Dating vintage jewelry

Trombone clasps are named after the musical instrument that requires a push and pull to operate.

One of the most common questions that I receive from customers is “how old is this piece of jewelry?” Sometimes the question is very easy to answer, especially if the jewelry is marked in any way.However, this information can also be used to assist with dating jewelry made by other companies.The patented designs from a given year or a given decade show the popularity of styles, materials and themes, and indicate the types of findings and the methods of construction being used for the time period.When available, copyright information can be used in the same manner.

A great example is jewelry manufactured by Hollycraft during the 1950s.

C clasps were also popular during the Victorian era.

One way to tell if it is a very early piece is to examine the pin itself.

Whether updating a collection, searching for information about a family heirloom, or assisting a colleague or customer, dating a piece of vintage costume jewelry can present a challenge.

Many tools and techniques are familiar to the experienced collector, including dating by textured versus smooth back casting, extended pin stems and simple “C” closures, the presence of a copyright symbol, the use of aurora borealis rhinestones, to name but a few.

Prior to the early 1950s, typical necklace clasp styles used by Coro and Trifari were spring ring, push (also known as box), or fold-over.