How Do We know an Item is Antique or Vintage?
Pieces of the Puzzle
Many naturally want assurance that an item is of the age and specifications that The Three Graces states. Jewelry is dated much in the same manner as an antique furniture specialist evaluates and dates something. Perhaps you have seen an Antique’s Road Show episode where an expert deconstructs everything about the item? The wood, joints, materials, construction and overall design was assessed and the appraiser was able to date the object.
The same is true of jewelry. It is all about evaluating the many relevant facts of the piece and then putting them together in context within the history of jewelry. Facts that lead to dating and authentication may include the techniques employed in the metal-smithing and construction, what materials were used, what gems and gem cuts were employed, the types of settings for the stones, the aesthetics and overall design and form as well as the condition and level of wear.
All of these factors are then placed into a framework within the history of jewelry. Like pieces of a puzzle, each fact should be consistent with precedence in the past, other known examples (whether in museums and in reference books) in addition to the accepted norm.
It takes years of experience and education to become adept at jewelry identification. There is no antique jewelry degree one can obtain to gain this knowledge. Even most certified appraisers and graduate gemologists know nothing to little of antique and period jewelry.
Our owner and resident expert, Lisa Stockhammer-Mial, has dedicated her life's work to just that endeavor. With over thirty years of experience and knowledge, she is both buyer and authenticator of every single piece of jewelry represented. Ms. Stockhammer-Mial has spent years of study and research, attending and presenting seminars and lectures, networking with other experts, and of course buying and selling jewelry to hone her expertise in the field. She is now a frequent lecturer at the renown "Antique Jewelry and Art Conference" held annually in New York. She has also been a featured speak at the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). It is a continual process of discovery and education. View more about her and her background.
The Three Graces jewelry has been represented in numerous books and exhibited in museums. The Newark Museum's renown permanent collection holds one of our exceptional 18th century diamond pieces.
Reference Book & Further Information
Thus we date a piece of jewelry. Sounds complex? It is a vast subject; so much is written to help. You may wish to consult our list of reference books to continue your education. Books are one of the best ways to learn about jewelry – even the pictures and their captions are a great resource. Another great resource is The Antique Period Jewelry and Art Conference held in Atlanta each summer. Full of lectures and seminars on an array of topics on jewelry and its history.