Identifying the maker, style and period of jewelry are key to researching their value. In general, jewelry can be classified in terms of its materials, for example if made in silver or other precious metals and have encrusted jewels of some value, it is usually termed as Fine Jewelry. In contrast, Costume Jewelry refers to items made using non-precious metals nor have any embedded precious stones. Fashion Accessories are also divided in the same two categories and most jewelry makers also produce fashion accessories of all types and use the same marks.
If selling or buying jewelry, its precious metal content or purity is very important in trying to establish a price. Most jewelry is marked with hallmarks revealing all necessary information as to its origin and precious metal content. Precious metals like Silver, Gold, or Platinum, have specific hallmarks for each country and usually span a certain specific time period. These are referred to as Standard or Assay Hallmarks and they help in determining the country of origin and age of a jewelry piece or fashion accessory. Although many countries have official hallmarks that are registered and enforced, some regions of the world do not, but jewelers from those places frequently use other marks that give enough clues to identify them correctly.
Makers marks on jewelry are yet another very important indication since the reputation and workmanship of a jeweler or fashion accessories manufacturer are also significant in appraising their worth. Older and rare jewelry seem to do better in retaining their value and famous designers add prestige and increase desirability. Mass produced or unmarked jewelry, even if made using precious metals, usually fetch lower prices at auction and their value is mostly dependent on the purity and overall weight of their precious metal content and/or any precious stones.
Our Marks4Silver section at our Marks4Antiques.com service includes thousands upon thousands of makers marks, hallmarks, trademarks and other symbols used in marking Jewelry and Fashion Accessories made in any metal from around the world and spanning all periods. It also includes useful information and guides to determine the purity content of any constituent precious metal. And most importantly, our specialists are always on standby to answer any questions for free to subscribed members.
Depending on current market conditions, certain genres or styles of jewelry and fashion accessories are more popular, but these trends tend to change rapidly so it is important that a collector realizes that some pieces may be most desirable or expensive now and may lose some of their value later. For example, Mexican silver jewelry from the 1940s – 1970s was very popular in the 1990s, whereas Modernist jewelry from the 1950s – 1960s era have seen a recent resurgence in popularity and considerable increase in their prices, especially those made by well-known designers and makers from various Scandinavian countries. Native-American or American-Indian (southwest) jewelry saw their peak around the 1980s- 1990s, yet seem to have retained their value well, especially if made by master artisans with a rich legacy of traditional symbolism related to their native tribe or origin. However, southwest jewelry is mostly popular within the USA where its significance is best appreciated, but may not be as desirable in other parts of the world, with few exceptions.
Very old pre-Tsarist Russian jewelry is still very popular because of their classic and remarkably ornate detailing. These do better at auctions in many European capitals since many rich expats usually have a second home there. French vintage jewelry or antique fashion accessories have a more universal appeal, especially if made by Paris jewelers of the period, since France remains a magnet for famous and talented designers. British-made jewelry tends to be more formal and not very ornate, so in that sense they seem to be holding their value, but their appeal fluctuates over time as styles fall in and out of vogue.
Most recent jewelry and fashion accessories entrants in the market are designers based in the US or Europe who have their creations manufactured in other countries like China, India, Thailand etc. These are beautiful designs and merit a closer look, but their value is highly dependent on the content of any precious metals or stones, rather than the brand or place of origin. In most cases, they sell at a much higher price when new through several TV shopping channels or internet websites, but lose their value in the secondary market since they have not “matured” yet with collectors. Endorsements by famous personalities when selling these on TV, does not make them more valuable - these are simply marketing gimmicks to make them more appealing. Also, one should be careful with some of the terms used in describing the metal or stones used in making these as they tend to be misleading, especially when it comes to diamond-like stones and thin layers of flashed gold or silver whose purpose is to improve their aesthetic appeal, but add nothing to their monetary value.
To identify hallmarks and makers' marks on Jewelry or Fashion Accessories from around the world and of all periods or styles and find prices to determine their current value or worth, please visit our Marks4Antiques service with thousands of examples of makers marks and millions of auction results for related items.