We all know how Marie Antoinette met her fate but what isn't known is her jewels were sent to Belgium by her maid for protection prior to her death. Now 200 years later they are being auctioned off by Sotheby's Geneva in November. She was known for her taste of luxury and diamonds. The preview doesn't disappoint. Take a look...
This ruby and diamond brooch is estimated to bring $200,000-$300,000. @Sotheby
This diamond set is estimated at $300,000-$500,000 @Sotheby
While we likely won't be bidding on any of these, we do get our share of gorgeous antique jewelry in the store. Click here for our ESTATE JEWELRY collection.
Want to learn to spot fake vintage jewelry?
Is it possible to detect a fake antique piece? Yes, with a little detective work and study.
For example, like the Georgian ring shown, we are going to look for tool marks as these rings were carved and not cast. We also want to see significant wear but this is easy to replicate with polishing so be careful there.
The diamonds of this era would likely be rose cut with silver foil backing. They would not be very symmetrical. The cutters were trying to maximize surface area and not too concerned with symmetry back then.
Does the metal have porosity (pitting) which would indicate casting. Were the stone mounting techniques appropriate for that period ie. the preferred method of setting stones was with silver over a gold backing. White gold and platinum were not widely used yet and silver was thought to enhance the stones.
Look at reproductions currently being sold on ebay, etsy, and pinterest. These are very likely being offered (dishonestly) as genuine due to how easy they are to obtain. Since they are massed produced they are cheap and perfect for the fraudsters to use to try and fool you.
Now let's look at at the Art Deco style ring below. This is a modern made ring in the Art Deco style. Notice on point A. how the milgraine is very inconsistent throughout. On point B. all of the cutouts have very sharp edges that you wouldn't normally find in an authentic piece. The small diamonds at point C. were cast in place which wasn't a method used in the 1930's.
The more you study and look at different authentic pieces these inconsistencies will start to jump out at you. There is obviously a lot more to it then this but if you love vintage jewelry it can be worth it to learn. As these pieces get melted down or lost they are becoming more and more valuable.