There’s something about finding items from another era or culture that’s endlessly?intriguing. Vintage pieces have histories that stretch beyond their shelf life in H&M?and time in your own closet. Estate sales, antique stores, and flea markets? are a hub for jewels of fashion’s past, but selecting?the perfect piece may actually require?some knowledge and a bit of research.
We talked to Catelyn Silapachai and Clif Claycomb about how they date and curate their vintage jewelry collection for The Distillery, the duo’s Austin-based online store. Use their expertise for your next foray into the world of vintage.
According to Catelyn, quality is the first thing that The Distillery looks for in a vintage piece. You should check the jewelry for a stamp that tells you the quality or the type of metal the piece is made from. One of the most common stamps is .925, which signifies the metal is sterling silver. This will help you determine whether a piece is costume jewelry or a fine heirloom. A quick Google search on any material stamps you find can help you date a piece. Some metals were very popular or not in use during specific periods.
Another stamp to look for is one that denotes the manufacturer or brand. Even if you don’t recognize a brand name, it may have been very popular in decades past. Google is your friend when it comes to researching vintage jewels.?Some vintage pieces?lack any?stamps at all, in which case an internet search becomes useful. Catelyn suggests noting stylistic details of the piece that may?clue you in to?where and when it was made.
Still stumped? Many jewelry stores often offer advice free of charge to help you accurately date your antique pieces. Don’t be afraid to ask for an expert opinion!
Catelyn and Clif also clued us in to current trends in antique adornment, which can be found in The Distillery’s jewelry store this season. If hunting for vintage doesn’t sound like a fun challenge, maybe clicking?”Add to Cart” is more your style.
Native American pieces offer some of the defining jewelry? aesthetics of the southwest. Generally made from silver, they feature various symbols that reflect traditions and range in meaning from artisan, tribe or locale. ($55 – $125)
Among the Italian leather trends in the 70’s were these genuine snakeskin hook-closure bracelets. The design marries luxury with minimalism and coordinates with a slough of leather accessories you already have in your closet. ($45)
The Victorian Era, which lasted about 60 years, often reflected the?tastes and sentiments of Queen Victoria. This delicate bracelet?is intricately engraved and features an imitation pigeon blood ruby, which was popular among Queen Victoria’s court during the Romantic period. ($79 – $108)