Dating vintage costume jewelry
Silver purity marks also specify metal content where sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver.
In the United States, the National Gold and Silver Stamping Act of 1906 required jewelers to include an accurate purity mark, which indicates the materials used in a given work.“Hallmarks tell the story of the piece, and usually what country the item came from, as well as the artist and date made.” The date letter stamp, a requirement for British jewelry until 1999, is useful to know if you need to date a piece of vintage or retro jewelry.Silver pieces imprinted with a lion denotes 92.5 percent silver — thus sterling silver — while the Britannia mark means that it has 95.8 percent pure silver.The study of jewelry marks is a fascinating subject infused with history, culture, and art.
Often overlooked due to their minuscule size, the etchings hidden within jewelry are a window into the “who, what, and where” of the object— and are well worth a serious look.
collections created by designers Frank Gehry, Paloma Picasso, Jean Schlumberger, and Elsa Peretti also feature the designers’ signatures on the jewelry.