Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Estate Jewelry Could Stretch Your Dollar When Shopping for Valentine's Day

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Estate Jewelry Could Stretch Your Dollar When Shopping for Valentine's Day

Article excerpt

Tips on shopping for estate jewelry

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OTTAWA - Anne Wallner carefully removes a platinum-and-diamond clip made by Cartier from a cabinet in her jewelry store.

Often worn in pairs, she only has one of the handmade, mid-century pieces for sale.

With more than seven carats of diamonds, including a 1.25-carat centre stone, the price tag is $28,000.

"A comparable piece new would be more in the neighbourhood of $50,000," says Wallner, the owner of Alyea's Jewellers in Ottawa.

That's the appeal of shopping for estate jewelry.

"Estate jewelry is generally priced 40, 50, even 60 per cent lower than a comparable new piece," she says.

But it can offer more for those seeking a distinctive bauble as Valentine's Day approaches.

Collectors looking for authentic period pieces hunt estate sales, and those looking to minimize their environmental footprint may also want to take a look.

"Certainly today the fact that this is, in a sense recycled goods, so has very low environmental impact, is very appealing, particularly to younger people," Wallner says.

Estate jewelry is jewelry that has been owned by someone else previously.

It may be just a few years old or could be an antique piece that's more than 100 years old with a fascinating provenance.

When examining a piece of estate jewelry, it's important to consider the quality of the materials including the metals, the gemstones and workmanship. You should be sure that the clasps work, the gems aren't wiggling and that the claws holding them in position are in good condition.

"Those claws that are holding the stones in place will actually wear down and then stones can become loose, so you want to make sure that the stones aren't loose," says Lee Rock, a gemologist, certified diamond grader and registered master valuer.

Rock, who also teaches diamond grading and jewelry appraisal at George Brown College in Toronto, says if it's an antique piece, potential buyers need to know the circa date, when it was produced and find out if it comes with its original box. …

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