5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (2022)

Karen is an artist, creator, and writer who loves antique jewelry.

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (1)

Jewelry mirrors time, culture, and societal values. It reflects the taste and attitude of every period in history.

Luckily, there are definitely clues that can be used in deciphering how old your jewelry is. The older and more rare the piece of jewelry, the more valuable it will be. There are many more clues than just five, but these are quick and easy ways to help determine the age of your jewelry.

5 Clues to Help Identify the Date of Jewelry

1. Look at the findings and fittings on earrings.

2. Look at the findings and fittings on brooches.

3. Identify the material.

4. Use color to guess the time period.

5. Look at marks and hallmarks.

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (2)

Clue 1: Fittings and Findings for Earrings

The invention of different earring findings will help date your jewelry. Jewelry findings are ready made pieces that jewelers use such as clasps, pin stems, hinges, etc. Fittings refer to the parts that can be custom-made for a piece.

This drawing shows the styles when they were introduced into the market. In order of date, the styles are named as follows: shepherd hook, image two is not named, kidney wire, screw-back (pierced), lever back, screw-back, post & butterfly, spring clip, and omega back.

Some of these styles are still made today. Thread stud earrings from 1890 are thicker in diameter and the nut is much heavier than those that are made today. Screw-back non-pierced earrings that were made in 1900 are still made today but they are not that common on newer pieces. Kidney wires were invented in the 1870s and are also still used today. The shape has been modified in the modern earring. Knowing the difference between all of these can be helpful when determining the date of your jewelry.

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (3)

Clue 2: Fittings and Findings for Brooches

Most answers to understanding jewelry can be found by looking on the backs or undersides. Brooches have evolved over one hundred years, and the backs provide much of the information we need to date the piece. Again, this drawing shows the different types of clasps used on brooches or pins with the approximate date as to when they first appeared.

I have found that the trickiest thing about dating a brooch is not necessarily the kind of clasp, but an altered back. Look for any suspicious solder. Pools of solder would only be on a piece that has been altered or repaired. Another thing to look for are oval or round metal pads where the pin has been attached to the back of the brooch. This is also a sign that the piece has been altered.

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (4)

When I first started buying jewelry I came across this unusual 14k gold-filled piece with a "c" clasp pin and a "hook" on the backside of what looks to me like a pendant. After some research I learned what it really is. Is this a brooch or a pendant? Have you seen this before? Take this poll and leave a comment.

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (5)

Clue 3: How to Identify the Materials of Black Jewelry

Black jewelry can be found in abundance at flea markets, estate sales, and antique stores. Identifying what the black material is can make a big difference in determining when it was made and how much it could be worth. Black jewelry most likely made of one of the following: plastic, glass, stone, jet, gutta-percha, crepe stone, bog oak, and bakelite. There are ways to test each one of these materials to determine what it is.

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  • Plastic is the most obvious of all materials to decipher. Plastic is very lightweight and you can tap it on your tooth to hear a "click" sound. Use your loupe to look for a mold line. A mold line will go all around the piece splitting in two.
  • Glass will be heavier and reflects light. Holding it in your hand will warm up the material.
  • Stone would remain cold if you held it in your hand.
  • Jet is as light as plastic, and hard and coal-like in material. This material is a type of fossilized wood that was first mined in Whitby, England in the mid 1800s. Carving jet was so popular that by 1870 there were more than two hundred jet shops in the small town of Whitby. Today, jet is in the seams of the cliff walls on which the town is built. Nowadays, it is illegal to mine for jet, which makes the material extremely valuable. To test for jet, rub the material on concrete or clay pottery. If a brownish black mark line is left, then it is jet. Just a note: jet breaks easily.
  • Gutta-percha can also be black. It is made from the sap of a Malayan tree. It was used primarily in the Victorian Era. Running this material under hot water will cause it to emit a strong burnt rubber smell. You can also rub a piece on your clothes to create friction. This material was introduced into England in 1841.
  • Crepe stone is another black material and is made of glass. It was introduced in 1883 by the Fowler brothers in Providence, Rhode Island. It was called English Crepe Stone. It has a very distinctive look. See photo show.
  • Bog oak is also another black material that is very easy to identify because it is oak wood that has been preserved in the bogs of Ireland. This jewelry is visually identifiable because of the Irish motifs.
  • Bakelite can be made black, but not all Bakelite is black. It is a phenolic plastic that was popular in the 1920s and 30s. A good test for Bakelite is to put 409 bathroom cleaner on a cotton swab and touch a small hidden area. If the cotton swab is yellow after touching the surface of the tested piece than it is Bakelite.
5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (9)

Clue 4: Using Color to Date Your Jewelry

The use of color gemstones and enamel correlates to architecture and decorative art of the times. For example, color in the Renaissance was almost gaudy, while the use of color during the Victorian Era was somber because the death of Prince Albert caused Queen Victoria to declare an extended period of mourning. After the Victorian Era, the period of Art Nouveau utilized soft and delicate colors with rich gold and silver metals. This was short-lived as the Art Deco era moved to the forefront with its use of bolder colors and geometric designs. A devil-may-care attitude influenced the look.

Color palettes dominated different time periods throughout history. Knowing which color gemstones were predominant at certain times in history goes a long way in helping to date a piece of jewelry.

Clue 5: Marks and Hallmarks

Hallmarks and markings are an important clue to help date a piece of jewelry. Most often these marks are hidden on the inside of a shank on a ring, the inside of a bracelet, or on the inside back of an earring. Using your loupe, you will often find some kind of mark identifying the jeweler, designer, retailer, or manufacturer. If you bring this to a jeweler, they may be able to date the piece based on the marks.

These marks can also make a tremendous difference on the value and collectability of the jewelry. Remember that the value is not always about the intrinsic value. The trademark can also provide information about when and where a piece was made. Good sources for this information can be found at: Researching Costume Jewelry History and the Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks

5 Easy Clues for Dating Antique or Vintage Jewelry (10)

How I Analyze and Date Jewelry

The photo shown here is a sterling silver filigree camphor glass necklace. Dated about 1900, it features the "Order of the Eastern Star" in the center. The center star has five enamel points and with five different images. However, this piece is not all authentic. The open center panel has been taken off and replaced with this rectangular piece. You can see how it does not fit perfectly. Look on the outer edges and you will see the inconsistency of the space around it. On the back is a small screw that attaches this shape from the frame. I showed this to my jeweler. He said these pieces were designed so that different pieces could be changed out. It is bothersome that the center shape does not fit properly within the framed shape. This does affect the value and aesthetics.

Margaret etherson on May 24, 2020:

Hi I bought a necklace at a jewellery fair many years ago it’s pink stones they feel cold to touch and in between so many beads there are circles of what looks like small diamonds ( who knowes ) the fastener is a barrel shaped screw In and has made in France stamped on the fastener I am curious to know of this is costume jewellery Thankyou

PenelopePenrod on May 21, 2020:

I have just discovered this site today, and I am very impressed with the amount of information and knowledge here. I am also very excited to learn more about fashion, estate, vintage and antique jewelry, because my background in in designing and making one-of-a-kind fine jewelry in gold and platinum, and I am like a new baby here.

I'm retired now, and I am working with fashion jewelry pieces. One of the things I would like to know, is if there is a good place to buy broken pieces of nice older fashion jewelry. I have places I know of like thrift stores, Ebay,etc. , but would like to know if there is someone on line, or somewhere I wouldn't think about? I am using the pieces in collages, so they don't need to have pins, or earring backs, or pendant loops. It would help if they have all of their stones, but sometimes I can replace them, or work around the empty spot.

Also, does anyone know a good place to buy older stones of different sizes in one parcel?

I am so happy to have found this site, and the great information and knowledge found here!

Thank you for having a place like this for knowledge and information!!!

JosephKnel on May 13, 2020:

I found two 2 1/4" bracelets in a wall in Vancouver that was boarded over in 1960. They're 22k gold with lots of insets but not precious stones. Somebody hid these 60 years ago and apparently forgot all about them.

Peggy kocisko on May 02, 2020:

how could i get a piece appraised for its worth and time period

Tammymyrick Schoiber on March 24, 2020:

I have a silver two of them ones a heart with black ruby on it that opens and then I have a neck less with Ruby’s different colors and on silver chain the pendent opens from top with little diggling like hanging close to the pendent

(Video) Vintage Jewelry Brands That Sell for THOUSANDS : Necklaces and More

calvinswishingstar on February 27, 2020:

Hello! I'm so glad to have found this site! I began seriously researching vintage jewelry a few years ago.

But, this is the first I've seen great information on figuring out the material of black jewelry.

And, I wish I'd known about the 409 & Bakelite. The only thing I'd seen before was an automotive paste that was $10 for a little tube that I have no other use for. I will definitely pass this on!

I have a question about your piece: sterling silver filigree camphor glass necklace. You say it's not all authentic, but then that your jeweler said the pieces were designed to be switched out. Because it doesn't fit perfectly, could it be authentic, but not meant for your pendant?

Can I mention a great vintage jewelry research & educational site? It's been fantastic & where I learned, with videos showing the real pieces' & their hardware, how to date by it. I'm sure you know what site I mean.

Thank you for making & moderating this site! The others I've found haven't been "running" for years. Except the wonderful Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks... Which also covers silver plated & gold marks!

Elijah on January 10, 2020:

I have a cluster engagement bronze band silverplate multi cluster diamonds appears to be a 1 carat central piece and a surround in floral appearance of 20 other minature diamonds. (Theyre all mounted perfectly all reflect multicolours at differing times in the sun light) so maybe i have a costume piece from a victorian era? Im wanting a little help clarifying the piece that i have. If requiring a picture/photo then i can send through. Please assist its going to help greatly in dating my piece.

Claire on January 04, 2020:

Hi I have a brooch which is a moon shape with a c clasp green And clear stones in how do I find out when it originated from?

I'm a jewelry maker. on December 29, 2019:

I'm a jewelry "maker" Wonderful video! Thank you.

Barb Mor on December 27, 2019:

I have a beautiful brooch with a copper color backing. It has enameled and rhinestone flowers. It has a 51 or 57 stamped on the back. I am wondering what the backing might be. It is not tarnished at all. And curious about the number stamped on the back. Thanks.

Christine on December 13, 2019:

Thanks. I have a Victorian starburst pin with a C clasp and a round fastener. The pin itself is clearly not matching with the rest of the brooch. It makes sense that it would be a badly done repair.

don jank on December 10, 2019:

I have a number of crosses/colored glass stones/the eyelets are

ninety degrees

Shelia Armstrong on December 08, 2019:

I have some old jewelry it has large stones in it and rolls and Ruby's I believe but the necklaces made out of really fine wire and on the back of it it's got 900 indebted in some of the pieces

Helena Hughes I on November 30, 2019:

I have a broach it has pearls and gold leafs iv had it for 40years i think its French? Please help

karMALZEKE (author) on November 21, 2019:

Your ring sounds really interesting. If you have the time send me some photos of it. Try to capture a clear image of any hallmarks. You can send them to me at mcdonaldkaren400@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing back. Sincerely, Karen

Trish on November 20, 2019:


I was given a ring from an Italian aunt that belonged to her grandmother, not sure who gave it to her. It is silver or white gold and has a blue ceramic / glass face with 2 painted flowers ( millafiore?) surrounded by diamonds or crystals. There are 2 markings that appear to be letters and maybe numbers. I can’t really make it out.

karMALZEKE (author) on November 13, 2019:

Yes. Email me at mcdonaldkaren400@gmail.com.

Paula on November 10, 2019:

Hi Karen: I inherited a long (42 inch), heavy gold necklace that has no makers mark or hallmark. Might I email a photo of it to you for your opinion? I've researched and haven't found anything else like it.

Pauline Howle on November 08, 2019:

I have a pendent what is marked 95 only and its got a yellowish stone in center surounded by white clear stones this piece confusers mr

Narketta mullins on October 30, 2019:

I have two poecea one looks like a braclet it has dimonds or stones but it has a copper clasp the sencond is a prenciess necklace,no marking on eaiter one

karMALZEKE (author) on October 27, 2019:

Hi Terry. You can send pictures of your necklace to mcdonaldkaren400@ gmail.com. and I will gladly take a look and share with you what I think. Sincerely, Karen

Terry Paris on October 20, 2019:

I'm trying to figure out a necklace I have had for a long time. It's a grayish Pearl & Pearl is set inside of a heart shaped pin like. I have pictures. I've had this necklace for a very long time. Thank you very much

Linn williams on October 13, 2019:

What do you use most of your flowers for?

Nicholas Cartier on October 01, 2019:

Aloha! I found this very old pin with what looks to be a large pink diamond, I'm having a hard time distinguishing the marks. https://s.amsu.ng/Ie7J8QGtyE2N

Terry Paris on August 13, 2019:

Hello, how are you doing? I enjoy reading your articles, So interesting. I was wanting to know if you could please help me? I appreciate it so very much. I have what I believe is a Vintage Pearl necklace encased in a Beautiful Heart Pendant with carvings, I have pictures of the front and back of of the Heart pendant. (Pearl is Beautiful) Thank you very much. Have a Great and Blessed day. It is on a either 14-18 inch thin silver chain.

Joshua smith on June 25, 2019:

I dug up a early american buckle or brooch silver.need help identifying.

Kristopher on June 20, 2019:

Hello.. I was wondering if I could email you a picture of my great great great grandmother 2 rings. I hope that you can tell me a little more about it. Age, etc.

Jill Eby on May 20, 2019:

I believe that the gold piece you’ve shown is a scarf or cravat clasp.

karMALZEKE (author) on May 17, 2019:

(Video) Vintage Jewelry: The Top 10 MOST WANTED ART DECO Vintage jewelry Pieces!

HI SUSAN. You can send me images of your bracelet to mcdonaldkaren400@gmail. I would love to see them and I can help identify a time period for you. Thank you, Karen

Susan on May 14, 2019:

Hi, I was given a beautiful bracelet that belonged to my great grandmother. I was hoping to get some guidance to determine its actual age. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

TLC on May 08, 2019:

It is designed to be both a brooch and a pendant.

VintageKate on April 28, 2019:

This is a great helpful article. Thank you to the long ago author. Could a follow up be organised and posted sometime please Administrators?? If at all possible? Thank you for your consideration.

Now.. commenters.. seriously??

To those who keep demanding their items be valued (the only applicable word) - please show some manners and common sense.

Firstly the author posted this article in 2016 .. she is hardly reading your comments daily.. and .. secondly ..it was an article inviting comments from readers NOT offering you free advice. And even then you are still not using the words ‘please’ or ‘tank you’. You have probably all scared her off unfortunately from ever writing another.

I write this comment as a stand against the poor manners so prevalent on social media these days.

Elizabeth Bryceland on April 11, 2019:

Your site is quite informative, and the video was well done. I have one question though, how do you tell what you actually have if the piece has no makers marks? The narrator said not all are marked. And it looks handmade, beautifully done, but plier marks left behind.

Kelly on March 04, 2019:

The pin with a hook could be for a watch?

Kelly Thomason on February 13, 2019:

I came across a few of my great grandmothers jewery from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s ,some costume and some that may be real. I have a great love and respect for anything old and I find these things very precious. I was hoping to send a few pictures if possible to see if you could help in determining what they are. I do hope that this was not a waste of your time. Sincerely ~ kelly. Kellythomason00@icloud.com

Paula b on February 05, 2019:

What can you tell me about a gold locket with the coat of arms of the prince of wales engraved in shell on the front and initials in hair on the inside

judie on January 22, 2019:

I have a Hedison Jewelry Co with the mark 'Hedy'. I can find sites showing their different marks, but I can't find info on WHEN that mark was used. Any idea

Designer Signed Vintage Jewelry on December 12, 2018:

I believe your unidentified jewelry to be shoe duettes.

Madeline on November 14, 2018:

Very interesting! Wish I would have seen this years ago it would have been helpful. I love collecting beautiful jewelry. Nice video

coranmbeck on November 07, 2018:

The author of this article is merely giving readers advice and information on how they may date/identify their antique and vintage jewelry THEMSELVES. I'm not sure what is giving people the impression someone will be appraising their jewelry, or even answering their questions, as nowhere is it even suggested - much less stated - that these services will be provided. The reason you are not getting responses is because you are posting them in a "comments" forum. The author is asking for your comments on her article: was it helpful? What would you have liked to learn about?, etc. (i.e. she is asking for your help, not for you to be soliciting hers)

Nick Lord on November 03, 2018:

Hi.. i would like to send some pics for advise on a pair of earings. Is this possible? Thanks


CalvinsStar on October 16, 2018:

Very helpful information! But, I'm confused about something that is probably under my nose, so to speak. I see all these posts for help, but I don't see any responses.

My Questions:

1. The Clasp diagram is great! Is there a way to know how long each style was used? Only the 1920's indicates it's still used.

2. Does anyone have information on the designer or mark "Vero." I have 3 signed brooches & found less than a dozen more on resale sites, like Etsy. All I know is that Vero jewelry, I think only brooches, was made in the 1960s, as late as the 80s.

I have 2 Halloween brooches, which I haven't seen anywhere else: Frankenstein's Monster & an enameled ghost. That's right, kitschy! But fun!

As well as an enameled flower.

Thank you!

joy savarese on September 02, 2018:

I have a old ring that I bought for my sixth birthday. It had alternated stones of light and dark yellow stones the entire ring with these circle stones in atotal Val total shape with and adjusted band pending printed what is it worth???

Jacki O on September 02, 2018:

I have a signed YSL black runway cuff bracelet that I wish I could find someone to authenticate and date it. I had a local YSL store look at it, they couldn't but sent a picture to their Paris store and they couldn't either. Said its too old and they don't have data back to the early 60s to look at.? Were can I go that someone may know about it. It says YSL Made in France on the inside. I can take picture if you would like to see it.

Kathy eesteban on August 23, 2018:

I have a pair of screwback earrings the markings say Helzberg 14K on the actual earring itself, but on the part of where it screws it says Wells 1/20 12K and it says I am Loved, like the pins Helzberg is known for any idea about these earrings when they were made

Bradley Patrick on July 28, 2018:

I have what i believe is an old ring. Ita a birthstone ring with five stones and a silver band holding them in. The band is screwed in. If i sent a picture would you know when this style was used?

Kaleigh Barrett Bushnell on July 13, 2018:

At first i thought it was just a pendant/brooch as I have a few in my collection but after getting a pair of something eerily similar I now think it may be a shoe clip? Please someone comment if I’m correct...I’m dying to know now lol

Annie on July 12, 2018:

Just wanted to throw in my '2 cents' regarding that brooch/pendant at the top: I don't know the particular name for it, but I do actually own some because of ebay auctions. I'm pretty sure that I have seen them worn in in period movies set around the 1900's or so, usually on a longish, medium-heavy chain, and then pinned up to the side so that the chain is made to 'dangle' in some sort of artful display. (Or, maybe it's just as simple as to give the owner a choice: Hmmm, pendant or brooch?)

Kerre Huff on May 01, 2018:

My previous post described a brooch or pendant that could also be worn on a chain and it's heavy metal. It's not the thin open heart of Luchenbooth hearts rather solid with intricate designs and I can't find any kind of lettering on it at all. Can someone please help me

Kerre Huff on May 01, 2018:

I have a gold heart brooch with crown on top of it with what resembles a family crest of a crown with cross at top of crown on a green colored background and it has a c clasp

(Video) My Affordable Antique/Vintage Jewellery Tour [Mostly Under £20 (~$28)] | Daily Historical Fashion

Mary on April 26, 2018:

Hey there - I have a pair of gold & diamond c. 1890’s stud earrings with post screw back. It is thicker than a modern post - even a screw back. To be able to wear the earrings I am going to have to get the posts replaced. How will this affect value? I’d really like to be able to wear them. I’ve also thought of changing over to a lever back - but this will alter them quite a bit.

Thank you for your advice.

cwpi on April 15, 2018:

I received an old brooch from a relative. I don't know who it belonged to or where it came from. Only when I cleaned it did I realize it was silver. It appears to have a clasp (unchanged) from the 1920's, has filigree and round silver discs and tear drops that dangle from it. I had a jeweler get the marks off the back for me: H within a circle then S088. I have researched this myself for days with no luck and am asking for help. There is no indication that anything on it was altered. Thank you!

naj on April 10, 2018:

Hi I have got an eternity gold ring that I think is very old .The marking says: N 825 or 625 C ( but reversed) and N.Can you help me to determine the age of my ring please ?

Deborah59 on February 27, 2018:

This is a great article on vintage jewelry. It's very informative-I'm just learning about the artists and their distinct talents. These 5 clues are a wonderful place for me to begin. Thanks so much.

Sue Cash on February 01, 2018:

Can anyone tell me anything about Tramp Art. I have a piece and know nothing about it. Thanks

Shirley on November 14, 2017:

Can you help me to determine the age of my old Jet (lignite) bracelet that has a cameo on it.

Adam mascarenas on November 09, 2017:

I have old bracelet but no marks and I have no idea the year made or place

Cheryl White on November 08, 2017:

Hello, I have several pieces of jewelry that were my Mom's and probably my Grandmother's and great Aunt's. One piece, in particular, is a very large copper Indian vintage necklace that I need to find the value of. She also has several Ivory necklaces and some scrimshaw bracelets and ring, a star ruby and diamond ring, that dates back to the early 1900s, which has a very unusual shape and other valuable pieces. Where do I go to a reputable place who will give me an idea of what these pieces are worth. Any info you can provide me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Mary on November 04, 2017:

The colors of the star are in the correct order, however, it is not facing the correct direction. The white ray should be pointing down. This also suggests that it is not original as an Eastern Star member would know the correct way it is worn.

Carol on November 04, 2017:

The colors on the star are incorrect but I don't know if it is just the way it photographed. The star should be blue, yellow, white, green, and red.

Liz on August 15, 2017:

Thank you for all the terrific information!

You have opened my eyes to a whole new world of fun collecting. What fun!

Carolyn C on August 11, 2017:

Thank you for all the information. Great information!

Cheryl things. on May 27, 2017:

I have some jewelry that I know is vintage. I just don't know where to begin.

Pam on April 29, 2017:


I'm in the process of sorting out my jewellery that I have inherited from my two grandmas and my mum. Your website is proving to be very helpful. To give you an idea of time both my Grandmas were born in the late 1800s and died during the 1950s so your article is so helpful.

However are three items in my collection that I have no idea about. They are threaded on a piece of string . They are the same size (each are approximately 4 1/2 cms long, 2 1/2 cms wide and 1/2 cm thick); a curved almost diamond shape with curved edges and linked together with string that is threaded through the narrow ends. They feel like they are made of hardened glass or ceramic. However, they are covered with the most intricate beautiful minute coloured flower patterns on both sides, around the edges and even into the holes at both ends of each one. All patterns are different on each of these 'pendants' in blues, yellows, white, green and russett red. They look quite amazing and don't deserve to be tied together on a piece of string. They remind me of some Japanese prints. Can anyone help me work out what they are please.

Pree on April 24, 2017:

Hi I just purchased a camphor piece and cannot figure out if it's authentic, can anyone help?

Sharon on April 05, 2017:

I have a larger cross pendant with cabochon stones, possibly gold plate. It is only marked with a number 3583 I can't find anything about this cross and I do not see anything similar

Hope someone can help!

Jessica Holman on November 21, 2016:

Hi I have a watch I need help identifing who can help me?

Caroline Paulison Andrew from Chicago, IL on August 10, 2016:

Great article! Thanks for posting. Very helpful and well written.

karenm on June 14, 2016:

I think the unidentified piece of jewelry is a holder for a watch or decorative fob, which would hand from the hook at the bottom. Thanks for this resource.

Deborah Hileman on May 25, 2016:

I have a beautiful piece ( possibly pendant ) that has an unusual clasp on the back that I cannot identify. I have searched and searched but no one shows it.

I have several pictures that I can send if you are willing to help

thank you

Mina on May 23, 2016:

Thanks for posting this. I ended up getting a pair of earrings and could not figure out when the post was made. Your article is the first one I've seen on the web which actually helped me. Thanks again!

J Suzanne WM on January 24, 2016:

Hello. Loved your article! A few months back I purchased some rather non-descript earrings from a thrift store. I and my daughter love unique pieces. I almost passed them over until I noticed the screw on backs. I had never seen this before and thought surely they must be old. They are thin metal flowers and the other a simple circle. I think they are the screw-on for non-pierced ears. Very cool!

Mariana Fuzaro from São Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2014:

Very helpful article. I enjoy antique jewelry.

anonymous on September 09, 2013:

(Video) Vintage Brooch Identification Tips

I cannot add any knowledge I'm afraid as I have only recently started collecting. My comment is a question that brought me to this page which I know will be very helpful in my new hobby. I'm not sure how to word this question about a particular pair of earings so thst it can be understood but, I'll try. I found a pair of screw back vintage earrings that can also bd worn as pierced earrings. There are no discernable markings on the earrings with the naked eye. Has anyone seen this this before? They are not pierced earrings that have the screw on backs. I hope this was clear. Thank you

anonymous on August 08, 2013:

Really interesting video - well done. And the section on Black Jewelry was the best and easiest to understand that I have read so far. Thank you.

stella_mcartney on August 06, 2013:

thanks for sharing a great lens with us really new and informative

karMALZEKE (author) on June 06, 2013:

@anonymous: Hi Gail,

I think this video is excellent. Thank you for making it. I am so glad I can help share it here.

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on June 04, 2013:

I have heard an old dentist talk about Gutta-percha. I think he told me he used it in root canals!

Rose Jones on June 03, 2013:

Wonderful lens, and very informative. Pinned to 2 of my boards: "collectibles" and "jewelry."

anonymous on May 01, 2013:

@anonymous: here is a search term for a great Ebay example, check out the back of the piece. Amazing-Georgian-Victorian-14K-Rose-Diamond-Brooch-Pendant. I would post the link, but the spam filter won't let me

anonymous on May 01, 2013:

The mystery piece is a convertible piece of jewelry called a brooch-pendant. It can hang on a chain or be pinned to the clothing. You can search on Ebay for similar pieces.

anonymous on March 04, 2013:

What a surprise to find my video showing here! Thank you for highlighting it. (If I had to do it over again, it would be of higher quality but, when I did the video, only smaller file sizes were allowed.)

WriterJanis2 on February 27, 2013:

Really great info.

Toy-Tester on February 25, 2013:

This is really great stuff. Thank you for sharing

MammaNana on February 23, 2013:

I wondered how old some of my jewelry is. Now I can go back and date it. Thank you!

Vikki from US on January 10, 2013:

Awesome information! *blessed*

AngusMcD on November 30, 2012:

I had very little knowledge on this subject. Thanks!

audymay on November 12, 2012:

Very informative and well esearched thank you for this lens! Put together very nicely.

sailor_man on October 23, 2012:

I am new to squidoo and I learn.

Tea Pixie on October 17, 2012:

Wow! This is so informative. And I thought it was going to be about dating jewelry instead of men! hee hee But really, I am dearly in love with historic pieces of jewelry but I am often very lost when trying to figure out when it was made or what it is actually made of.

karMALZEKE (author) on September 18, 2012:

The piece of jewelry above is a watch fob brooch. The hook on the back is to hang a watch chain from and the pin is usually pinned on the outside garment.

anonymous on August 11, 2012:

I have a pair of earrings that have .925 (C) M stamped on the backs. I've tried to find this online and have had no luck. Can you help? I have pictures of them. I know they were not made to be worn on the french wires they are on.

Thank you,

Melissa White

JennySui on July 11, 2012:

Congrats on LotD!

anonymous on July 05, 2012:

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desa999 lm on June 20, 2012:

Enjoyed your lens, nice layout

DebMartin on June 08, 2012:

This has been so helpful as I have inherited a lot of jewelry and no nothing about it. Thanks for the jump start. d

wirote on June 06, 2012:

Great lens!

Diana Grant from United Kingdom on June 06, 2012:

I enjoyed reading this. My mother gave me some good advice - if you are having your jewellery valued, don't let it out of your sight - if they can't do it in front of you, and want to take it into a backroom, just leave: trust no-one because a good jeweller could change your valuable stone to a cheap one and replace it in the setting in a couple of minutes!

Angel Blessings for great information

amberchina on June 04, 2012:

(Video) How To Identify and Assess Jewelry Value With These Easy Tips. #jewelrymasterclass #jewelry

Cool stuff! I love to yard sale and often wonder how old the jewels I find there are. Thanks for the info!

JStarrB on June 03, 2012:

Great lens!


How can you tell if jewelry is vintage? ›

The term “vintage” has a broad definition in fashion and jewelry. In general, items must be at least 20 years old to be considered vintage. Because jewelry eras tend to last longer and evolve more slowly than other fashion, décor, and style, however, most vintage pieces tend to be at least 50 years old.

What is the difference between antique and vintage jewelry? ›

Vintage jewelry means jewelry that is older than 20 years. Antique jewelry means jewelry that is older than 100 years. Estate jewelry means second-hand jewelry (regardless of its age). To elaborate: Something antique will always refer to something that is also vintage, but something vintage isn't necessarily antique.

How do you date jewlery? ›

Is there an app to identify vintage jewelry? ›

Hallmarks - Identify Antique on the App Store.

How can you identify an antique? ›

A maker's mark is one of the main clues in figuring out the age of something. These marks can also tell us who made the item and where. To locate a potential marking, look underneath the object and in hidden spots. Remember, not everything will have a maker's mark, so don't give up hope if you can't find one.

What makes an item vintage or antique? ›

In short, an antique is 100 yearsor older, while vintage is younger,though typically still prior to 1999. It's a relatively simple distinction,but not necessarily as importantas you think it might be. The age of a piece doesn'tdirectly correlate to value.

How old does a piece of jewelry have to be to be considered vintage? ›

A jewelry piece must be less than 100 years old but typically older than 50 years old to be vintage. Vintage jewelry often belongs to easily recognizable eras, such as the Retro Modern Era of 1945-1950. World events can shape these eras as WWII did for the Retro Modern Era.

What period is vintage? ›

A generally accepted industry standard is that items made between 30 years ago and 100 years ago are considered "vintage" if they clearly reflect the styles and trends of the era they represent. Items 100 years old or more are considered antique.

What does M stamp mean on jewelry? ›

Maker's marks are the initials or name of the manufacturing firm or other representative symbol stamped into a gold, silver or platinum item. Also called 'Trademarks,' they often provide the only evidence that a certain piece of jewelry has indeed been manufactured by a certain jewelry maker.

What is considered antique jewelry? ›

Defining “antique” jewelry is quite simple because it has an agreed upon definition: antique jewelry is at least 100 years old. Anything made prior to 1920 would be considered antique.

How do you date an antique brooch? ›

Vintage Jewellery and how to date a vintage brooch from the catch

Is there an app that will tell you what something is worth? ›

Google Lens is an app you probably already have on your phone as part of the Google search app. On the Google start screen, there is an icon of cross hairs or a small colorful box. Tap that box to open Google Lens, a handy feature for many reasons but especially for estimating the value of a collectible.

Is there an app where you can take a picture of something and it tells you what it is? ›

Google Goggles is now Google Lens

The idea is the same: Someone can view or take a picture of an item and Google will tell you what it is.

How can you identify a piece of jewelry? ›

Identifying Jewelry Stamps And Hallmarks
  1. These identifying markings are usually located on the inside of a ring or bracelet, the post of an earring, or on the clasp of a necklace. ...
  2. Some collectible fine jewelry maker's marks include Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany & Co.
3 Apr 2022

How do you identify vintage items? ›

How to Spot Vintage Items in a Thrift Store - YouTube

Is there an app to value antiques? ›

The WorthPoint app is from WorthPoint Corporation the global leader in value and reference information on art, antiques and collectibles.

What is the ice test for silver? ›

To conduct this test, you'll need to have two pieces of ice. Place one piece in a metal pan and the other on the silver object you're testing. If the piece of ice on the silver object melts significantly faster than the one in the pan, then you have an authentic item.

What does 333 mean on a ring? ›

While some gold items are marked “333,” others are marked “8K,” but both markings refer to the same gold purity. Items marked 333 or 8K consist of 33.3% pure gold. In the US, these markings are quite uncommon, as these types of gold come from German- speaking countries and some Scandinavian areas.

Does a magnet stick to gold? ›

What to do: Hold the magnet up to the gold. If it's real gold it will not stick to the magnet. (Fun fact: Real gold is not magnetic.) Fake gold, on the other hand, will stick to the magnet.

What is difference between antique and vintage? ›

Antique: a collectible item at least 100 years old. Vintage: A culturally significant item ranging from 20-99 years in age, worthy of being collected.

How is vintage defined? ›

Definition of vintage (Entry 2 of 2) 1 of wine : of, relating to, or produced in a particular vintage. 2 : of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic. 3a : dating from the past : old. b : outmoded, old-fashioned.

What is the difference between classic vintage and antique? ›

Vintage: Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind. Antique: Having a high value because of age and quality. Classic: Judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

What does 1928 mean on jewelry? ›

The name 1928 was chosen for the jewelry company when the creator of the company Mr. Mel Bernie decided he would name it so when he saw a magazine article that referred to 1928 as “the year of opulence.”

How do I know if my costume jewelry is valuable? ›

How to Tell valuable Costume Jewelry by Dr. Lori - YouTube

What is Trifari jewelry? ›

Trifari Costume Jewelry is made of materials that differ from fine colored gemstones, old pawn Indian jewelry, valuable pearls, etc. Trifari pieces use an array of materials like rhinestones, coral, enamel, jade, and colored stones set in metal settings.

What is vintage deadstock? ›

Deadstock usually retains its original tags and stickers - this is because it went untouched by the public. It was never sold, so it's in its original back-of-store condition. Deadstock vintage is NEW, but that doesn't always mean wearable. Very often vintage items deteriorate due to heat, cold, or bugs.

Is the year 2000 considered vintage? ›

An item should be at least 100 years old to be defined as an antique. Generally speaking if the item is no older than an antique but not less than 20 years, it falls under the term vintage.

Why is it called a vintage? ›

The word vintage was first used in the early 15th century. It was adapted from the Old French vendage (wine harvest) deriving from the Latin vindemia (grape-gathering), in turn coming from vinum (wine) and demere (to remove).

How old does jewelry have to be to be considered vintage? ›

Most people refer to 'vintage' jewellery as pieces that are between 50 and 100 years old. Certain eras with distinct styles may be referred to as vintage even if the jewellery from that time isn't yet fifty years old. For example, jewellery from the 1980s has mass appeal due to the recent style renaissance of that era.

How do I know if my costume jewelry is valuable? ›

How to Tell valuable Costume Jewelry by Dr. Lori - YouTube

What does 1928 mean on jewelry? ›

The name 1928 was chosen for the jewelry company when the creator of the company Mr. Mel Bernie decided he would name it so when he saw a magazine article that referred to 1928 as “the year of opulence.”

How old does it have to be to be vintage? ›

The word vintage literally means "of age." With such an open meaning, there are many interpretations. Most antique dealers consider an item to be vintage if it is at least 40 years old.

What is difference between antique and vintage? ›

In short, an antique is 100 yearsor older, while vintage is younger,though typically still prior to 1999. It's a relatively simple distinction,but not necessarily as importantas you think it might be. The age of a piece doesn'tdirectly correlate to value.

What is antique jewelry called? ›

In jewellery trade terms, 'vintage' describes a piece that was made between 50 and 100 years ago. So at the time of writing, all jewellery produced between 1920 and 1970 is technically 'vintage'. From the AJC collections, our Art Deco, Retro and Mid-Century jewellery all falls under the vintage bracket.

What does C on jewelry mean? ›

So far the only thing I found on this thing is that the C stands for Copyright. It was something that was established after the 1950's so jewelry designers could copyright their stuff and be recognized as artists.

How do you identify a jewelry maker? ›

Maker's marks are the initials or name of the manufacturing firm or other representative symbol stamped into a gold, silver or platinum item. Also called 'Trademarks,' they often provide the only evidence that a certain piece of jewelry has indeed been manufactured by a certain jewelry maker.

How can you tell real gold jewelry from costume? ›

Marks and markings are the easiest way to tell if a piece is fake, phony, or fraudulent. A rule of thumb for most pieces of costume jewelry is that authentically marked pieces are commonly die-stamped into the metal on a piece of costume jewelry. A cast mark, commonly used on fake pieces, are not sharp.

What is Trifari jewelry? ›

Trifari Costume Jewelry is made of materials that differ from fine colored gemstones, old pawn Indian jewelry, valuable pearls, etc. Trifari pieces use an array of materials like rhinestones, coral, enamel, jade, and colored stones set in metal settings.

How do you know if ring is real? ›

You should see up to five marks on the inside of a ring: the sponsor's mark, the standard mark, and the Assay office mark are the legally required marks. If the metal was a fair-trade item, it should also have a mark indicating this fact.

When did 1928 jewelry start? ›

The 1928 Jewelry Company was founded by Melvyn Bernie in 1968. Today, it is one of the largest and last standing jewelry manufacturers in the U.S. The company specializes in reproductions and interpretations of antique jewelry designs.

Is 20 years ago considered vintage? ›

Vintage simply means old.

The meaning of the word “vintage” is simply “of age,” making it more difficult to set a specific age requirement. However, many say vintage items are at least 20 years old. So, generally speaking, something can be considered vintage if it is between 20 and 99 years old.

What defines antique? ›

1 : a relic or object of ancient times. 2a : a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago.

How old is vintage and antique? ›

Antique: a collectible item at least 100 years old. Vintage: A culturally significant item ranging from 20-99 years in age, worthy of being collected. Authentic, aged pieces in various conditions. Collectible: something inherently valuable or worth more than it was originally sold for.


1. Valuing Vintage Jewelry: Gemstones, Rings, Bracelets and Watches by Dr. Lori
(Dr. Lori)
2. Pricing Jewelry Antique & Vintage: Costume, Rings, Necklaces, Earrings, Gemstones by Dr. Lori
(Dr. Lori)
(HUDSON VINTAGE - How To Collect And Wear It)
4. Valuing Vintage & Antique Jewelry: Costume Jewelry, Rings, Bracelets, Gemstones & Watches - Dr. Lori
(Dr. Lori)
5. Vintage Jewelry Identification Necklaces
(Vintage Variety)
6. Part 7 ANTIQUE & Vintage JEWELRY HAUL How to Identify Old Jewelry 101 Learning Education VICTORIAN
(The Funky Pickle Thrifter)

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