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Antique Jewellery on Ebay

LondonRuby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
31
Does anyone feel deeply suspicious of established Ebay sellers who seem to have an endless supply of antique jewellery?

There are a few of them with excellent feedback, established as companies in the UK, that I have seen trading for years. I started buying antique jewellery in 2010 and the first ring I bought was supposedly Georgian, with roughly cut diamonds. It cost a lot for me at the time, but not that much considering it's supposed to be 200 years old. I'm now I'm almost sure it's a reproduction, although I love wearing it. There's a certain look - roughly cut small diamonds in a silver setting - that I'm now suspicious of. Apparently Georgian jewellery was carefully made, whereas a lot of these rings look crude.

The sellers also accept surprisingly low offers; I once bought a 22ct gold and turquoise flower ring, supplosedly Victorian, for £150.00. The hallmarks were from the UK but didn't make sense, there was no date mark. The seller said it must have rubbed off - blatantly not the case as the other markings were clear; he was quite abrupt and said I could return it. I later resold it to a pawbroker for just a little less- so basically the seller had sold me a supposedly 140 year old ring for the price of the gold weight. It doesn't make sense.

Also, how can these sellers get a constant stream of similar jewellery, over a ten year period? Is there really such a supply? Surely it takes time to find such items. But then, why doesn't anyone complain - do they really think the items are antique?

I've bought other pieces since then, from private sellers and in antique shops, and they look far more genuine. There are certain hallmarks I'm now familiar with and look out for.

What does everyone else think?

Thanks!
 

Roselina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
346
Thank you for that input. Yes, I have wondered that a couple of times as well. Sometimes you also find sellers with several objects that look all very similar, when actually supposed to be unique antique pieces. One thing, that makes me suspicious. It would be quite a coincidence. I too, try to learn f.e. concerning the marks. But sometimes it’s very difficult to tell. I just recently bought a ring with no marks at all but in an original box. The ring is small but of very high quality and I do believe it’s the original ring meant for that box. But then, who knows? Mostly it’s still my guts telling me somehow.
 

LondonRuby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
31
Yes, guts and quality usually help!
The ones I'm thinking of all have the same look, low carat gold and three or five stones like garnets or pearls, or clusters with pearls or turquoise, often tiny, bad quality stones. And the gold has the same crinkly look. If they're reproductions, it's very sad as they're at the entry level price that people starting a collection might afford. But at the same time, they are far too expensive if they're reproductions, as 9ct gold contemporary rings sell for £30 on the second hard market as opposed to £290 if they pretend to be Victorian.
I'd love to know either way; one seller has 450 items listed and another has over 1000, and their stock seems endless. They have housands of positive reviews and I'd love to know for sure if their items are genuine.
 

LondonRuby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
31
Hi Roselina,
Just a bit worried I'd be done for libel if I'm wrong! But here are two rings that I bought some time ago & have resold. Turquoise ring supposedly Victorian, and the other ring sold to me as Georgian. I have my doubts!

s-l1600.jpg s-l1600.jpg
 

Roselina

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
346
Hi Roselina,
Just a bit worried I'd be done for libel if I'm wrong! But here are two rings that I bought some time ago & have resold. Turquoise ring supposedly Victorian, and the other ring sold to me as Georgian. I have my doubts!

s-l1600.jpg s-l1600.jpg
I'm so sorry! I totally missed to answer you. Thank you for the pictures. They are nice rings but I sense, what you mean. Sometimes it is just very hard to tell. The first one I somehow doubt more. By the way. Do you have any good recommendations for a book about hallmarks in jewelry? You are so knowledgeable!
 

PreRaphaelite

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
2,493
I agree with the premise, and I see it so very often with Georgian settings in particular. My theory is that, given the use of silver/gold rather than all-gold in the settings, plus the use of lower cut-quality stones, that production is less expensive to the makers and therefore more profitable. Authentic Georgian pieces are often incredibly delicate settings and high quality stones but most browsers mightn’t know that. Ethical sellers go out of their way to point out “Georgian Style” or call items “inspired” at least.

For private resellers, cheating can be tempting - I have a Georgian-style necklace which I know 100% is contemporary, but what happens to it after I sell it on with a truthful description, I cannot say. It’s not a good feeling to think someone will buy from me, rough it up a bit with sandpaper, and then resell it for double what they paid. Turns my stomach.
 

LondonRuby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
31
I'm so sorry! I totally missed to answer you. Thank you for the pictures. They are nice rings but I sense, what you mean. Sometimes it is just very hard to tell. The first one I somehow doubt more. By the way. Do you have any good recommendations for a book about hallmarks in jewelry? You are so knowledgeable!
Thank you, Roselina! I didn't really use a book, although I've picked up a few 'coffee table' books about antique jewellery and look at the pictures.And I also look at antique jewellery online as a hobby - I could spend hours browsing websites!
I buy a lot of jewellery from different places, including car boot sales, second hand shops, Ebay, etc. When I was starting off, I made lots of mistakes and that's where I learned about the different hallmarks by Googling them. It took some time doing research but then the knowledge stayed with me, so it was useful. What I find frustrating are the UK year marks, you have to squint into an eyeglass and try to match a letter up to the correct year it was made, by looking at the 'font' they used (not sure what the correct term is!)
I always keep my collection curated so resell pieces every so often and have developed a sense for what is more resalable and especially for what hallmarks seems more genuine with a particular style. Also there's places where I buy stuff that I know for a fact is genuine, so I trust these hallmarks more.

But I don't know half as much as I'd like to, still learning!
 

LondonRuby

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
31
I agree with the premise, and I see it so very often with Georgian settings in particular. My theory is that, given the use of silver/gold rather than all-gold in the settings, plus the use of lower cut-quality stones, that production is less expensive to the makers and therefore more profitable. Authentic Georgian pieces are often incredibly delicate settings and high quality stones but most browsers mightn’t know that. Ethical sellers go out of their way to point out “Georgian Style” or call items “inspired” at least.

For private resellers, cheating can be tempting - I have a Georgian-style necklace which I know 100% is contemporary, but what happens to it after I sell it on with a truthful description, I cannot say. It’s not a good feeling to think someone will buy from me, rough it up a bit with sandpaper, and then resell it for double what they paid. Turns my stomach.
Yes, I definitely used to think that Georgian rings had little jagged diamonds and crude silver settings! I read an article by collector Lisa Kramer, which enlightened me to the fact they that's not what Georgian jewellery looks like.

Buyers need to educate themselves, too. They could 'train their eye' by browsing in reputable antique stores. I used to feel embarrassed hanging out at a really high end antique jewellery market in London, because the sellers all look desperate to make a sale and I'm basically wasting their time. But as my earning power grows, I might be able to buy from them in the future - some of their stuff is actually affordable - and in the meantime I've learnt a lot by browsing there and asking questions. A dealer told that most of the Georgian rings around are fake.
 
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