Behold that gorgeous antique brooch you've been looking at during the last couple of days on the web! It's obviously Art Nouveau... isn't it?
It's tough to distinguish from the genuine antique jewellery piece and a good reproduction. Here are some tips that you ought to bear in mind before you decide to shop and purchase what you think is a Victorian bit of jewellery only to find out that it is clever reproduction.
Having the ability to find out the findings that are attached to the jewellery for function rather than design is sometimes a great way to determine age, although findings can often have been altered later on. A few examples of "findings" are the hinges, clasps and catches on the piece. The Victorian times featured tube hinges until a far more streamlined design was introduced in the later part of the era. Other types of hinges such as rollover, C shaped and safety pin types evolved over the years. A lobster catch will not be on the bit of authentic antique jewellery.
The colours and metals changed in style over time. The art deco period featured bright primary colours while the Victorian era didn't. Being able to find out the cut of the stone and the type of stone in the piece will even help in dating the piece. Modern brilliant cut diamonds, for instance, were not brought to the marketplace before the early 20th century.
Aluminium, platinum, pot metal and copper happen to be the most popular metals in the 20th century. White gold or platinum for instance, although first introduced at the turn from the 1900s, wasn't in wide circulation until about 1920 if this was utilized as a cheaper option to platinum. As another example, 15 carat gold was a British Empire defacto standard until it was discontinued in 1932 also it was widely used in Victorian jewellery.
But often in Victorian times there was more emphasis on the workmanship and sweetness from the item than on the caliber of materials used. Pinchbeck for instance, an alloy of zinc and copper, would be a respectable alternative to gold in the Victorian times but is often found at the cheaper end of the market today when so much importance is positioned on jewellery being made from gold or platinum.
Feeling the load of the piece will also help identify wear and tear but, if you are buying online, ask the seller just how much they weigh. A brooch in the Victorian era look a lot heavier than one which was reproduced recently but normally a large piece is made reasonably light so that it didn't pull on the wearer's clothing. Check and to find out if jewels are glued in and when the piece is hand made or the product of a mould.
A registration mark on a piece will give you an accurate time period as will hallmarks. A makers mark or label is yet another part of identification. There are many guides and forums available on the web to assist identify hallmarks.