First you need to look out for marks of wear. There are tarnish marks usually on the back and some paint has come off. If you are buying necklaces, the beads will have some discoloring. Sometimes the color of the beads will also be on the string. Old metal will also have a greenish tarnish that is not easy to remove. You could also use a magnifying glass to look for marks; it will give a more detailed observation. Also elastic that is yellowed is identification that the piece is many years old.
Image courtesy: en.allexperts.com
There are some materials specifically used in vintage jewelry. Bakelite and Lucite are one of the highlights. If you are a beginner at identifying, you need to learn the difference between them. While Lucite has no smell, Bakelite will have a slight odor. You could rub the piece a little, and then smell your finger to identify. People may think you are crazy doing this, but it’s worth it. The fake jewelry is hollower and more brittle. Vintage jewelry will make a noise when struck against each other. Vintage jewelry had the use of stones a lot, check to see if the gems are glued.
Image courtesy: bakelite4you.com
Nowadays jewelry has different patterns; they were not used in vintage pieces. For example skulls or characters that weren’t in the past. In those days the jewelry had barrel clasps which are presently replaced by lobster style. You should observe older patterns and styles in order to identify what designs were used in those days. Also if the jewelry is very old, it will cost more. The price is directly proportional to how old it is. There is no need to buy items just because they are antique; look for those that match your taste and preferences.
Image courtesy: rubylane.com