Dating jewellery

Fastening should always be tested to see if it still works effectively, and avoid any pieces of jewellery with obvious soldering, because this probably means it has been repaired at some point.Avoid more expensive items until you have developed your ‘eye’ — remember it will be a process of trial and error.Look for the forgotten greats — the Seventies was an era of experimental jewellery design by artists such as the Canadians Robert Larin and Gilles Vidal and is still incredibly undervalued.Try to anticipate future collectables, too, particularly catwalk collaborators such as Shaun Leane whose work graced many of Alexander Mc Queen’s runway shows.Gloria Swanson, grande dame of Thirties film, always sported a selection of thick gold slave cuffs on her arm, while Audrey Hepburn was often seen wearing a bracelet of dangling charms.Jewellery that contains precious gemstones should be stored individually, because even the hardest stones can chip.And always question anything, particularly online, which looks like a real bargain — it most probably isn’t.

If an item looks to have no obvious signs of wear, avoid it.Every era has its own language of style that can be detected if you’ve done your homework and familiarised yourself with its shape and form.Art Nouveau jewellery (1890-1910) is linear and sinuous, with motifs such as the dragonfly and peacock derived from nature.Breathe over a diamond — the fog from your breath should disappear instantly.If it stays for more than two to three seconds, it’s a fake.

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