Nancy's detailed, forthright answers show why she's earned the trust (not to mention repeat purchases) of women around the world. All examples are Beladora pieces.
1. What should a woman consider when buying vintage jewelry besides "does it look good on me"?
Fine jewelry, like many other luxury goods, have an immediate devaluation as soon as they are purchased at full retail price. As soon as you purchase a Mercedes and then drive it away from the Mercedes dealer, the value of the car goes down.
The same goes for fine jewelry. As soon as you buy a piece of jewelry from Tiffany&Co. or another retail jeweler, the value of the item goes down.
(Shown, Tiffany pearl and rubellite earrings; price, $1,350.)
The Style Proposition:
Jewelry styles, like clothing designs, are always changing. One year tiny, delicate micropavé jewelry is in style, and another year, rose gold jewelry is in every jewelry counter.
If a woman is looking for a particular jewelry style that suits her unique look, it might not readily be available in retail stores. If this is the case, the items would likely be available in the secondary market, with estate jewelers.
|18k three-colour gold bracelet|
Few jewelers are making this type of jewelry now because the cost is so high due to gold prices. So the best place for me to find a big gold bracelet or pendant that I can actually afford is with an estate jeweler.
(Shown, ca. 1970 18k bracelet in yellow, rose and white gold; price, $3,850.)
2. What materials, styles or eras currently represent good value, and inversely, which are pricey?
Like with any other consumer good, supply and demand affects jewelry prices.
Edwardian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco jewelry is always in demand, as is signed jewelry, especially by Van Cleef&Arpel, Harry Winston, Graf and Cartier. Jewelry by specific designers such as Boivan, Belperron, Cipullo, Marchak, LaCloche, Fouquet, Verdura and Flato (the old stuff, not the new) is in demand because the supplies are so limited.
All of the above sell at premium prices. In addition, natural pearl jewelry has become highly collectible and the prices have gone up exponentially.
|Edwardian sapphire ring|
(Shown, Edwardian sapphire and diamond ring; price, $695.)
3. What Beladora wisdom might you share with a woman just beginning to invest in 'real' jewelry, but apprehensive?
I am 100% against buying costume jewelry for personal reasons. Virtually every piece of costume jewelry that I have ever purchased has fallen apart and it annoys me to waste money in this way.
I broke my own rule of not buying costume jewelry last September when I went on my honeymoon to Italy. I knew that I would be staying in nice hotels and dining in nice restaurants and I wanted to wear some jewelry that I didn't have to worry about. Some of the costume pieces that I bought fell apart even before I unpacked in Rome!
Other items fell apart or lost pieces while I was wearing them. Looking back, I should have taken my own fine jewelry on the trip or taken no jewelry at all.
(Shown, Mid-century lapis and diamond bird brooch; price, $1,550.)
I can't afford to buy trendy clothes, accessories or jewelry. When I invest in something I need to be able to wear it for a long time.
I have Hermès scarves from the 1970s that I still wear; I have Chanel jackets from the 1980s that are more chic than what I can find today at Chanel. I have lizard skin Gucci handbags from the 1990s that I still carry. My jewelry is the same. I invest in classic pieces so that I can wear them for years to come.
My everyday capsule jewelry wardrobe, aside from my wedding jewelry, includes a yellow gold watch (or two), a sporty two-tone gold and stainless watch, a good yellow gold bracelet and some simple yellow gold earrings.
My dressy jewelry includes a white gold watch with diamonds, Mid-century diamond earrings in platinum and a Mid-century diamond brooch in platinum.
|Diamond and platinum bracelet|
(Shown, diamond barber pole bracelet in platinum; price, $18,500. Nancy, here's your bracelet!)
And of course I have cultured Akoya pearl necklaces, bracelets and earrings, but hopefully I will soon be able to step up to a good South Sea strand and earrings.
My everyday capsule jewelry wardrobe, aside from my wedding jewelry, includes a yellow gold watch (or two), a sporty two tone stainless and gold watch, a good yellow gold bracelet, and some simple yellow gold earrings.
So I approach buying jewelry in the same way that I approach buying clothes: I invest in fewer but better quality classic pieces.
If a woman's style is buying the latest trendy whatever and then discarding it the next season, estate jewelry probably isn't the right investment for her.
As someone who has long enjoyed vintage jewelry, I appreciate Nancy's expertise and thank her warmly for her advice.
From a sweet silver charm to a lavish diamond necklace, fine vintage jewelry is excellent value (given a reputable vendor like Beladora) and holds a mystique unmatched by most current pieces.
|Edwardian turtle pin in sterling silver|
And you need not spend more than many costume pieces; this Edwardian (ca. 1900) turtle pin, $295, costs less than a costume brooch I recently noticed in a department store, with immeasurably more character.
Such workmanship and quality are hard to find now. That's why it's always my first stop when shopping for a heart-racing delight.