only produced much smaller volumes hence making them both rarer and enhancing their value. Generally speaking, a Coro necklace will have a lower market value than a Barclays piece. Doing your homework is important because times occurred when even the larger companies produced some designs in small quantities making them more valuable than typical pieces from the company.

The value of vintage fashion bracelets, rings, and other pieces is the quality of the stone. Among the dozens of manufacturers, there were companies that crafted pieces consistently using high quality stones and semi-precious gemstones, such as:

Eisenberg
Bogoff
Weiss
Hollycraft

Eisenberg costume pieces are renowned for having superior quality stones so that makes it difficult to find a piece by them that is not already high-priced yet it is possible to find a cheap an unsigned one. Focus your efforts on locating pieces by Weiss, Bogoff, and Hollycraft as they tend to be under priced on the market and will certainly be better investments with greater profit potential. In addition to materials, the quality of metal and craftsmanship affect the overall value of vintage jewelry. Those companies renown for superior craftsmanship include:

Eisenberg
Trifari
Kramer
Money
Danecraft

While the vintage jewelry is typically more expensive than similar fashion jewelry pieces made today, the great thing about the genuine costume jewelry is that it still looks great and it's a perfect investment opportunity. You can enjoy the jewelry today, and sell it for a profit tomorrow--it's the perfect investment!
About the Author
Jon Kreps is a vintage jewelry expert specializing in Cameo's, Native American Jewelry, and vintage costume jewelry
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