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Determining Jewelry Quality



Morning Glory Antiques &
Jewelry

presents
~


JEWEL CHAT

Costume Jewelry Magazine



The indications
of

Q
UALITY

in costume jewelry

Vintage costume jewelry
varies widely in price and desirability. I am often asked what makes one
piece better quality, more expensive and more desirable than another, and below are some of the answers
along with examples.

Quality of materials~

Jewelry manufacturers used different quality materials… this is evident
even in the pieces we see today. Quality in rhinestones is determined best
by brilliance and clarity. The lead content and cut of Swarovski stones, for instance,
makes them incredibly brilliant and clear. Good rhinestones, like good
diamonds, sparkle beautifully, and inferior ones are cloudier and less
brilliant. Inferior stones can be the result of poor condition,
but it can also be lower quality stones that were used in the jewelry
originally.

Clear, very high quality stones with lots of sparkle and no foil damage
(darkening of stones).

A variety of sizes and shapes of rhinestones often increases design appeal and desirability.

Swarovski stones have a first-class reputation for sparkle, quality
and consistency.

Cloudy and/or grayed rhinestones devalue any piece of jewelry,
as do inferior quality dull stones. This additionally has a flat
uninteresting design.





WEISS necklace,
bracelet and brooch and earrings in dazzling clear rhinestones.
View
View
View
View
#W1824

WEISS clear
rhinestone brooch. View
#W20716

SWAROVSKI Christmas tree pin.
View
#K19156

CLEAR rhinestone simple floral brooch with a flat design and dim
stones . #Y20731

Quality of design~

This may seem subjective but, just as in art, good design has quantifiable
elements: composition, use of color, use of material, attention to detail
and artistic merit of design. These pieces have it all!

Intricate well-balanced artistic design with layers of interest

Historical reference designs, figurals

Colorful cheerful design with very high quality enameling

Trifari "demi-lune" rhinestone pieces with unusual rhinestones
and graceful designs, and a degree of rarity






DeROSA
3" fur clip marked R DeROSA with a peacock surrounded by magnificent detail.
View
View
View
View
#d18663

KRAMER regal brushed gold tone
winged crowned lion brooch with red cabochons and rhinestones, 3".
View #X21197

MB ENAMEL cherries
brooch with high quality enameling. View
#B16698

TRIFARI
wisteria purple demi-lune rhinestones 3-3/4" brooch (converted from a fur clip) #T18642
Violets
bracelet
7" by 1-5/8". #T18643
and violets fur clip #T21205. Backs

Creative motifs~

Detailed hand work work,
craftsmanship, mechanical elements and complexity all add to the desirability of pieces
like these.

Mechanical pieces

Attention to detail

Unusual use of materials

Appeal of subject






COROCRAFT
day and night blue cabochon and pave floral 4" brooch.
View
View
OPEN CLOSE
MECHANISM #C20223

HASKELL
unsigned 1940’s vintage necklace with the slightly flattened larger glass
beads typical of this era. It matches the dress clip to the left. View
View View
View View
View #H19404

LUCITE
jelly belly trembler brooch, a hand holding a pale pink and cream enameled
orchid flower with aqua forget-me-nots wrist corsage with a glass pearl
center, circa 1945, a large 4" long. #Y38383
DeROSA
unsigned clear rhinestone links necklace with tiny pastel
porcelain roses and matching signed clip.
View
View
View
View
#d22193

Intricacy of construction~
Flat, simple and average pieces with little dimension
and design were less expensive when they were originally made, and are not
very
desirable to collectors now.
The three pictures below are examples of lower quality jewelry. They are
wearable, and may even be marketable, but only at low prices.

flat design

simply designed rhinestones

common brooch




Clear rhinestones floral brooch. #Y21211

RED rhinestones and
aurora borealis necklace, 14-15". View #Y21977

Clear rhinestones circle brooch.
#Y21055


These pieces show more complex design and use of
color, and they are more rare. Prices for these would be on the high end
range for costume jewelry.

Beautiful and intricate hand work

Creative use of unusual stones, 3-D design

Well designed combination of layers




HASKELL parure composed of purple faceted crystal beads,
chartreuse glass teardrops and poured glass leaves, it is enhanced by
rhinestones, artificial pearls and filigree work. The necklace is 14
inches long with a 3 inch pendant, matching 2-1/2" wide brooch 1-3/4" earrings. So typical of the things best about Haskell… the intricate
work, the wonderful colors, and the delicate detailing. View View
View View
View
View View
View View
View #H19083

DeROSA rose bud
fur clip, invisible set rose colored glass, rhinestones and faux pearl, 4"
tall. This is a large piece with unusual elements and three dimensional
design.
View
View View View
View
View
#d19517

DUJAY unsigned
flower brooch with lovely purple glass beads, green
enameling and clear and purple rhinestones 3-1/2".
View
#Y20383

Rarity~
Rare and/or
one-of-a-kind pieces and pieces with provenance which are also well made and in good condition
command the highest prices of all.






HASKELL/VRBA this fabulous
one-of-a-kind portrait pin was made for a Broadway play
by Larry Vrba when he was the designer for Miriam Haskell Jewelry.
View
View
#H10012

MIRIAM HASKELL circa 1940 Frank
Hess designed necklace, bracelet, and three clips jewelry parure with
original illustration advertising art work by Larry Austin.

DeROSA
2-11/16" face motif fur clip made from the design shown at left. See
this piece in Harrice Miller’s "Confident Collector, 2nd Edition" on page
98.
View #d20623

Historical Interest~

Jewelry that has been featured in books and magazines or has been
prominently worn or owned by well-known people has a cachet of its own.

BAKELITE heart and key brooch seen on the cover of
a 1940’s Life Magazine

"BOOK" pieces.

Pieces with provenance.

FAMOUS PEOPLE









BAKELITE red heart and key pin.
View #B16689

HASKELL
early Hess unsigned dress clip. Note the cast metal flower petals set with
rhinestones. #H18844


VICTORIAN
gold and enameled brooch with plaited thick
blonde hair under glass with extended pin stem, "In Memory Of"
encircling frame, and engraved on back, 1-1/2" by 2":
Ms Buchannan, died 12th Nov 1843
John Wilson died 4th June 1843
Seen in Christie Romero’s "Warman’s Jewelry, 3rd Ed, page 35 and in
Becker’s "Antique & Twentieth Century Jewelry" on page 106.
It also was featured in Southeastern Antiquing &
Collecting Magazine
, August 2003.
View
View
View
View
#V9521

Ann Southern 1941
This brooch looks like the
STARET
bleeding heart brooch circa 1940. #S18228

Era or Maker Interest~

Jewelry that is strongly typical of it’s era and style is always popular.
But conversely, this can also be true of jewelry that is very atypical of a
designer or era. See JEWELRY BY THE DECADES
to help date your jewelry.

TYPICAL OF ERA

TYPICAL OF DESIGNER

UNUSUAL FOR ERA and DESIGNER




DRAGONFLY and poppy
sash pin.
View
#Q19163

HASKELL
lavender parure with glass beads, seed beads, petals and leaves.
#H19502

CARNEGIE
enameled cast metal angel child brooch, 4". This is a large and heavy
piece with lustrous enameling, and unlike any Carnegie I have seen before.
View #C23043

Fashions and Trends~

What is on the TV and movie stars, what is being talked about by collectors, what is
on the fashion run ways… all these influence what is hot and what is not.
And like apparel, jewelry fashions may come and go with jewelry and
accessories following
suite. Buying high quality, excellent condition, multiple pieces in a set
and/or unusual items is a good hedge against the trends of the times.

STATEMENTS RINGS

STACKS of BANGLES

THE UNUSUAL




VEGA enameled ring with a parrot
design and red, green and burgundy enameling and
Azurite/Malachite
(The Azurite is the blue material and the Malachite is the green material), size
10, 2-1/2". Azurite
was thought to be an aid to spiritualism by the Egyptians.
View
View
View #X33331

SHULTZ bakelite cream, black, red and white bangle stack, great
graphics and vivid colors. #Bscz17

Lovely lady
brooch
purple glass in an intricate and artistic setting. Exactly
when
and where she was made is uncertain, but she surely is a beauty. View
View View
View View
View

Personal Preferences and
Associations~

In spite of all other factors, personal taste,
sentimental associations and general eye appeal count. Personal associations
and preferences often overrule all the other decision making points listed
above, so as it is often said, "Buy what you like". It will make either your
collection so much more distinctive!

Sentiment.. a piece reminiscent of
an special event.

Personal Tastes

Eye appeal





SWAROVSKI
red glass grapes and pave leaves brooch, a sentimental
favorite of mine as it marked a special occasion.
View
#K20104

Signed
R DeROSA on each piece,
peacocks with enameling, faux pearls and rhinestones. A 6-1/2" by 1-1/4"
bracelet View View
and matching 1-1/8" by 1" earrings and 3" by 2-1/4" dress clip View
#d18666

ENAMELED
huge 5" floral brooch with rose colored cabochon centers.
View
View #Y23057