Scouring the Earth for an exquisite antique ring can be a tedious task that tests even the most patient collector. Knowledge of the craftsmanship attached to an antique ring is probably the best weapon in the search, but there are certain things to look for when you come across a ring that may have been neglected or forgotten centuries before your search began.
Look for markers on the ring. If you find a clear marking of manufacturer, your search is practically ended in one step. According to Sylvie Branch of Made Man, these markers can be difficult to identify, but if you see a clear marking from known antique brands like Boucher, Monet and Trifari, you can rest a bit easier knowing you are dealing with the real thing.
Identify the materials used in the ring. According to Danielle Lapidus of Treasure Box Antiques, Georgian through Victorian jewelry is usually made of silver that gives off an earthy smell. Yellow gold and platinum are more recent, while white gold pieces were not introduced until after 1920.
Identify signs of wear on the ring. According to Branch, there is a difference between tarnishing and a patina on silver jewelry. Branch states that tarnishing can be removed with jewelry cleaner, while the patina is an attractive, soft wearing of a ring that is a telling sign of an actual antique ring.
Use a jeweler's loupe to identify the characteristics and cut of gems or stones and how they are set in the ring. Table cut stones, cabochon stones, irregularly-shaped diamonds and diamonds that shine under low light are indicative of antique pieces, according to Lapidus. She states that no antique piece should have a modern, machine-produced cut.
Look for other qualities of old-world craftsmanship and style. You must study to become knowledgeable of these signs, but they could be the only thing that can truly identify an antique ring. According to Lapidus, features such as colorful enameling, ornate qualities on seldom seen parts of a ring and animal themes are all good signs of antique jewelry.
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