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Excellent Vintage Costume Jewelry US Patent Reference Web Sites

Let’s say you have a piece of vintage costume jewelry with a patent pending stamp or a patent # on the back. There are excellent web sites that are dedicated to identifying costume jewelry which was produced when jewelry designs were patented in the US. Patenting as a practice died out in the early 1950s and the heyday of patented costume jewelry was from the 1920s-1940s. The Trifari pin featured above is patented and is dated to 1953.

These sites can help you determine who manufactured and sold a piece of jewelry, the name of the designer, the date of patent, as well as other details. This information is extremely important in determining the value of a piece of vintage costume jewelry.

The following links show sites with comprehensive research resources. The sites are organized by jewelry maker and dates, along with design drawings and patent dates.

www.jewelrypatents.com

www.vintagejewelrypatents.com

Also, if you want to see a site with loads of high-end magnificent costume jewelry that was produced during the hey-day of design check out the link below. Many of these pieces have the patent information provided.
www.trifari.com

My site: www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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Where To Find and Buy Vintage Jewelry


I get asked fairly frequently where I get my vintage costume jewelry. Below is a list of the different sources I use to obtain jewelry. I’ve listed the sources in descending order based on my personal success in finding quality jewelry there.

1. My Contacts — over the years I have cultivated different people who I’ve met while conducting business. These people know that I am always looking to purchase jewelry. I contact these people every couple of months to see if they anything to sell me. Most often, these “pickers” are my best and most reliable source for jewelry. These pickers are often out in the market doing the same thing I’m doing…working their own contacts, attending sales and auctions and garage sales.

2. Auctions — I read the auction section of my local classifieds each week and also check a website named www.AuctionZip.com. Both of these sources advertise local auctions in my area each week. I only attend auctions which advertise a decent amount and quality of jewelry. I like www.Auctionzip.com because sometimes photos are posted that allow me to preview the auction. I have a pet peeve about auction listings, though….if an auctioneer is going to feature jewelry as one of the main highlights of an auction then he/she should PLEASE post some photos!

3. Local Jewelers — Sometimes local jewelers (I’m talking about independently owned jewelry stores, not mall stores or chains) come across vintage costume jewelry in the course of doing business. I’ve fostered relationships with a few local jewelers who do not consider me to be competition and are happy to sell me costume jewelry in bulk. I try to reciprocate by telling everyone I know how wonderful these jewelers are. I respect these guys and have confidence in their honesty and am happy to refer potential business their way.

4. Pawn Shops — I’ve visited local pawn shops and have found very good deals in the past. Again, pawn shops sometimes end up with vintage costume jewelry in the course of doing business. The only way to find which particular shops do deal in this type jewelry is to go in and ask.

5. Scrap dealers (AKA Jewelers and Coin Dealers) — Some jeweler and coin dealers will be happy to let you pick through the scrap jewelry that they originally intended to sell at scrap value. Lots of jewelry is scrapped when there is absolutely nothing wrong with it other than scrap value has, at times, exceeded the value of the jewelry itself (but jewelers don’t know costume jewelery and will scrap a real treasure). Don’t be embarrassed to go into a store and ask if they are willing to sell you scrap jewelry. The worst thing that they can say is “no”.

6. Antique Stores/ Antique Malls — I do walk through antique stores in the hopes of finding unidentified or underpriced “treasures”. This technique takes a lot of patience since it’s typical that once something is being merchandised in a store that there’s not too much profit margin there for me. But if I have time to kill and really need jewelry, I will visit stores in my area. I have found some wonderful things over the years.

7. Craigslist — I look at Craigslist every day and most of the jewelry there is not what I’m looking for. Every once in a while, though, I’ve been successful in contacting a seller and making a good deal.

8. Goodwill — Not usually a good place in my experience but I still visit periodically. Usually low end items are there.

9. Garage Sales — I don’t attend too many because I’m not interested in getting up at the crack of dawn and fighting other people for jewelry. I haven’t found too much good jewelry at garage sales. But when I do attend a garage sale, I ask the seller if they have any additional jewelry. Surprisingly, the answer is sometimes “yes” and then they bring out the jewelry still in the house.

10. Estate Sales — I went through a spell where I attended these for a while. However, estate sales often require you to get there and line up to get a number hours before the sale starts — only to get into the house and see that there’s nothing there. It can be a crap shoot but is an option.

11. Online auction sites — there are sites that conduct auctions in real time online. I’ve had some excellent but spotty results at these auctions. Read the terms of the auctions closely so that you are aware of shipping costs and additional charges.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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Maximal Art Jewelry

I have a large group of Maximal Art holiday motif jewelry, some of which is listed on eBay now. Maximal Art, designed by John Wind, features images from vintage postcards and other printed materials, Austrian crystals and 14K gold plated settings. This jewelry has charming, vintage-inspired designs. My Maximal Art jewelry is new old stock.

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Antonio Pineda Mid-Century Modernist Sterling Silver Link Bracelets


I purchased and then sold these two vintage Antonio Pineda signed sterling bracelets within just a few days in January. I try not to think too often about them or I’ll be sorry I sold them. One is a comma style bracelet and the other, I’m not sure what it is.

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Modernist Denmark Molten Silver Cuff Bracelet — Jacob Hull?



I obtained this bangle recently. It’s a little different from things I’ve had in the past. The bangle is made from a heavy base metal with a silver plated finish on top. It has a modern design with a molten looking texture on the front.

The maker’s mark is “DS Handmade Denmark”. Another well-respected site shows a simliar piece of vintage jewelry with the same mark and attributes it to Jacob Hull. Hull was active in the 1960s-1970s and was know for using silver plating.

If anyone can help me with further info, I’d much appreciate it!

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Fun at Burlington Antique Show

I set up a space and sold jewelry this past Sunday at the Burlington Antique Show in Burlington, KY. I’m always nervous before doing these things because it requires a lot of advance preparation without knowing if there will be enough sales to make it worth the effort. I’m also nervous about thinking I’m going to get there too late. I arrived a little before 7am on Sunday and was definitely one of the last dealers to arrive but that’s about as early as I’ll ever be…..

Regardless of the slightly chilly and wet weather, a large group of enthusiastic people were at Burlington on Sunday. It’s always fun to meet new people and to see some that I sold to last year.

I would say that the majority of my sales were higher end costume jewelry and sterling silver jewelry. There were a few dealers and collectors that honed in on the higher quality jewelry and much of it was sold.

Now my challenge is to find more!

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Vintage Mexican Silver & Amethyst Panel Bracelet


I picked this bracelet up recently at an auction. It is a circa 1940 Mexican silver panel bracelet with very large amethysts set into the front. The size of the amethysts is unique and I’ve been all over the web looking for similar bracelets. I haven’t found anything quite like this bracelet.

Dealing with so much jewelry tends to make me blase’ about most jewelry. It’s exciting when I run into something I haven’t seen or owned before.

This bracelet is currently for sale in my eBay store but I almost hate to part with it. Not that I need any more jewelry…..

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What Makes a Great Antique Booth?




When I walk through an antique mall, I tend to see the majority of the booths as not very interesting. I hate to see a bunch of garage sale level items, overpriced and dusty, sitting in an unlit and jumbled booth with no real theme. Once in a while, I’ll run across a booth that’s truly exciting. These booths tend to have a theme where the seller is marketing a family of items that go together. At the Ohio Valley Antique Mall in Fairfield, I saw several great booths recently.

There were a couple of vintage kitchen spaces with kitchen furniture, dishes, hand appliances and decorative items. I saw a colorful mid century furnishings and art booth.

Someone was selling a few vintage refrigerators which had me salivating. The stainless fridge is really a freezer that has been outfitted to hold a keg with a tap on the door. So fun!

The Ohio Valley Antique Mall in located on Route 4.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.


Visit My eBay Store: MidCentury Jewelry
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Shopping for Antiques in Small Town Ohio


I had an errand to run recently that took me out into the country of southern Ohio. Prior to going, I Googled “antique stores” to see if I could find a few in nearby small towns. One town, Lynchburg OH, showed a single antique store listing online.

Well, I went out of my way and found Lynchburg. There was a single stoplight with a bank, a gas station, a hardware store and a few other buildings. Within a few seconds I found the location of Lynchburg Antique Mall but it appeared to be closed. Darn it! I was ready to spend some money. After walking up to the store front and peering through the glass, I saw someone arranging items inside. I knocked on the window, totally ignoring the sign on the door which announced that the store would be open for business for the season in a couple of weeks. The man inside the store opened the door to talk to me and let me in.

This guy was busy and could have turned me away. As soon as I told him what I was looking for, he rummaged around and found me several boxes of vintage costume jewelry for me to look through. I found some good items; we had a good conversation while I was looking and he gave me a fabulous deal.

I’ll be back. The owner of the mall said that several antique stores are open in the area during the summer season. It will be fun to explore the area again in a few months.

www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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How To Clean Green Gunk Verdigris From Jewelry

As a collector and seller of vintage costume jewelry, it’s always a disappointment to come across a beautiful piece of vintage costume jewelry covered in green gunk. You know what I’m talking about…it looks like green mold and is usually clinging to the metal parts of the piece. This green gunk is officially known as verdigris.

Verdigris is corrosion of the metal caused by exposure to moisture, makeup or other contaminants. It happens over time and I see it when a bunch of costume jewelry has been stored for years, sometimes in contact with moisture and with other pieces of jewelry. It is possible to transfer the growth of verdigris from one piece of jewelry to another if they are touching for long periods of time. Some verdigris is easily removed and some is beyond bothering with. I always try to remove it but realize that sometimes the treatment is nearly as bad as the verdigris itself.

Below are my recommended methods to remove verdigris:
1. TOOTHPICK — Sometimes a toothpick is all it takes to scrape small amounts of verdigris from small spots on jewelry. I’d try this first.
2. DRY TOOTHBRUSH — Take a dry toothbrush and brush it across the gunk, removing as much as you can.
3. METAL POLISH — After brushing off as much as I can with a toothbrush, I might move on to try metal polish. There are metal polishes out on the market that are worth their weight in gold to me. Most can be purchased at any hardware store or big box store. I’m currently using a small tube of metal polish named Maas Metal Polish. These metal polishes are very slightly abrasive creams which will help you remove tarnish or dirt from metals. Squeeze a pea-sized drop of polish on to a clean, soft cloth and rub softly on the jewelry. After about 30 seconds of rubbing, check your jewelry out. Hopefully, some of the green is off the jewelry and on your cloth. Finish polishing your jewelry with a clean portion of the cloth. If metal polish has not worked satisfactorily, it’s time to move on to “home chemical treatments”.
WARNING: Some of the options below may work but I use them only as a last resort. Many times, even after the verdigris is removed, the metal underneath is no longer gold plated and may not match the finish on the rest of the piece of jewelry. Keep this in mind before you try the treatments below.
4. VINEGAR — Pour some white vinegar into a bowl or cup and soak your jewelry for about 20 minutes. Pull the jewelry out, then brush it off with the toothbrush. Rinse well, then dry well with a soft clean cloth. Do NOT soak certain types of jewelry in vinegar, especially jewelry with soft gems like pearls, fake pearls, rhinestones with foil backings, glued in rhinestones. If the verdigris is only on certain parts of jewelry, you could still try the vinegar but maybe soak some onto a cotton ball or paper towel and leave the soaked cotton ball touching the verdigris only. This will protect your stones in the jewelry.
4. KETCHUP — I’ve used ketchup in the past because it is acidic and stays in place. The warning about protecting soft gems and rhinestones applies to ketchup as well as vinegar. Lay the jewelry on a paper towel. Squirt the ketchup on the verdigris, wait about 30 minutes, rinse the jewelry well and dry thoroughly. If you can get over the smell and mess of the ketchup, it can sometimes work well.

Proper storage of vintage costume jewelry will prevent future damage. Try not to expose your jewelry to moisture and at least make sure that moisture or makeup is not present on the jewelry when putting it away. It’s best not to pile a bunch of jewelry together and leave it laying there for years. Just get your jewelry out and look at it once in a while. The sooner you catch that nasty green gunk, the easier it is to stomp out!

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Lost Jewelry In A Graveyard


A while back, I met a lady at a local Steak n Shake parking lot to buy jewelry. It was night but I was able to see the jewelry (kind of ) from the streetlights. After completing the transaction, I told the lady goodbye and started to drive home. I’d gone a little ways when I realized that I couldn’t find one particular piece so I decided to stop the car and search. I pulled into the closest driveway and stopped the car. The driveway happened to be the entrance to a graveyard, which didn’t necessarily bother me. I stopped the car and went around to the passenger’s side to open the car and search. When I opened the door, one cardboard box of jewelry tumbled out. Some jewelry fell inside the car and some fell on the ground. Some fell under the car. So here I am in a pitch black graveyard, feeling under my car for tumbled-out jewelry and laughing/cursing my stupidity. I pawed around and picked up everything I could see. As I backed the car out of the driveway, I used my headlights to illuminate the ground and found a couple more pieces peeking out of grass clumps.
www.midcenturyjewelry.com.

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I went to my local thrift shop yesterday to drop off some donations. I always give the jewelry cases a cursory look but NEVER find anything of value to buy. Actually, most of the jewelry appears to be junk jewelry that I’ve donated in the past. But yesterday was a different day. In the back of the showcase was this swirled medium green bakelite bead necklace and matching screwback earrings for $4.00. I snatched this set up immediately. My only other “find” here was years ago and I really regret reselling it for a song. It was a vintage lucite chair — probably worth many times the $40 I sold it for. Oh well…..