14k Gold Cufflinks 1925 Diamond and Sapphire

The Jewelry Markings: Hidden Truth

The Jewelry Markings on Vintage and Antique Jewelry

The rhinestones dazzle you. The glamor bedazzles you. The jewelry markings on vintage and antique jewelry tell you the facts.

It could be basic, this vintage accessory matches the outfit you plan to wear. Face it. There may be a plethora of reasons you are attracted to a bracelet, necklace, ring or brooch.  Maybe you like it because it was Moms, or Grandmas Jewelry. Maybe it was a gift from a spouse or child. If you are wearing it, you have found the charm.

You are drawn to a piece of jewelry because you like the way it looks. The color or gemstones might be the appeal, or maybe you are attracted to adding this accessory,  because of the way it makes you feel.

Whether you are looking at costume rhinestone jewelry, or real diamonds and gold, the back of jewelry is where you find the facts. The details might be tucked away on a clasp of a sterling silver bracelet, or inscribed on the back of a vintage, rhinestone, brooch. 

Jewelry is like eye candy. It adds to whatever you wear. Whether it’s costume jewelry, old or new or real gold or real silver, it doesn’t matter, how jewelry looks, and how it makes you feel, is why you wear it. 

Jewelry Markings Look At The Details

Vintage earrings might tell their age by the way they attach. Screw back earrings were common in the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s. Clip on Earrings in the 50’s and 60’s, and pierced earrings from the 70’s through today.

Whenever you are thinking about buying a vintage brooch, or vintage bracelet, or antique necklace, or ring, look in-between the crevices, and on the back as that is where you will uncover the facts.

You will see the details, the quality of the craftsmanship, the maker of the jewel, the copyrights, and the age. You can learn at back whether it’s costume jewelry, sterling silver, or 14k gold.

depression era sterling brooch

Codes: The Makers Mark on Vintage and Antique Jewelr

If jewelry could tell a story, the story was crafted from the side your eyes aren’t drawn too. The parts that are hidden from view. Yes, if you want to learn about jewelry, look at the dark side, in the details in the clasp, the script on the back, the parts where you need a magnifying glass or loupe to see. That’s where you discover the history.

Every piece of jewelry has a story.

The back side of a vintage or antique brooch has codes. Sometimes the codes are easy to read, and understand, and sometimes it takes education, research and practice learning the codes found on jewelry. They aren’t called codes. They are called makers marks. Basically, they are codes because they are clues as to all of the details, and it takes time figuring it all out.

The front of a vintage, or an antique brooch, displays the pizazz. Glitter glistens.  Gemstones and rhinestones, sparkle and shine, and vintage necklaces and bracelets, add to fashion designs.  

Even when you think you have figured out all there is to know about vintage jewelry, you will learn something new.

Learning these marks takes time. Unless you have a photographic memory, and or are a genius, you will need to study for a long time to learn all there is to know about vintage jewelry.

You may want to buy the vintage brooch regardless of what the history or story of the brooch is, because you like the piece as a fashion design,  but you can discover the facts of the brooch, at the back, if you are inclined.

The age, the designer, the metal used and the craftsmanship are found at back, on the side you don’t normally look at. The story of a bracelet, necklace, ring, or brooch is told there, hidden from view. The beauty is at the front, the education at the back.

Who made the jewelry?

The Jewelry markings will tell you.

Study the silver on a bracelet clasp. Do you see a lion? That might tell you it was made in England, and is sterling silver. There are hundreds of markings for precious metals, and, the markings vary throughout the world. They are found in spaces on vintage and antique jewelry hidden from view.

Look at the reverse side of a vintage brooch, and inspect the metal. You can discover if you are looking at precious metals or not. The back might be marked silver or gold, platinum or palladium. Usually, but not always precious metals are marked. Gold is marked 10k, 14K,18K,22K and silver is marked sterling silver or 925 if it was made in the United States. Platinum is marked plat.

Costume jewelry and Sterling silver, and Gold Jewelry will often have a designers mark. Sometimes it’s a letter. Maybe it’s a first name or perhaps just a last. The text might be written in print, or in script. There are volumes of books identifying jeweler symbols. 

A simple symbol can tell you the metal used ,and where the jewelry was manufactured, and who made it. You can even learn the age. Thats a lot of information from a tiny little mark found on a clasp.

Sometimes it’s easy to identify the jeweler, as the jewelers’ name is spelled out. Costume jewelers like Coro and Monet wrote out the entire name on necklaces, earrings and rings. You don’t have to guess who made the vintage costume jewelry as they spelled it out clearly, plain as day. Sometimes the jeweler even dates it. You don’t have to guess.

Was the jewelry brooch inscribed to somebody, and was it gifted from somebody? All of this will be shown at the back of the brooch. Personalized gifts are often inscribed.

I found an identification bracelet given to Kate from Pete. It was given in the 1940s, during the war. How do I Know that? The type of ID bracelet, found, was popular in the 1940s. 

The names were etched at the front and on the back, and,  boyfriends gave these to girlfriends during this time period. I wondered did Kate marry Pete? The bracelet didn’t tell me that.

Review The Clasp

The age of a brooch can be discovered by scrutinizing the back. One way to see the age of an old brooch, is to view the clasp.

The C clasp is a sure indicator you have an antique brooch. The “C”clasp on a brooch is a clasp that doesn’t open and close. It looks like the letter C.

A “C” clasp is found on brooches that are antique. When I say antique I mean over a hundred years old. That is what is classified as “antique”  in the world of jewelry.

Jewelry that is  60 or 70 years old, is old, but it’s not true antique. It’s considered vintage jewelry.

The qualifications for antique are that the brooch, bracelet, necklace or ring was created 100 years ago.  If you find a necklace created in 1930,  thats pretty darn old. It’s depression era jewelry, but you have to wait another few years before its legitimately considered antique. 

Art Deco style jewelry created in the 1920s is now transitioning from vintage jewelry into the antique jewelry category.

“C” clasps were produced on brooches before 1910, and most in the 1800s during the victorian era.  If you see a brooch with a “C” Clasp, you have an antique piece of jewelry. It’s old. It’s over 100 years old. It might be silver, gold or costume jewelry, regardless, it’s definitely an antique piece of jewelry.

If you see a clasp at the back of a necklace that has a push pull mechanism its called a trombone clasp. This type of clasp was first produced in the late 1800s with most of them made in the 1940s.

Whether its a c clasp, a trombone clasp, or another type of clasp, the clasp can help you date jewelry.

Sometimes the length of the pin at the back of a brooch can date the brooch as antique, versus vintage. An antique brooch will have a pin that extends beyond the edge of the pin. Brooches were made this way because fabric was heavier in the 1800s, and the longer pin allowed it to attach easier.

Nothing Says Something

There are some pieces of jewelry where nothing is written on the back of a vintage or antique brooch. Nothing is there. Now what? When you see nothing, you are seeing something, because nothing is something. It’s nothing.

Julianna jewelry says absolutely nothing. It is highly collectible and some of the pieces command a pretty penny, and yet the designer wrote nothing, on the back. In this case you look at how the Julianna stones were set into the jewelry. The craftsmanship specifics will tell you whether it is Julianna or not.

 You also know that if somebody tries to pass off a brooch as Julianna jewelry by telling you Jullianna is written on the back, they are not selling authentic Julianna jewelry. The nothing is key element for identification.

The front of costume and gemstone jewelry is why you buy the piece, but when you want to discover the age, the maker,  and the craftsmanship look at the dark side. Look at the back, because it’s the back of vintage, and antique jewelry, that tells the facts.

Please visit our website at http://www.grandmasjewelry123.com for more information about vintage and antique jewelry, and our ebay store for purchases.

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