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Authentic Costume Jewelry Can Be Collected For Big Profits!

Feb 3, 2008
Vintage costume jewelry is a hot collectible in today's antique market and can literally be worth several hundred times their original purchase price. The very first true costume jewelry appeared on theatres throughout Europe before being brought back to the States by American G.I.'s returning home from World War I. American manufacturers began dominating the industry from the 1920's onward. Many American companies like Coro and Eisenberg produced some of the most coveted collectibles on the vintage jewelry market today so keep an eye out for signed pieces as the flea markets.

But what truly makes costume jewelry unique and potentially valuable? Vintage costume necklaces, bracelets, and other pieces were purchased by American soldiers in French boutiques and brought home after the first world war. U.S. companies began dominating costume jewelry design and manufacturing from the late 1920's onward. Trifari, Coro, and dozens of American manufacturers soon began producing the designs and pieces that are some of the most prized collectibles on the vintage market today. If you know what you are looking for and can distinguish the worthless knock-offs from the genuine Eisenberg necklaces and other top pieces, then you can literally make a great living--while having fun in the process! Ultimately, the value of any piece is determined by: Supply; Demand; Design; Materials; and Condition.

The supply of vintage pieces is not evenly distributed which is a large reason why there is so much diversity in pricing. The jewelry was produced in batches of varying size by dozens and dozens of different manufacturers. Larger companies like Coro and Trifari would commonly produce thousands of pieces of each design. DeMario, McClelland, and other small companies might only have batch sizes numbering in the hundreds. When other pricing variables are held constant, signed pieces from the small companies tend to be worth more money. But be careful, some of the larger companies produced special batches in limited quantities making them more valuable than typical pieces from the same company.

But rarity alone does not determine value and demand is always the largest factor affecting price. Simple economics dictates that higher demand will command a higher price. For anyone looking for the hot items right now, signed Miriam Haskell vintage jewelry is the best bet despite being a bit eccentric in design. Potential investors need to do a little homework on the Internet to find which designs are hot and which are not in order to identify the best pieces to buy. It doesn't matter whether you like the popular designs or not--just remember that they will make you more money!

So why do people like some pieces but not others? The design of the piece itself plays a large role in the demand for the piece and thus also has a big affect upon value. Seasoned investors sometimes avoid collecting the signed vintage pieces because everyone is already looking for them. Instead, they will focus on unsigned but well-designed pieces because they tend to be more profitable than many of the signed necklaces, brooches, etc. A large portion of the entire vintage costume stock is unsigned despite having been made by some of the most respected companies in the industry. Identifying great designs is one of the surest ways to identify unsigned pieces and make vintage jewelry collecting profitable. Pieces of exceptional design quality, like those made by companies like Boucher and B. David, tend to be both unsigned and more valuable than many of the signed pieces on the market.

The overall design is accentuated by the quality of craftsmanship and materials used to produce each piece. The gemstones are typically the most relevant materials when it comes to the value of a particular piece of jewelry. There were some companies that were famous for using gemstones of exceptional quality though none of them would be considered precious. Jewelry designs by Bogoff, Weiss, and Eisenberg tend to be high value collectibles primarily because of their exceptionally high quality.

Without question, Eisenberg costume jewelry is renown for being of exceptional quality and design. This makes it very hard for collectors to buy and sell it for a profit. If you are trying to find some profitable pieces to purchase at cheap prices but still command a lot with serious investors, look for jewelry made by these companies:

Danecraft
Kramer
Bogoff
Weiss
Monet

Ultimately, the overall value of any piece of costume or fine jewelry is assessed based upon its current condition. It is quite common to find excess scratches, lost stones, rust, and other forms of discoloration on vintage costume jewelry pieces. But while some degree of wear is expected, it is not the only factor that determines price. But if you know how to locate the unsigned gems hiding in flea markets and online auctions every day, then you can really make a bundle collecting vintage costume pieces--even those with excessive signs of wear!
About the Author
Dione Fultz is a vintage costume jewelry collector specializing in period sets.
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