For the approaching holidays, consider unique, history-laden jewels as gifts for the loved ones in your life. Antique jewelry reflects the handmade craftsmanship of eras gone by and is sure to make a one-of-a-kind statement for its wearer. All you need to find antique jewelry is a sense of adventure and some helpful tips. Prepare to pick the prefect present.
What’s out there?
Though we’re barely scratching the surface, there are a few eras and jewelry styles to keep in mind during your antiques search.
Victorian jewelry, defined by a timeframe of 1837 to 1901, encompasses a wide range of motifs and materials. It’s possible to find detailed Victorian rings, lockets, pins, bracelets, pocket watches and brooches. However, Victorian jewelry is greatly valued by collectors, and it can be difficult to find, so patience is key when seeking it. Metallic tassels, garnet stones, engraved pendants, cameos and weighty pocket watches are recognizable hallmarks of Victorian accessories.
The turn of the 20th century encompasses the Edwardian era (1901-1914). Think Downtown Abbey and the Titanic when conjuring images of popular jewels during this period. While you’re not going to stumble upon a necklace similar to that of Kate Winslet’s Rose DeWitt Bukater, you’ll likely come across Art Nouveau accents with flowing lines and curves that were prized by Edwardian men and women.
The Roaring 20s and subsequent decades favored symmetrical, geometrical Art Deco-style jewelry and early plastics like celluloid and Bakelite. Named for its inventor, Leo Baekeland, Bakelite became extremely popular during the 1920s and 1930s. Bakelite pieces have a nice, sturdy weight to them and often feature carved details. Available in whimsical and figural pins, brooches, bracelets, pendants and earrings, the plastic wearables are still highly collectible today.
When hunting with a specific type of jewelry in mind, like an item from that fits into the primer above, don’t be afraid to ask a shop owner about it. The owner may have stock that’s not visible or could possibly point you to another store that specializes in what you want.
Try to think outside the box when it comes to antique jewelry. Did you come across a spectacular watch that’s no longer ticking? The case may make for a beautiful pendant instead of a timepiece. Professional jewelers should be able to turn stickpins with tiny charms or gems into rings, and they may be able to repair broken jewelry, too. Don’t necessarily skip over a necklace or bracelet due to their current condition, as there may be wonderful potential just within your reach.
“X” Marks the Spot
Plug these shops into your GPS treasure map to start on your gifting journey.
- Remember Yesteryears Antiques & Jewelry Center, Oakdale
- Sayville Antiques, Sayville
- Time Tunnel Antiques, Sayville
- Antiques and Jewels on Main, Huntington
- Somewhere in Time Antiques, Northport
- J & H Jewelry, Bellmore