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ANTIQUE JEWELLERY – why buy antique and not modern?

13 September 2019

Why buy antique jewellery? What are the benefits?

A 19th century micro mosaic suite, with swans and birds, with pendant and earrings, in Etruscan style bead and wire gold work, with shield like panels with doves eating grapes, and swans on water, with elongated drops each side, with flowers and centre drops, Italian, circa 1870 £19,500The primary reason to buy vintage or antique jewellery is quite simply because you get far better value  for your money than buying new.

Antique jewellery is strictly defined as over 100 years old. Vintage is loosely anything younger than that but even mid-century modern is nowadays sometimes referred to as antique.

A pair of French, Art Deco, diamond drop earrings, set with old-cut and rose-cut diamonds, in grain and rub over settings, with millegrain edges, each with five tassels of alternating diamonds and double leaves, mounted in platinum, with an estimated total diamond weight of 18.00ct, circa 1930 £95,000

Manufacturing costs add considerably to the costs of modern stones and designs. Antique stones are not necessarily of lesser quality. They tend to have fewer facets than modern cuts, and so throw a softer light and sparkle.

An antique, French, diamond fringe necklace, with rose-cut diamonds in rub over settings, alternating with graduating old-cut diamond drops, with an estimated total diamond weight of 12.00ct, the back piece detaches to wear as a separate bracelet, mounted in silver-upon-gold, bearing French marks for 18ct, length approximately 48cm £48,000

The quality of antique jewellery cannot be beaten, since it was all traditionally bespoke, handmade and hand finished by highly skilled craftsmen. It was also not made in quantity so each piece is unique. Today’s machine made jewellery and laser cut stones might look brighter and flashier but the designs tend to be duplicated worldwide.

An antique, sapphire and diamond bee brooch, set with old-cut diamonds and sapphires, with cabochon rubies for the eyes, mounted in silver-upon-gold. English, circa 1880 £19,000

Financially, antique is the better investment and holds its value far better than modern. Think of buying a new car. The minute it leaves the showroom the value drops and decreases rapidly over the next few years until after a time it is almost worthless. On the other hand a vintage car only increases in value as the years go by. Antique jewellery bought well and from a reputable dealer will hold its value far better than modern.

A pair of antique Wiese intaglio cufflinks, set with cornelian intaglios, mounted in 18ct gold. The intaglios depict a child’s head; the bust of a philosopher; Hygeia, the Greek goddess of hygiene, with a serpent around her neck, this intaglio is dated to circa third century A. D. and Gryllus, a Greek mythological character, who was half man, half pig, with two faces, one on his stomach this intaglio is dated to circa second century A. D.. The cast mounts depict three rows of rope style wire twists, with a beading surround, in fine gold, with carabiner fittings, with French eagle marks, signed Wiése. . Accompanied by an invoice dated 1925 £20,000

The charm and romance of antique jewellery cannot be replicated. It comes with a long history of fascinating ownership. We don’t always know the full history of each piece but each item has its own story to tell: why it was made and for whom, where and on which occasions it was worn. One can only imagine.

An antique snake bangle, with blue enamel on gold, with gold engravings either side of the four hinges. The head is set with old-cut and rose-cut diamonds, with a total weight of approximately 5.50ct, cabochon ruby eyes and a red garnet topped doublet. Garnet topped doublets were produced between 1850 and the early 1900s. In Victorian symbolism the coiled snake symbolized eternity. £45,000

We are currently exhibiting some of our finest pieces at the LAPADA Fair in Berkley Square, London.

E-tickets are available to download from our website www.moirafinejewellery.com

Bruce Rowley
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