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The Perfect Heirloom: Tips & Tricks for Estate Jewelry Buying

For many jewelry collectors, estate jewelry is one of the most coveted types. With a history that more than likely spans a lifetime, estate pieces are one-of-a-kind finds that you don’t want to pass up when you come across them, and they have the potential to go from being one family’s heirloom to another.

Estate Jewelry Buying: What to do

But for those of us who seldom come across or search for estate jewelry, the process of finding the right piece at the right price can be challenging. Never fear! Here are some tips to prepare you for the task of finding the ideal piece, whether you’re looking to add to your personal collection or you’re searching for the perfect brooch, ring or necklace for that special someone in your life.

  1. Do your research. Estate jewelry can be sold privately or through a variety of establishments. Finding a reputable source of estate jewelry is key to ensure that you will invest in a beautiful, genuine quality piece. Whether you need to know prices to expect, or the qualities of the particular type of gemstone or metal you’re looking for in estate jewelry, it all comes down to knowing what you’re looking for.
  2. Expect estate jewelry to be less than perfect. Estate jewelry doesn’t have to be shiny and perfect – in fact, be wary of pieces that look like new. Look for examples of “patina,” an industry term for the look that comes from wear and tear of estate jewelry. It should be evident in great estate pieces. If a piece looks cleaned up or a little too shiny, don’t be afraid to ask the seller if he had it restored or cleaned.
  3. Tips on Buying Estate Jewelry

  4. Ask questions. Although rare to know the complete story, the seller may know some details about the specific piece you’re interested in. This could include from the age/era, metals, stone information etc. of the piece itself, to a little background about its former owners. It’s somewhat important to trace the history of estate jewelry; not only is it a fascinating perk of buying vintage or antique pieces, but it gives you an idea of how much TLC the jewelry may need or what it may be worth.
  5. Look for jeweler marks. Much of the older jewelry out there, particularly jewelry made in the ’50s or earlier, bears the mark or signage of the jewelry maker. Sometimes it’s an icon, other times a number, other times still it’s merely initials. Search online for websites that will allow you to see what some of these marks look like, and when you find a piece you love, look for any marks. That will tell you a lot about the piece you’re interested in.
  6. Price is important. There’s nothing wrong with getting something for a bargain price, but when it comes to estate jewelry, you should always expect to pay what the piece is worth. Find out what specific pieces go for to get a general idea of what you should be paying, and if the price sounds too high or too low, that should be a red flag that something is not right.

H&H Jewels: Your Estate Jewelry Dealer

H&H Jewels, located in beautiful Coconut Grove, has one of the best estate jewelry collections in the area. Whether you’re looking for the next family heirloom or a special engagement ring, there is no doubt that H&H Jewels can help you find the ideal estate jewelry piece for you. We can also buy your estate jewelry. Check out our collection now at