Ever wondered what makes a piece of jewelry vintage? Ever wonder how its’ true value is determined? Braunschweiger Jewelers is an 80-year-old, fifth- generation, and family-owned jewelry store with a story going all the way back to the 1930s. With two locations
in New Providence and Morristown, the jewelry store presents a wide selection of Vintage jewelry that is continuously refreshed with new and unique one-of- a-kind pieces. From necklaces to earrings, rings, and watches–to pins, brooches, and pendants, and much more. Braunschweiger is known for their appraisals, gold buying, great repair services, and custom jewelry design where Vintage jewelry can be updated and become that unique piece that reflects your personal style.
Not a lot of people know exactly what Vintage is because it is a very broad term to begin with. “If you go online, you are going to find 20 different versions of the answer. The legal definition is the word ‘antique,’ which has very different meanings in different countries. However, in the United States, it must be at least 100 years old or more to be called antique. Some people will interpret vintage jewelry or estate jewelry as anything that is pre-owned. When we can, especially if it is something older, we try to associate a general decade to each piece, i.e.,1940s, 1920s, etc. A lot of the jewelry that is more contemporary could be anywhere from 10 to 30 years old,” said Gretchen Braunschweiger, one of the owners of the jewelry store.
When looking for Vintage jewelry, most styles revolve around a distinctive look from a specific era. Everyone views them from their own individual taste and sense of style. Some may be looking for something that is still relatively contemporary while others might gravitate to a real antique looking piece or maybe they are just looking for a bargain. What is most important to consider is that the piece should be in reasonably good condition. The older the piece, the more fragile they become. There are 100-year-old rings that have a lot of life left in them. There are also others that may not last very long if someone is planning on wearing it every day. When buying vintage at its’ true value, trusting your jeweler is key. Braunschweiger will recommend the best pieces for you based on getting to know more about you—how you wear your jewelry and when you wear it. That will help you determine. if something is too fragile for your lifestyle or planned use.
The ways that Braunschweiger Jewelers find their unique pieces are through numerous outlets. Based on long relationships with their clients, many individuals regularly bring their jewelry pieces in for their review. Braunschweiger also purchases pieces from different companies that focus only on finding rare and unique vintage pieces. If pieces brought in are in reasonably good enough condition and can be repaired and cleaned, they will buy it and make it available for purchase in their display cases. In addition, they redesign pieces to make them more desirable and more on-trend. For example, not a lot of people today wear pins. What this jewelry store does is turn these pretty pins into necklaces. This technique allows them to update older pieces while also maintaining the essence of the piece but in a fresh style that consumers would be more likely to wear and enjoy.
To price their jewelry, Braunschweiger Jewelers utilizes a formula. They base it off the weight, the stones, the style/ design of the piece and the condition. Another technique they use is comparing their prices to similar retailing sites. They usually lower the price than for what other retailers are selling. If another place sold a piece for $250, Braunschweiger Jewelers would sell it for $200.
Some vintage jewelry is more valuable than others depending on how rare it is. A piece
may have been produced during a specific area and contain a very rare gemstone. It can also depend on how old it is; the older the piece, the more difficult it is to find. “For instance, jewelry from the Art Nouveau period was mostly made in yellow-gold with enameling and little pearls—and if worn a lot, won’t last very long,” said Braunschweiger. “As a result, you will not find a lot of Art Nouveau jewelry, whereas pieces such as Edwardian jewelry that have a lot of filigree work and platinum, we see quite a lot of. Platinum is a more durable metal that holds up better, so it stands to reason that more pieces of Edwardian jewelry will be found today.”
Anyone who decides to invest in vintage jewelry should be very careful with what they purchase. For vintage jewelry, you should assume that someone else has worn that piece and if worn every day, it may not have more longevity. Braunschweiger said, “Everything has a lifespan. Just like a car does not last for 75 years.” Having that open line of communication with your jeweler is critical to finding that very special piece you are looking for. Braunschweiger Jewelers has all the services you need to find your one-of-a-kind vintage piece you really want and will love to wear.