You’ve just obtained a beautiful vintage costume jewelry pin! You’d like to know how old it is and who made it. If you spend enough time around vintage costume jewelry, you’ll begin to see that most manufacturers had styles, patterns and techniques that were specific to that maker. But without looking at anything else, many times it’s possible to identify a piece of jewelry solely by the stamps/names/maker’s marks on back.
There are a couple of web sites that are incredibly helpful in identifying makers’ marks and learning about the jewelry makers. My favorite is Illusion Jewels website. This site lists many makers, the dates they were in business, and lots of photos of their marks. I use this site almost every day. www.illusionjewels.com/costumejewelrymarksa.com
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry is a gorgeous site which shows photos of some marks but also has many reference pages with photos of classic vintage jewelry such as Trifari, Eisenberg, Miriam Haskell. http://www.morninggloryjewelry.com/jc/JewelChatMarks.html
A site which is great for researching letters and symbols stamped on chains and jewelry. It’s called “Ornament, Jewelry and Accessory”. This site has a different page for every letter of the alphabet, and these pages don’t appear to be linked. To find a page for each letter of the alphabet, change the last letters in “OJAS” on the web address to the proper letter of the alphabet. So, for letter A, I change the address to “OJAA”. http://www.tace.com/vendors/bjarrett/OJAS
There is a website which is a virtual museum of Classic Trifari jewelry from before 1960. N&N Vintage Jewelry sells Trifari and other makers but their photos and info are fantastic. Check this site out! www.trifari.com
Another thing that I do with good results is to Google the heck out of a jewelry mark. If I’ve exhausted my favorite web sites and cannot find info, I’ll Google a description of the mark. There are many marks which are just letters and symbols. I’ll literally describe this mark on Google and see what pops up. Sometimes I’m able to find the makers from this technique.
And, of course, eBay is an excellent resource. Once I’ve identified my jewelry, I always check out Current and Completed auctions to see what things are selling for.
There are many more helpful sites out there, and I’ve barely even touched on the subject. I’ll talk more in later blogs.