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Jewelry Hoarders vs Vintage Jewelry Investors

Updated: Jun 23

vintage costume jewelry

There are two types of people who collect jewelry. There are hoarders and investors. It doesn't matter if it is antique jewelry, Art Deco jewelry, designer vintage jewelry, or modern new jewelry. The purpose of buying the jewelry is the same. A person likes the look and wants to wear it. It is a reflection of personality and fashion style. When I started collecting jewelry in the 1960s I bought jewelry I liked and some was given to me by my parents and grand parents. The everyday styles I wore all the time while the expensive gold and gemstone jewelry, I always feared damaging or losing, and saved them for special occasions.

Over the decades I learned something. The expensive gold and gemstone jewelry never appreciated in value. The everyday styles I bought and wore, they appreciated greatly. Most items appreciated 10 to 20 times over what I paid for them. The jewelry was exceptional quality and most was designer made. But, the jewelry that was unique to the era that was made in limited quantities in the US and other countries, that is the jewelry that's now the hardest to find, what I love the most, and the most valuable on the open market. When I first started collecting, there were no books on designer jewelry or costume jewelry and there was no internet. I remember being able to look at a piece and admire it for the unique design, quality of construction, daily wear-ability, or really uncommon in style. I also remember listening to my mother and grandmother who said things like that's a Trifari necklace, or those are Coro earrings ; take care of those and they'll be worth good money one day. I had no idea what they were talking about. I remember my mom having Avon and Sarah Coventry home jewelry parties when everyone bought jewelry just for the fun of it. Until the 1980s, I never knew that jewelry that was produced in very large quantities would not appreciate like other designers who didn't. Avon and Coventry produced more jewelry than any other US designer. Almost all US jewelry designers only produced designs for one year. Every year, a new line of jewelry was produced. Regardless, you should always buy what you love and you want to wear, with a few key caveats about investment. When buying antique and vintage jewelry, the key to value is condition, condition, condition! Always look for expert descriptions that clearly define all aspects of condition. Do not expect antique and vintage pieces to be perfect, but dont buy anything that has serious damage. If you buy new jewelry that is produced in China, you can 100% expect it to not appreciate in value. The only time it will appreciate is if the item is extremely unique, well made, and something happens in the future that makes that design in demand. For example, say you buy a huge rhinestone peacock brooch. Suddenly, all the peacocks in the world are in danger of extinction. Or, you buy a unique jade Buddha pendant, and suddenly the importation of Jade becomes illegal. Unpredictable instances like this can make a jewelry item more valuable. Madeline Albright also made certain brooches escalate in value, as well as what Andy Warhol did for bakelite jewelry. Both were jewelry collectors and when they passed away, the sale of their collections caused huge increases in value for those items to other collectors. Know that purchasing new everyday costume jewelry is a bad investment overall. If you love it and you wear it alot, then at most it has sentimental value. But, here is why I often try to get younger ladies interested in antique and vintage jewelry. It is a hidden nest egg men don't know about. Men buy sporting equipment, junk for their truck, guns, and electronics. Men don't collect or invest in anything today that appreciates in value. Decades ago, men did. They collected pocket knives, war memorabilia, sports cards, and other things of interest. Funny thing is, if you go to any flea market, there are old men there still trying to sell those collections and few who want to buy. Women at those same flea markets are attacked by vintage jewelry hounds and sell everything fast. Jewelry never goes out of style, nor is there any shortage of buyers for what isn't made anymore. Jewelry is something that appeals to men and women and girls and boys. There is no other antique or vintage collectible that crosses both age and sex barriers like jewelry does. If jewelry is kept in excellent condition, the value down the road is not what a book says the value is, but what someone is willing to pay for it. Book values are essentially useless and values constantly rise every year. Remember: 99% of the time, antique and vintage jewelry always appreciates in value. So while you're learning what to buy, how to look for designer signatures and how to assess condition and age, men don't realize you're building a nest egg. That nest egg will return more that what you can get from the stock market or real estate. In almost all scenarios, if you invest a little here and there and build a collection, whatever you pay now will be worth ten fold or more in 10-20 years. Investing $ 1000 now means in a decade or two, it will be worth $ 10,000 or more if kept in excellent condition. Sometimes, it doesn't even take a decade for an item to skyrocket in value. Most importantly, know one else knows you're doing it and your whole collection could fit inside a shoe box or two. You will always have the jewelry to sell if you run into any misfortune down the road, and you'll be selling it at a large profit. It is very portable and easy to take with you anywhere you want to go.

In many cases, I've sold antique and vintage jewelry right off my body. I can be in a store, out riding my motorcycle, or at the beach, and someone will compliment something I'm wearing. I hand them a business card. I tell them all about the piece they complimented and the price. I've seen women smack their husbands in the stomach and say give me some cash, now. I laugh and laugh cause men don't get it. We want what we want, and we want it now.

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