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How to Spot Authentic Estate Jewelry

Buying antique or estate jewelry can be a risk…and for obvious reasons. Most people cannot authenticate jewelry with the naked eye. But with some due diligence, you can get closer to the bottom line.

First and foremost, buy from a reputable dealer. (Major auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s stand behind the authenticity of their pieces and usually provide gemological certifications.)

And just like any work of art, the signature means everything.

According to a recent article in Forbes:

In the world of antique, vintage, and estate jewelry, signed pieces by the maker can mean the difference between a lovely item and an appreciating asset. A signed object also makes it harder to knock off. The blue-chip makers remain the standard-bearers: Bulgari, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels continue to be coveted by savvy collectors.

So if you’re a serious estate jewelry shopper, bring the needed equipment, like magnifying glass or jewelry loupe, Examine each item for valuable identifying signatures and other related marks.

When buying estate jewelry, be your own detective!


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The “real deal.” Étourdissant Cartier brooch in platinum, emerald, rock crystal, onyx, and diamonds.