Finding the Best Antique Jewelry for Your Valentine
Valentine’s Day is around the corner!
It’s one of our favorite holidays – it’s romantic and sentimental – making it the perfect time to gift antique jewelry.
Antique jewelry is typically less expensive than the pieces you’ll find in modern jewelry shops, but it’s even more elegant and ornate.
“They have an older fashion look,” the Biros describe, “if you go to a modern jewelry store, there’s a certain design aspect to it, but then when you look at vintage jewelry, it often has more of that Victorian feel to it. It’s a little more ornate.”
The first thing you’ll have to decide when shopping for antique jewelry is if you want to get your sweetheart something sterling silver or gold.
From there, you’ll have to dive a little deeper.
Do you want a piece that’s solid gold or gold-plated, sterling silver or silver-plated?
The color will mean a lot in terms of value.
If you’re looking for something on the less expensive end, a silver- or gold-plated piece of jewelry makes the most sense.
Next, you’ll need to make sure the antique jewelry you’ve found is authentic, especially for the solid gold or silver pieces.
Luckily, there are easy ways to tell – one being the trademark.
If the jewelry is sterling silver, it has to have a 9-2-5 stamp on it.
Sterling silver is often called 9-2-5 silver because it consists of 92.5% silver and the rest is usually made up of another metal – like copper – so it can be easily molded to make jewelry.
(Pure silver has 99.9% silver, but there is still a small amount composed of other metals.)
“You’ve got to look a little bit to find the trademark. You have to have an eye and kind of check it out to see where that mark is,” Martin Biro explains, “and even on a gold ring, it has to be marked 18 karat or 14 karat somewhere inside the ring.”
It’s important to note that silver will tarnish more, although the piece itself isn’t likely to break. In our experience, sterling is very durable.
“If you have a piece of sterling silver jewelry, you may have to hand polish it a little bit,” says Rick Biro, “but if your Valentine wears it all the time, it should be fine.”
Another thing to consider is the type of jewelry.
The metal in bracelets, for example, tends to get stressed more than other pieces because they’re regularly taken on and off. In contrast, necklaces require more cleaning than repair.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some Bay Area antique jewelry shops you need to check out:
We know Gary, the owner of Mureta’s, personally and can attest to his exquisite style. He collects some of the most unique antique jewelry we’ve seen. This place should be your first stop.
Lang Antiques is one of a kind. They have a vast selection, and you can even go on their website and toggle with their filters to find exactly what you’re looking for.
The pieces here are truly extraordinary and beyond anything that you’ll find in an everyday jewelry shop. (Act fast with this one – there’s currently a sale with items under $500).
OK, not ALL antique jewelry is less expensive than modern jewelry, as you’ll see at this place. But these pieces are unforgettable and are something your Valentine won’t be expecting.
Happy antique jewelry shopping, everyone!
We wish you and your significant other a happy Valentine’s Day.