Beginners Guide To Collecting Jewelry - Greg DeMark reveals his tips

Posted by Gregory DeMark on




   Anyone can accumulate enormous quantities of jewelry with very little effort in a relatively short period of time. All one has to do is spend a little time visiting garage sales, flea markets, local auctions and searching online. Often you can buy boxes full for very little money.

   To some people this is collecting but in truth this is little more than accumulating. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with this approach since mixed in with the large group of plastic beads and broken costume brooches may be the basis for a great collection or even several collections.

   Many people start collecting this way but to create a truly great collection takes time, education and a plan.




  The wonderful thing about collecting jewelry is the endless possibilities.  Collections can be created on a broad range scale such as collecting Victorian, Art Deco or even high-end award winning modern designers as well as very specialized with Victorian Mourning Jewelry, Edwardian Platinum Rings set with Diamonds or mid-20th century costume jewelry created by a famous designer. 

  Additional collecting themes to consider might be anything with birds, animals, reptiles, flowers or bows to name a few.

   A truly great collection is not limited to but in part should tell a story about a time period, designer or materials that were available at that time and most importantly should tell a story about you as a collector.




  To create a great collection that will bring pleasure and a sense of accomplishment requires careful thought and education so before you invest in your first piece it is important to invest in some good reference books. Be sure to also check your local library to see what is available.

   Do not limit yourself to price guides, although many guides do offer very useful information concerning styles, materials used, construction techniques, identification and designer names, the valuations listed may be outdated and therefore should be used only as a reference.

   Consider choosing some books that discuss the history of jewelry, gemstones and gem lore as well as books that discuss how jewelry is made.

   The broader your knowledge is the better your selections will become as you add each new piece and the more you will appreciate what makes one piece special and another all too common.




  As important if not more so is handling pieces, asking questions and looking at important collections.

   Antique shows and stores that specialize in Antique and collectable jewelry are important sources to view pieces up close and ask questions.

   Seeking out dealers that are passionate about what they do will most often lead to someone that is more than willing to educate you and help you make the right choices.

   Another reliable source for learning is from other jewelry collectors.  Creating bonds with others that share your passion makes the hobby become that much more rewarding.

   Finally, visit Museums that have jewelry on display.  A Museum near you may have an Egyptian, Ancient Greek or Etruscan exhibit to name a few that includes some work from these ancient masters. Although these types of pieces are rarely available to a collector, the learning experience will be invaluable.

   Don't forget Natural History Museums that have Gem and Mineral collections on display.

   If you are ever in Carlsbad, California be sure to stop by The Gemological Institute of America. They offer Gemological Training as well as a world class library and Museum.




  OK, you have chosen some good books that cover a broad range of topics and after a great deal of reading you have decided that you like mid-20th century Native American Indian Jewelry . With further study, you have decided that you love the look of the Zuni Needlepoint styles and you have further learned the names of some important artists that worked during this time period.

   With this beginning knowledge, you locate and visit a great Museum with an important Native American collection that you found to be a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

   Finally, you visit a few Antique shows and meet some very knowledgeable dealers that took the time to answer your questions as you gather their contact information.

   Congratulations! You now have a plan to create a collection to be proud of and who knows; as your knowledge grows as well as your collection you might find one day that it has become a very good investment.

   Now let the fun begin.  Go find that first piece and treat yourself for all your hard work but let me warn you.  Jewelry may not be hazardous to your health but it might be addictive.


Happy Collecting!


 To learn some tips about Jewelry investing please see my article “ Is Jewelry a Good investment


 To view our current selection of Antique, Vintage and Contemporary Jewelry please us at


Copyright: Greg DeMark – all rights reserved

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