Every person selling or buying vintage jewelry begins as a newcomer. Sometimes we are drawn to vintage jewelry because we inherit some, and we want to know the value.
I was once a newcomer. I inherited some jewelry when my mother passed away, that had been her mother’s, my grandmother’s.
I didn’t know if it was real, or vintage. I didn’t know if it was a gold or gold plate. I didn’t know if it was rhinestone or real jewels. I didn’t know if it was antique jewelry. When I look back, I knew very little about vintage jewelry. I wanted to know how much this bracelet was worth.
How do you find out what Vintage Jewelry is worth?
I researched and investigated. This is my story in investigating a vintage bracelet that I inherited that was Grandma’s bracelet. I share it with you so that you can see the process I went through in the investigation.
Evaluating Grandma’s vintage Jewelry should have been as easy to research as 1,2,3.
It wasn’t. It took time. It took education. It took investigation.
Evaluating Costume Rhinestone Jewelry takes time
The bracelet was pretty. It had beautiful rhinestones, patterned in a floral design. They were reds and blues, and the bracelet looked well made. The rhinestones sparkled. The gold had real shine. Maybe this wasn’t rhinestone, costume jewelry. Maybe I owned a bracelet, with real ruby gemstones, and real gold.
If it was real, it would be worth a fortune. It was a heavy, wide-band gold bracelet, with red and blue stones. Were they gemstones? Were they rhinestones? I had no idea.
My mind raced. If I cashed in this bracelet, I would fly to Paris and spend these inherited funds. Gold was over a thousand dollars an ounce. This bracelet had to weigh over an ounce, maybe it weighed two ounces. I didn’t have a scale. I was counting the dollars. Maybe it was worth 1000.00, maybe 2000, or even more. I was boarding an airplane, ready to fly.
I imagined I was sitting in Paris, France at an outdoor cafe. Grandma’s Jewelry was funding the trip. Mentally, I had spent the money before I knew what I had.
Begin with Experts
I rushed to a jewelry store in the shopping mall. I needed a trained eye. Jewelry store personnel attend training to teach them how to recognize real stones versus rhinestones. Most of the time they are trained in studying diamonds, but they do learn about other stones.
Did I have rhinestones or was I looking at ruby? It took less than 10 seconds to tell me I had red rhinestone jewelry.
My trip to Paris, was beginning to disappear, before it even began.
Generally speaking, the people working in jewelry stores know about new jewelry. They aren’t trained in vintage, jewelry pieces.
At the time I believed that rhinestone jewelry had little value outside of personal appeal.
That wasn’t true.
How much is Costume Rhinestone Jewelry worth?
Vintage Costume Rhinestone jewelry can command a pretty penny. Some of it costs more than jewelry made with real gemstones and real gold.
The front side had huge appeal. It was a beautiful rhinestone bracelet. It sparkled and shined
I studied the back of the bracelet. That is where you find the facts. There were no markings for silver, no markings for gold. It didn’t say 18k, 22k,14k,10k, the markings for gold used in the United States. It didn’t say GF, the marking for gold fill. It didn’t say anything about gold
That doesn’t mean it’s not gold, just because you don’t see markings. Most of the time gold is marked with markings indicating its gold, but not always. It’s not difficult to find 10k unmarked gold.
The gold on this bracelet was shiny. That’s a clue that the gold is plated and not real gold. If the gold is shiny, and it doesn’t have markings, you are looking at gold-plated costume jewelry.
My trip to Paris, was looking like it might disappear.
Tools to Evaluate Rhinestone Jewelry
I pulled the magnet out of my pocket. And it stuck right to the gold bracelet. That means that it wasn’t real gold. If the magnet attracts the bracelet, it’s not real gold, It’s a gold plate. The artist used metal to craft the bracelet and finished it with a gold plate.
Gold plate is common in costume jewelry. But don’t think for a minute that just because the piece is a gold plate, it has no value, it just might.
I was looking at rhinestone, red rhinestones set on a gold plate. I had rhinestone costume jewelry. It didn’t have real gemstones. It didn’t have real gold. Was it new, or was it old?
I took the loupe out of my pocket and examined the name. It was signed, with the word Coro. Who was Coro?
What was the history of this Rhinestone Costume Jewelry Piece
I began thinking about the person who owned the bracelet to give me a clue about the jewelry history.
Grandma had been born in Sweden, raised in Canada, and lived most of her adult life in Massachusetts, until retiring to Florida.
Maybe Coro was an artist. Maybe Coro was a jewelry manufacturer. Maybe Coro was a friend of Grandmas or a relative in the family that the bracelet had been made for? Maybe Grandma had a secret boyfriend named Coro, and he had given her the bracelet.
Maybe Coro was a person in Russia and this had been Grandma’s mother’s bracelet. I didn’t know. This vintage rhinestone bracelet looked pretty, but it was rhinestone costume jewelry, it wasn’t gold. It wasn’t ruby. Was it old? And who was Coro?
Coro and Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
I did some research on the internet. Coro was a costume jewelry manufacturer in New York, that later moved to Providence, Rhode Island. Coro produced high-end, high-quality, rhinestone costume jewelry designs, between the years 1901, and 1979. They produced rhinestone costume jewelry, that the commoner could afford.
Coro used the names, Coro, Coro Craft, and Vendome. This told me that the rhinestone costume bracelet I had, had been made before 1980. I figured that anyway because Grandma passed away in the middle of the 1980s, so I knew this vintage, costume rhinestone bracelet, had to be older than 1985.
Figuring out age, took some thinking skills, coupled with research.
Review trademarks on Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
I looked at the trademark. The name said Coro in script font. A winged horse was by the name. It said craft in print by the name. It didn’t say Corocraft, as if it was one word and it wasn’t the words Vendome, which was the name used by Coro to produce a high-end costume jewelry line.
This told me it was an older piece of jewelry made by Coro, but I still didn’t know how old. How would I find out?
What is the age of the Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
I researched the evolution of the names Coro used, and that would tell me the age of the rhinestone costume bracelet, I had inherited, that had been Grandma’s Jewelry.
Coro used artisans, and crafted quality rhinestones into jewelry pieces and made them affordable for people who wanted to wear jewelry that looked like gold, but didn’t want or couldn’t afford the high price of gold. They sold high-end costume rhinestone Jewelry designs. It was a little like their sales were geared towards the middle class, who wanted a piece of jewelry for a special occasion.
How old was my costume rhinestone bracelet made with gold plate signed by Coro? Was it an antique?
What is the signature of the Rhinestone Costume Jewelry
I looked at the signature style. Coro changed trademarks and styles of signing jewelry over the years. That often gives you a clue.
Coro began using the name Coro as a trademark in 1943 in trademarking jewelry designs. That told me that the bracelet was produced between 1943, and 1979 when Coro closed its doors.
This rhinestone costume bracelet had a script style of letters with a picture of a winged, pegasus horse by the name. This was a style used by Coro in the year 1945.
I could make a pretty good guess that this bracelet was produced shortly after the war ended, probably in 1945.
I had looked at the rhinestones. I had evaluated the gold. The age didn’t really matter. The greatest value in this bracelet was its name and the winged horse beside its name.
Rhinestone Jewelry has Unique Value. Find it.
Every piece of old, costume rhinestone jewelry, will have a unique feature. Sometimes it’s the metal or stones, other times, it’s the age, and or the craftsmanship. In this bracelet, the value was the name and scripting of the name. and the winged horse beside the name.
At the end of the day, you will need to investigate the uniqueness of each piece, but what matters most is the demand.
Rhinestone Costume Jewelry has Market Demand
Coro Jewelry is in demand. You can find many vintage pieces selling online. The winged horse beside the name made this a very collectible bracelet. The winged horse wasn’t used very long as a signature style.
Research Price Guides
I went to the library and researched price guides for Coro Jewelry designs. I went to book stores for more research.
It turns out the winged horse next to the name, made this bracelet in high demand. And here I thought it was the gold and rhinestones. It turned out it was the name and the image by the name.
Old Jewelry by Jeanenne Bell, G.G is a very good guide. This author has written several books on old jewelry and is an excellent resource.
Review Company Catalogues
Old catalogs can tell you a lot about the time period and the original cost of the jewelry you are looking for cost. It doesn’t tell you today’s value.
How much was my Rhinestone Costume bracelet worth – Conclusion
I couldn’t find an exact picture of my bracelet, but I did find comparable pieces. They were priced between $300.00, and $500.00
Take these prices guides with a grain of salt They are guides. Prices change with market demand. They can be higher or lower. They should be viewed as guides. At the end of the day, it depends upon what a buyer is willing to pay.
Grandma passed over 30 years ago, and I decided to keep her beautiful rhinestone bracelet. I packed it up and placed it in Grandma’s Jewelry box. I took it out and wore it on special occasions. It was priceless to me. It wasn’t for sale. It had been Grandma’s Jewelry, passed on to me.
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