Over the years, antique jewelry has become a favorite for many women. While a lucky few get precious family jewelry handed down to them, others need not despair. The market, keeping up with trends, is now bringing out these beautiful pieces in exquisite designs and with impeccable craftsmanship too.
But then, how do you know whether what you’re shopping for is really antique jewelry? What are the hallmark aspects to look out for when shopping for such pieces? And the most important question: Where does one shop for these pieces in the online environment. To answer all these questions, read on starting right at the basics.
What is antique jewelry?
In technical parlance, antique jewelry is any kind of jewelry that is over a century old. Such jewelry is rare to find and often refers to a period of time where it belongs. So, while the Tarakashi form of work connects one to Odisha’s expertise in the 1500s, the kasulaperu of Andhra Pradesh’s Ikshvaku dynasty talks of another rich part of Indian heritage.
However, as fashion is cyclic and some jewelry timeless, many of these designs are coming back. And, with the growing popularity of this kind of jewelry, Indian artisans and brands are now recreating these gems of the past.
So, in modern parlance, and especially in India, antique jewelry has new connotations now. Such Indian jewelry, therefore, refers to any jewelry that keeps antique aesthetics in mind and reflects the characteristics of the old times. So, while this category would include pre-owned jewels handed down as family heirlooms, it would also include jewelry that sports the time-worn look.
What are the hallmark features to look for in antique jewelry?
As you may know, not each piece of jewelry can be passed off as antique. A few aspects that would lead to this label include,
Rather than the bright and shiny look, antique jewelry often has a faded and time-worn look. This gives the jewelry its aesthetic appeal and also highlights the detailing.
Jewelry of that time would use metals such as gold, platinum, and silver for the royals. Jewelry for the commoner was however crafted with copper or less noble metals. While this is a hallmark for antique jewelry too, today a mix of the above metals makes antique jewelry affordable for many.
Precious and semi-precious stones
Jewelry of the past would often use precious and semi-precious stones such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Other stones such as topaz were prevalent too. Depending on one’s budget today antique jewelry is available with these precious and semi-precious stones as well. However, if your pocket isn’t deep for this jewelry, then stores do offer antique designs with artificial stones as well.
While modern jewelry is more geometrical in nature, antique pieces have a unique kind of detailing. With motifs inspired by nature, flora, and fauna, one can also find depictions of Indian gods and goddesses. The detailing is grand, with many fine points and sometimes stories highlighted.
Its era and legends associated
Also, the best designs often pinpoint to a part of the past. This is interesting as jewelry begins to recount a part of history or highlight an aspect of the bygone era. Interestingly, many such pieces have associated values of auspiciousness or nobility tied to them. Today the market does offer antique designs inspired by the Mughals and Hindu nobility of the past.
So, where do you shop for such jewelry?
While the online stage offers a wide range of stores to pick your antique jewelry from, where you buy is completely a personal choice. However, do keep the following factors in mind before choosing a store.
The store should have a vivid range for you to pick and choose from. Given the rich history of India, there is a stunning array of jewelry available in antique styles, and your store should allow you to choose from that variety.
This becomes even more important when you are buying antique jewelry. With most antique jewelry pieces made by hand, it is important that not just the quality of raw materials, but the craftsmanship is of the best kind. Browsing should be easy, detailing on each product should be visible and information should be clearly mentioned on the site.
Its policies, fine print, and safety
Always read the fine print, buyback, and exchange policies that your store offers. Look for certifications of authenticity as well. These will enable you to know more about the value systems of the store you’re buying from. Also, check that the payment gateways available at the store are safe and secure.
Read the reviews
If there’s anything that matches the good old word-of-mouth advice, it’s the reviews. These let you know how satisfied previous customers have been with their purchases, and what are the issues they have faced at the store. This is also a great indicator of the store’s popularity among people.
Shop at a store that offers good value for money. That said, the cheapest option is not always the best buy. You need to choose based on the quality you’re seeking, as this would help encourage craftsmanship as well.
Antique jewelry is beautiful, for it wraps in a rich part of history to be draped as jewelry. Fascinating finesse, lovely stories, and values along with exquisite craftsmanship make these pieces truly delightful. What’s more, with India’s rich history behind it, there is a vivid variety to choose from.
Interestingly, one needn’t limit oneself to buying antique jewelry for special occasions only. With a range that begins at daily-wear pieces to office wear, light party wear, and heavy jewelry, there’s much to choose from. Also, online stores today offer a wide variety of jewelry ranging from antique Jhumkas to bangles, bracelets, Mang tika, necklaces, and much more.
So, enjoy the experience. Browse at leisure, but don’t forget to shop safe!