Buying second hand jewellery is a good investment in many ways. The high price of gold has driven demand for second hand items up as customers realise that it offers them better value. On average if you purchase second hand jewellery you are likely to save approximately one third of the retail value of a similar piece new.
Another advantage to buying pre owned jewellery is that it will often have been made to a higher standard than modern like-for-like equivalents. To some people the thought of owning something second hand represents a lower quality purchase but this is not the case. Many signs of wear, such as scratches, can be polished out. After being cleaned and treated to some expert attention second hand jewellery can look as good as new.
Second hand does not necessarily mean old. If a piece of jewellery is described as vintage it should be from a bygone age, however the term is often used to refer to things 'in the style of' a certain era. If you are buying pre owned jewellery and it is described as vintage then you should ask the jeweller when it was made so that you can know if it is reproduction vintage or authentic.
If an object is described as antique then it is likely that it will be at least one hundred years old. There is no strict guideline to what can be described as antique but the general consensus is that it should be over one hundred years old. If you are buying antique jewellery it may not always be hallmarked due to varying legislation over the years.
There are a number of indicators of age in jewellery for example the type of cut of the stones. Diamond cutting theory and technology have advanced significantly over the last hundred years creating better more effective techniques. The old cut, known as an old European cut, is very different to a modern cut diamond.
Other things to look out for include types of settings, arrangement of stones and use of materials. It takes an expert to give a definitive answer on age without hallmarking there is still a margin of error. Ultimately if you are buying second hand jewellery buy it from a trusted and established jeweller who has the relevant valuing qualifications.
If you are confident in the trustworthiness of your jeweller then you will know that you are investing in a piece of history. Jewellery is normally treasured by its owner and the fact that such a delicate item like a ring could last for over a hundred years is testament to this.
Buying an antique ring allows you to add to the history of a piece of jewellery and to enjoy its rich heritage every time you wear it.