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Antique Silver: 3 Unique Gift Ideas

March 12, 2019 8:01 pm

antique sterlingAccording to the Royal Society of Chemistry, we can trace the beginning of silver mining back to ancient Greece and Turkey, in 3000 B.C. Eventually, silver became highly valued all over the world. In fact, in at least 14 languages, the terms for "money" and "silver" are identical.

Pure silver is too soft for use in making jewelry or tableware. Therefore those items are typically made from sterling silver, which is an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Sterling silver pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries are generally marked "Sterling" or "925." Overall, the precious metals that are most commonly used to make jewelry are alloys of gold or silver. 

Today, we still enjoy the beauty and high-quality craftsmanship of antique silver. A gift of antique sterling silver is truly timeless, and here are three unique gift ideas for weddings, anniversaries, housewarmings, and other special celebrations.

 

1. Wine Goblets.

If you know a wine aficionado who has a memorable occasion coming up, what could be a lovelier present than a pair of antique sterling silver wine goblets?
 

2. Silver Overlay Glass.

As explained by the Glass Encyclopedia, silver overlay glass has a pattern of silver that has been electroplated onto the glass. Over time, the silver design becomes tarnished and appears black. Because of this, many people overlook exquisite silver overlay pieces without realizing their true beauty and value. The silver can vary in thickness, and can sometimes be so thick that it may even be engraved. Very thin silver overlay glass is often called deposit glass.

A one-of-a-kind silver overlay piece makes a stunning gift for any antique glass or silver collector. 
 

3. Heirloom.

Few gifts are more sentimental or heartfelt than an antique silver family heirloom, such as your great-grandmother's Tiffany silverware, that has been treasured and passed down through your family for generations. Given on a special occasion, these precious gifts take on even more meaning.

Joyous celebrations are often commemorated with special gifts. The gift of unique antique silver pieces such as wine goblets, overlay glass, or the passing down of a cherished family heirloom stands the test of time and will be enjoyed for many more years to come. 




Compelling Reasons to Start Collecting (Or Selling) Antiques

February 28, 2019 10:06 pm

sell your antiquesUnless you're completely devoted to minimalism, you probably have lots of different collections in your home. You might have an impressive array of shoes or love the work of a certain artist. You might also fawn over old books or buy antique jewelry whenever you see it at a local shop or yard sale. We all have different items to which we're drawn (and are often unable to resist). But for many of us, antiques win out over all other collectibles. In today's post, we'll discuss a few reasons as to why this might be -- and why you might want to consider selling your own antiques if they aren't bringing you joy.

What Are the Reasons Some People Collect Antiques?

  • The Sense of History: Whether an antique is passed down from generation to generation or an item finds its way to you through different means, many collectors love to delve into the history of a given object. In fact, that's often what draws them to start collecting certain items in the first place. There may be a sentimental connection, which is often the case with family heirlooms, or there may be a fascination with a given period in history. But no matter what, there's always a story to learn when you inherit or buy antiques.
  • The Thrill of the Chase: Many collectors specifically go after sought-after articles for the excitement that comes along with the process. They might have alerts set on eBay or scour antique shops all across the country in search of a special piece. It might be a rare or highly valuable item for which they're willing to pay a hefty sum. After all, the words for "silver" and "money" are the same in at least 14 languages, so it makes sense that buying antique sterling and other precious items might cost quite a bit. But these collectors aren't prone to buying just any piece that crosses their path; instead, they'll hunt for their "white whale" until they're able to add it to their inventory.
  • The Love of an Aesthetic: Most antique lovers have a certain style to which they gravitate. They may collect items from different time periods or pieces made by different artisans, but they'll generally have one major aesthetic that defines their collection. Some collectors might love sterling trays and other practical articles from the early 1900s, while others love the look of ceramics from the 1920s through the 1960s. By sticking to one distinctive look, it's possible to create a collection with a feel that's unique to that individual and that improves the decor of a historic home or even a modern apartment.

If I Have an Antique Collection That I Don't Use, What Should I Do?

Sometimes, people end up amassing impressive collections and later realizing that they aren't being put to good use. Maybe your lifestyle has evolved or you've inherited several pieces that simply aren't a good fit for your personal taste. If these antiques are no longer a match for you, they might still bring a lot of joy to someone else.

In this scenario, it's a good idea to sell your antiques to a dealer. By choosing to sell your valuables to someone who understands their worth, you'll avoid having these pieces sit around in a donations store or end up in the trash. They should find a new home where they'll be loved and cherished for years to come. And when you sell your antiques to dealers, you'll know you'll be fetching a fair price and that these items will be purchased by someone who will see them for the treasures they are.

Ready to sell your antiques that you no longer use? We're here to help. For more information on how to buy or sell your antiques through Nelson and Nelson, please contact us today.




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.