Antique Sterling Silver from Nelson and Nelson Antiques

Nelson & Nelson Antiques

Vintage vs. Estate vs. Antique Jewelry: Info For Sellers

February 1, 2019 3:45 pm

silver antique jewelryMost of us know silver and gold items are valuable, but you might not realize how spectacular the origins of these elements really are. Star explosions called supernovae are actually responsible for their formation. When these stars (which are approximately 10 times the size of our sun) explode at the end of their lives, the result is the silver and gold we use in countless household items and jewelry. Between these incredible beginnings and their sentimental value, it's no wonder we often consider these jewelry pieces to be among our most prized possessions.

That said, you may not really know what your jewelry is actually worth, particularly if it's been passed down through the generations. What's more, you might assume that jewelry dealers make no discrimination between antique, vintage, and estate jewelry. You might not even be familiar with these terms at all. In today's blog post, we'll discuss the distinct differences between these jewelry categories and what you should do if you want to learn the value of (and potentially sell) some of the pieces in your collection.

What Is Vintage Jewelry?

The term "vintage" can be used to refer to clothing or jewelry that's at least 20 to 30 years old. In other words, a piece from the 1980s could technically be considered vintage. However, many purists feel that vintage jewelry should be anywhere from 50 to 100 years old (though there are exceptions). These pieces are usually associated with a specific decade or style, like Victorian, Art Deco, or Mid-Century Modern. Most dealers will categorize pieces created from the 1920s and onward as vintage. Many are more wearable than antiques and utilize trends we still see today, particularly among those who love a retro flair.

What Is Estate Jewelry?

Estate jewelry is second-hand (meaning it had a previous owner) and may be either a reproduction or a piece that's been made within the last 30 years. In some cases, the jewelry may be older. The prior owner of these pieces may still be alive or may have passed on; this really has nothing to do with how the jewelry is classified. Age is also not a determining factor, specifically. Even if you sell your brand-new wedding ring to someone else, this could still be considered estate jewelry. All this term really indicates is that you are not the original owner of the piece.

What Is Antique Jewelry?

Those who buy antique jewelry are looking for pieces that are over 100 years old. This is really the oldest category and is typically seen as the most valuable, too. Some jewelers will consider pieces from the '20s to be considered antiques, but you'll definitely see jewelry from the 1900s or prior classified as such. But if you're looking to buy or sell antique jewelry, these pieces are definitive heirlooms that have superior craftsmanship. Although antique gold jewelry and silver jewelry is comprised of higher-quality materials, these pieces are often too valuable and too fragile to wear on a regular basis. In many cases, they may be seen more as valuables or collector's items.

How Can I Sell Antique Jewelry, Estate Jewelry, or Vintage Jewelry?

If you want to sell antique jewelry or even estate or vintage jewelry, you'll want to seek out reputable antique and silver dealers. This can ensure that you'll fetch a fair price for these historic pieces and that they will be sold to those with an interest in such heirlooms. In other words, they won't be melted down or sold for a fraction of what they're truly worth. To learn more about how to sell antique jewelry, estate jewelry, or vintage jewelry, contact us today. We'd love to be of assistance.

3 Tips to Follow Before Working With an Antique or Silver Dealer

January 23, 2019 4:22 pm

silver dealersIf you've inherited some family heirlooms or have accumulated some fine silver you never really use, you might consider finding some reputable antique or silver dealers to take these items off your hands and to help you potentially turn a profit. However, despite the fact that silver and gold alloys are the two precious metals most commonly used in jewelry, most people don't know a whole lot about the value of these materials or how to go about selling silver or other antiques. Before you decide where to sell silver, gold, or other valuables, you'll need to focus on the following tips. These tips will allow you to have the best experience possible when you work with silver dealers and other proprietors who buy antiques.

  1. Do Your Research: A lot of people assume they can just walk into the shops owned by antique silver buyers and find out how much their pieces are worth right then and there. But silver dealers won't always appraise your pieces -- and they may not be inclined to do so for free. If you don't know anything going in, you might not learn much more by the time you leave. In some scenarios, you might lose out on a potential profit because you simply don't know enough about the piece to dispute its value. It's generally a good idea to conduct some research on your own to get a better idea of the piece's rarity and its worth. Some people will have their items evaluated by professional appraisers. At the very least, you should be able to walk in the door with a price in mind as a good starting point.

  2. Prepare to Negotiate: Like we mentioned, it's an excellent idea to have a place to start with your asking price. Otherwise, you could be taken advantage of without realizing it or insult your silver dealers by asking a price that's way above market value. That said, you should know going in that you may not fetch that asking price. Know what you're willing to take in the end and don't shy away from negotiation. This can take some practice and some guts, but it's a necessary part of the process. Remember that if you have any sentimental value attached to the item, you'll probably think it's worth more than the dealer does (particularly if they don't have the market for the item). Reputable dealers won't try to cheat you, but it's essential to remember they're running a business, too. They'll probably extend you a counteroffer, which will put negotiations into motion.

  3. Finalize Your Decision: Before you ever talk to any local silver dealers, you'll need to ask yourself whether you're actually willing to part with this item. If it's something that's been in your family for generations or that brings back fond memories, it may not be as easy as you think to part with it. You'll need to be absolutely sure that you're ready to let it go before you start negotiating. You probably won't have the luxury of changing your mind after you sell this piece; even if a dealer agrees to sell it back to you, it'll likely be for quite a bit more than you made by selling it. Only agree to sell it to a dealer if you're 100% certain that you're content with this decision and that you will have no regrets.

Working with an antique dealer or silver buyer can be an excellent way to make a bit of extra income and rid your home of items you simply have no use for. We hope these tips will help to prepare you for this experience and will allow you to get the most out of it. For more information, please contact us today.

All About Georg Jensen Sterling: Your Questions Answered

January 11, 2019 8:21 am

Georg Jensen SterlingIn your quest to learn a bit more about the valuables passed down between generations or which types of antiques you'll find when you visit local silver dealers, you may have heard about Georg Jensen sterling. Is this name one that stands out in history and is the brand's antique silver incredibly valuable? We'll find out in today's post.

Who Was Georg Jensen?

Though he began his career as a ceramist, Danish artist Georg Jensen eventually became a silversmith who opened his own storefront selling silver jewelry and holloware during the early 1900s. He was essentially able to combine these two disciplines to create in-demand, unique pieces and expand his business into Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Although Jensen passed away in the 1930s, the brand he established is still synonymous with incredible craftsmanship and classic design.

What's So Special About Georg Jensen Sterling Silver?

If you're buying or selling silver, it's important to know what makes Georg Jensen sterling stand out. For one thing, Jensen's standards for silver differ from what we typically use today. Since pure silver is too soft for products like tableware and jewelry, sterling silver (an allow of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper) is typically used. But under the Danish Hallmarking Act of 1893, the content standard for silver was established as 926 parts out of 1,000 -- a slightly lower standard than what we see with pieces marked with the signature "925" today. The rest is comprised of iron, copper, lead, and other metals. Interestingly, Jensen did not switch to the current sterling standard until 1927, meaning that many of the oldest pieces conform to the older sterling standard.

Georg Jensen sterling is also characterized by an Art Nouveau style, though the brand also created pieces that can be considered Art Deco or modern, too. These pieces tend to be ornamented with distinctive embellishments (such as flowers, fruit, or animal-like features). The Acorn is one of the best-known Jensen patterns, while the Cactus pattern is considered to be quite rare. Georg Jensen pieces are marked with a variety of brand signs, which can help dealers to identify the year it was created and the authenticity of the piece.

Should I Consider Selling Silver By Georg Jensen?

If these pieces have no sentimental value for you and you'd like to find out where to sell silver, we're here to assess their value and may potentially be interested in purchasing them. Some pieces may be extremely valuable, fetching thousands of dollars at auctions or sales. Not every Jensen piece will bring in a small fortune, but this silver is highly sought-after by many. Merely learning about the history of your antiques can be an exciting endeavor -- and if you're able to sell them in the process, that just be the cherry on top.

To find out more about our services or about selling your silver to an antique dealer, please contact us today.

Tiffany Silver: What Is It and What's So Special About It?

December 21, 2018 8:30 am

tiffany silverAlthough there are many types of desirable antiques and precious metals on the market, Tiffany Silver is undoubtedly one of the most coveted kinds. But what exactly is this type of silver and why is it so in-demand? Let's take a closer look.

What is Tiffany Silver?

If you're a fan of Audrey Hepburn, classic New York City institutions, or fine jewelry, you're probably familiar with Tiffany and Co. Tiffany has been around since 1837 and was originally a store for stationary and other fancy goods. Since then, it's evolved into one of the most well-known silver purveyors around.

Tiffany Sterling refers to holloware, flatware, and all kinds of sterling silver goods made by Tiffany and Co. While most 19th and 20th century sterling silver items are marked with the number "925," Tiffany and Co. was actually responsible for popularizing the use of that standard in the United States. It's considered to be one of the most sought-after types of silver around.

Is This Sterling Silver Valuable?

Absolutely. Tiffany products are often among the most highly prized antique sterling silver goods. Silver dealers have been known to sell flatware sets, jewelry, platters, vases, and all kinds of items bearing the Tiffany stamp of approval for several thousand dollars (and sometimes more). Tiffany even made a sterling silver coffee can that sold for $1,500. Whether they're newly made or from the early 1900s, this type of silver is among the best of the best -- and tends to fetch a good price, as long as it's in good condition.

How Do I Sell My Silver?

There are many people who are interested in selling or buying Tiffany Silver. Typically, it's a good idea to work with a reputable antique or silver buyer to assess the value of a given piece and to ensure you're getting a fair price for your valuables.

At Nelson and Nelson, we make it easy for you to sell your Tiffany Sterling and other antique sterling silver pieces through appointment or email. With over 40 years in the business, we know our silver. And because we vow never to scrap silver, you can sell your silver with the peace of mind that it will soon find a loving home. For more information, please contact us today.

How Can I Incorporate Antique Items Into My Home?

November 30, 2018 10:45 am

sell silverAntiques add a special touch of time and history to our homes. They tell stories and bring creativity into spaces you wouldn't have thought to bring creativity into.


Although there are no rules about living with antiques and how to incorporate them into your living arrangements, every person's style is different. That said, here are a few ways you can display and arrange your own antiques in your home.


Keep your antiques in sight


It's all too easy to hide your antiques away. This is because you've been trained by society that your antiques need to be kept stored away for safe keeping.


But if you never see or use your sterling silver tea set, then what's the point of having it? Make use of your antiques and don't be afraid to put them on display. You don't necessarily have to use them to make the most out of their beauty.


Strategically place small antiques together


When you keep smaller antique items unorganized on a shelf, it creates a sense of visual chaos. Fortunately, the modern trend of using trays is a great way to organize your smaller antique items.


By placing all of your smaller items together in an organized fashion on a tray, shelf, or coffee table, you can make an elegant statement out of what was once chaotic.


Find a new use for your antiques


You don't necessarily need to use an antique item for its intended purpose, especially if you have no use for it when used for that purpose.


For instance, consider using an antique water pitcher as a vase or a silver plated tea set as a centerpiece for your kitchen table. The antique items add visual interest to the space.


Looking to buy antique sterling or sell silver antiques?


It's no secret that silver has value in more ways than how much it's worth. The first evidence of silver mining goes back as far as 3,000 BCE in Turkey and Greece.


Whether you're looking to buy sterling candlesticks, sterling vases, or you're wondering where to sell silver antiques of your own to experts who won't scrap them, Nelson and Nelson Antiques is the place for you. To learn more about our antique silver or to sell silver to one of our silver dealers for a fair price, contact Nelson and Nelson Antiques today.