- The front view - what style is this piece and can I have an educated guess at its age?
- Construction - the material used, the type of clasps and fastenings with an overall general construction study can give further clues.
- The back view - always look at the back of a piece of jewellery.
- Does it have a signature or country of origin - this can narrow down the age of a piece.
- History - take this into account. But not as Gospel - aunty Flo's inherited jewellery may have her life's collection from the 1950s to 1990s but may also have some inherited or acquired pieces that are of an earlier age.
Take the piece of costume jewellery that you want to identify and look at it in a good light. Does it look a certain age? There is a look to many jewellery that will give you a clue to how old it is. However if you are a novice you will need to study extensively. I would say acquire good book on costume jewellery that have chapters starting at Victorian and going up in decades to the 1990s. Read more than one. I must have at least 10 or more in my collection. I have done some book reviews on this blog that may help. My article on Ezinearticles will also give you a guide for good costume jewellery books for reference Ezinearticle on 12 excellent reference books
Now you have an educated guess but don't take that as fact. You still need to look at the back, at its construction and does it have any signatures to actually assess its date more acurately.
Spend time looking at jewellery and guessing the age. I would say do not use Ebay for dating information. Most are very inaccurate and are being sold by people who do not have a clue or are just trying to get more money by listing something as being older than it actually is. The same with buying in person. I have lost count of the number of dealers that have tried to sell me jewellery that was "Victorian" but I could see that it was not. And yes I have brought something early on in my career that I was told was Victorian but ended up being something far more interesting.
Oh and don't forget the golden rule that something that has diamante or rhinestone that are of aurora borealis (Stones that have that color changing oil on water effect) - Will always date after the mid 1950s as they were invented then. Part 2 coming soon..
I also appologies for any mis-spelling this blogs spell check has gien up the ghost!