Friday, 11 November 2016

Running A Successful vintage Jewellery Business

Running a successful vintage jewellery business on the internet.


This is a blog warts and all about selling vintage costume jewellery on the internet. The pros and cons of buying and selling second hand and where is the best places and best practice. How successful you will be will mean putting in plenty of time and a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm. Getting frustrated sometimes, and really annoyed when people lie (not delivered, broken in post, parcel opened and only have the one not two items) - I have had all the excuses for theft over the years. But this is what you have to come to expect, if you are selling anything that has to be delivered. So you become a little more cautious. Send items tracked to all countries outside the UK. track items to universities, company and college addresses - including to doctors at Oxford University. Even the elite can be thieves! But also enjoying the nice emails received when people are pleased with their purchases, the knowledge that that it is our website and it looks good enough for people to assume that we are a large company. Then the small profit we get at the end of the day for a few extras in life.

Over the years, I have seen other vintage jewellery websites come and go. But after several recessions, we are still up and running, evolving and continuing.

The start and why I choose to run my own website - Jewels & Finery.

I have been selling vintage jewellery on the internet since 2008. It is just part time and more a hobby, than making tons of money. But it is something that I enjoy and have been successful at. Before that I sold books on a well known website that sells both old and new stuff and hated it. Why? There were far too many people trying to scam you.  I also did not like the extra high charges that occurred. Charges for listing each item (even if it did not sell) as well as charges to Paypal on selling something. When you work out the total costs. Many smaller priced items, were only giving me pence in profit and not actually worth the effort involved.   

"Scam email from on Ebayer - My parcel was surcharged £5 by the Post Office, because it had no stamp. Mmmm No, my husband actually gave the parcel to your wife in her hands. As you live about 15 minutes from us in a big expensive house. 8 hours after you ordered it! And no money was charged extra for delivery!"

I also sold on Amazon with a business account. This was successful at first - but over time I sold less and less. Then noticed that I seemed to be only selling books on certain days! When I checked the listings on Amazon. Mine did not appear in the ones for sales? So I closed the account. Very angry that they were streaming my sale items to certain days and times. Not a shock really. To show all their so called items for sale - including the ones that are no longer available!!!! They must have a really infinitive and huge server space - which would be forever increasing and of course be too costly to run all the time!!

Avon Christmas jewellery bell brooch & earrings

Setting up your own jewellery website.

Eventually, I decided to set up my own jewellery website. Book sales were declining due to the big book sellers around, kindle and other book downloading devices, the lack of space taken up with books was getting me down, the rising postal charges and the fact that I was reliant on 2 big faceless American businesses. So I turned to selling something smaller and easy to store. Knowing very little about jewellery, I first tested the water by selling vintage jewellery on one of those American websites and was quite successful. So I signed up to an English website provider (EKM) and have been with them ever since.

By trial and error I worked out how to make a website look good. Even managed to learn some coding. However as time has gone on - the company have provided more and more easy features to use. So that I don't need to change the html very much now.

For setting up a jewellery website you must first:
  • Get a good name for your business. One that no one else has
  • Choose a domain name - one that has both the.co.uk and com available. 
  • Do the legal stuff - like sort tax and insurance, etc.
  • Learn about SEO (search engine optimization) 
  • Take photographs and learn to edit - including the sizes needed for showing photographs on the internet that load quickly.
  • Work out what categories you want.
  • Sort out how you intend to market your website and its overall niche look.
  • Work out what you want to sell and to who.
  • Set up your website - this takes a lot of time and energy to list enough items.
  • Sort out a business bank account.
  • Get a payment gateway set up to take credit and debit cards.
  • Get a proper email address - not a gmail one! It doesn't cost a lot a couple of pounds a month.
  • Work out do you want to use a phone. I pulled the plug out on ours over a year ago. It was taking too much of my time to answer the huge number of calls unsolicited to companies/people who just wanted to sell you something. 
  • Work out how you intend to pack your jewellery.
  • Buy in packaging materials.
  • Get business cards and other materials you want to include in the packaging.
  • Work out how much postage is going to cost to the UK, Europe and worldwide.
  • Work out when and how you are going to fit in the time to take the items to the post office. (Unless you sell a huge amount, then you can have a pick service up by Royal Mail).  
 This is just a short list and I have probably forgotten loads more things you need to do. I have not included the actual buying of vintage jewellery and learning about it in the above list, that comes next...


Buying vintage jewellery.

I started out buying small amounts at jumble sales, table tops, church sales, off the internet (though this was more expensive) charity shops and other places. I get offered jewellery via email, but rarely buy as it is not worth my time now. There is also auctions, but this is not worth my time for costume. It works out too expensive with all the additional auction costs.
Over the years, I have been offered "auction lots" by people who thought it a good idea to buy and sell the jewellery. However when they realize the time and cost to resell just one piece. They look to off loading it on me, which is sometimes fine! What I do not like is the lies that some tell me about where it is from! - "Its from a friend at work's loft" - "Its been handed down to me by a relative" - I am not an idiot and can tell lol. But that is what you sometimes have to deal with! Auction is good only for the more expensive jewellery like gold and antique silver now.

I don't buy gold or silver jewellery, so are less likely to get items offered to me that are stolen. But as a dealer in second hand goods this is something that you have to aware of as well.

Once you have brought jewellery:
  • Document where and cost of each purchase.
  • Sort out each piece, identify the materials used and clean well.
  • Discard broken and damaged items (I now have a huge amount of broken jewellery and beads)
  • Number each for identification.
  • Decide how you want to photograph pieces and get jewellery stands and models to use.
  • Buy camera and photograph lighting. 
  • Learn about taking photographs and lots of experimenting here.
  • Photograph and edit photographs (not easy with some jewellery that reflects the surround)
  • Identify what you are listing and a price.Will come to jewellery knowledge in the next part of this blog.
  • List each item.
  • Add photographs, make sure SEO is right. 
  • Wait for a sale - which can sometimes be a long time and maybe never!
  • We had 6 months of a few sales before our website started to sell properly and regularly at the beginning of our business.  

Identifying the vintage jewellery you have brought to sell. 

This is not easy at all. When I first started I had very little knowledge. I have now a huge library of books. However many are about vintage designer jewellery in America, little has been written about the great costume jewellery companies here in the UK. Many books are good and some are just plain awful with errors in the text. I joined an American vintage jewellery forum. There were some nice people on there initially, but quite a few nasty trolls.I eventually got banned, as I said that there was too much back stabbing and it was getting out of control. However I did learn a lot at the start - but it had to be taken into context; and then translated into the second hand jewellery that is available here in the UK though.
Jewellery that can be identified by a name on the back is easier to identify sometimes. However many pieces are unsigned and knowledge can only come after years of handling costume jewellery and research.
Be aware that you must take an overall price on the internet for valuation with caution, and also you must be aware that that may be the price that it is on offer for. But has it ever sold at that price? Is it over priced/under priced? Is it a fake? (yes there are some around and increasing)

Then there is all the extra bits you have to do:
  • Blog 
  • Social media
  • Watch how your website is performing on Google.
  • Advertise on the web and off.
  • Keep listing new items.
  • Keep buying new items.
  • Tax returns.
  • Continually updating your website and checking for errors.

 So is it worth selling vintage costume jewellery on the internet - for me it is yes. I can choose my times to work and I do not have to get dressed, travel and have all that work place stuff that interferes with your time/life. But it is a full time job for a part time wage. Because you are selling one piece at a time and its very time consuming to do. To make any real money, you need to sell more items in a wider range including vintage clothes, etc (spending 24/7 on your business to do this or have more staff!) or antique & vintage gold/silver jewellery or new items that can be sourced in bulk.

This summer, I took some time off to sort out my house and garden. It has shown in our sales, so having a jewellery store on the web means that you have to work at it all the time. We have continued to tick over though, because we are established and had over 1800 pieces available. We now will be adding more fabulous jewellery in the coming weeks and months. So have a look at what we have available.

Bye for now Sue. 

Scottish antique clan brooch in silver
  
   

Monday, 11 January 2016

How do I value my old costume jewellery?

Can you value my old costume jewellery? This is the most asked for question that comes through to Jewels & Finery. How do you value your costume jewelry? Because this is something that we are unable to do for you. Here is how it is quite easy to do yourself. It just takes time and the ability to use the search function on any of the search engines. Though I would recommend that you use the Google search first.

black diamante vintage costume necklace 1960s
Black diamante vintage necklace 1960s of age.
Okay - to start make sure that you have costume jewellery - also known as fashion jewellery or not made of precious metal (silver, gold or platinium) Get a magnifyer or lens to look at the back, the clasp and sides of your piece. Look for a mark - take your time with this and look very closely at all parts of your brooch, necklace, bracelet, etc. If you do not know what the mark is that you find - then use the search engines to see if you can trace it.  Remember that if you have a very old piece of antique jewellery that it may not be marked gold/silver.

If your costume jewellery is damaged ie - stones missing, clasp broken, links broken, etc. This will devalue your piece considerably. It may only be of use to use as repair or spares. Then sell it with any other broken jewellery on Ebay or give to a crafter friend. 

So now you have confirmed that you have costume jewellery or otherwise. You may have found a makers mark. So again do your research and look up about the maker, then look at a range of similar jewellery to find an average value.  You may be able to find the actual piece you have, which will make it much easier to value.

amber glass vintage costume bracelet by Sphinx
Amber glass vintage costume bracelet by Sphinx
Remember the price is the amount that is the resale value. The price that it will sell for - if there is someone willing to pay this amount. It may sell straight away or however can take some considerable time to sell if it will sell at all.

If your wanted to sell to a jewellery dealer - then you will not get anywhere near this resale amount. Dealers will deduct 2/3rds or more of the price they want to buy it at. This will give them enough profit to make it worth their while. Because they have to build in costs of their shop's property/rates/ website costs/promotions and not forgetting staff wages. If you are selling online then they will need to consider the postage costs and also the packaging. Selling a single item is more costly that many pieces because of the time facture of getting this piece ready for sale - cleaning and then listing. so do not be suprised if the dealer's offer is very low.

No markings on your costume jewellery - then look at the age of your piece. Make an estimate at what you know of its age. Then do a search of jewellery from that decade. Does your piece fit in with the style of that decade? If not try a decade before or after - continue until you find an estimate on how old your costume jewellery is. From this it will be easier to make a search of the similar pieces of that era for an estimate of value.

As with all antiques and collectibles they can go up and down in value depending on the fashion. It may be advisable that you just keep your jewellery safe for a few more years - until it either comes back in fashion or the price increases.

yellow and white bone china flower brooch
Yellow and white bone china brooch
 I am sorry but Jewels & finery do not give valuations. Nor do we buy jewellery via the internet or otherwise. we have our own sources of buying our jewellery and accessories for resale.

If you do a search and find that you have a considerable amount of valuable jewellery. Then I would suggest that you seek advice through a quality auction house local to you or one in London.              
 

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Friday sale on our Jewels jewellery

Yes in line with every other website - we have a Black Friday sale on. From now until Sunday at midnight. Use our Jewels jewellery code of M102 at the checkout and get a discount of 10%.
We love jewellery including vintage and handmade. View our collectible ornaments and pomanders. Get a little chic retro kitchen ware and much more. Fabulous jewellery and accessories vintage, antique handmade and recycled

Black Friday sale at Jewels & Finery

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Is my marcasite jewellery real?

Is my marcasite jewellery real? This was a question asked by someone who had just purchased marcasite jewellery from elsewhere. Now this is a complicated question as the term marcasite has been adapted over the years to include many different materials.

Victorian marcasite and before.

Originally marcasite jewellery was invented to be a cheaper option than diamonds and to glitter when worn under candle light. Most antique marcasite was therefore the mineral pyrite embeded into silver. Marcasite has been around for centuries including the Roman period and became even popular in the Victorian period. It can be seen in Art Nouveau pieces as well. Marcasite itself is a gemstone mineral that is too brittle to be used in jewellery, so was never used!

Into the twentieth century.

Now as the years past, marcasite jewellery remained silver until the fifties and early sixties when silver started to become more expensive. Originally the marcasite were fused by heat into the silver settings. But as the years pasted and glue became a better option and much cheaper to use in manufacturer. So the pyrite was glued into place. However when silver prices increased, silver colored metal was used instead of real silver. Now you need to look very closely at marcasite brooches, earrings and necklaces from the mid twentieth century to determine whether they are of silver or silver metal. Because many are unsigned, you can test the metal - but this does leave a mark. If the marcasite stones are all intact then this is a quality piece that has stood the test of time.

Today.

Macasite jewellery is till produced today and can be of silver - it will be marked as such either 925 or sterling. Or it can be purely costume and made from a polished silver or gold colored metal. It should say what it is in the description, when buying.

Look-a-like marcasite.

Through out the years there has been many look-a-like marcasite pieces. These are when they pattern has been produced to have the maracasite stone look included. They are of one metal and you need to look closely to see. there is also the famous Charles Horner polished jewellery that have indentations that shine and are of an aluminium material.

Charles Horner peacock brooch
Charles Horner faux marcaste look a like peacock


I like marcasite jewellery, but really I wear what I like whether its expensive or not.

cat brooch - false marcasite
Studded cat brooch - the raised metal has that "marcasite look. But it is not marcasite jewellery 

Tulip marcasite jewellery
Mid twentieth century tulip in marcasite
 
marcasite eagle brooch
Eagle brooch in marcasite

marcasite deer jewellery
Deer in marcasite - popular 50s theme

marcasite costume owl brooch

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Life is too short to wear boring earrings

Life is just too short to wear boring earrings. This is our jewellery quote for today and forever! Show casing a pair of vintage snake earrings that are a clipped style available to purchase now. But be quick as once this one of a kind pair are gone - they are gone for good.

life too short to wear boring earrings

So have a great day and don't forget - don't be boring!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Nickel free earrings and allergy reactions explained

Many people nowadays have a reaction to nickel and wish to buy nickel free earrings. Allergy and allergic reactions seem to have increased. An allergic reaction happens when a certain chemical comes into contact with your skin or is ingested and causes an inflammatory negative process it may happen on your skin, internally or systematic. Unfortunately because most of our components for earrings comes from China and Asian countries - we no longer have any control over what metals or chemicals are being used.

Some gold, silver (silver plate or sterling silver, 925 silver) and platinum can also contain nickel.
Vintage and pre owned from the 1990s may also contain nickel.

Nickel, nickel, nickel seems to be in many things.

Unfortunately even if the jewellery makers strive to have nickel free stuff - the Chinese or Asian supplier will use what ever is the cheapest and swear its nickel free. What are the jewellery makers going to do? If enough people complain they will stop buying from that supplier. But the Chinese/Asians will find some one else unbeknown to sell to as nickel free. Maybe if we brought the manufacturing industry back to the UK with our stricter controls that would be more useful?

Hypo-allergenic earrings. Well that's okay but they still may contain nickel and what are the allergens these earrings aimed at? Some people are allergic to enamel, silver, gold, even the nail varnish some use to coat the earring backs to make them less irritating.

Myself  I am allergic to many things. I have a gold ring that I can only wear for a short while as it makes my finger red and itchy. I am also allergic to cucumber which I can eat. But put on my face and red wheels appear. Not that cucumber has anything to do with nickel free earrings. That is life my friends....

Here are some photographs of our earring unfortunately not guaranteed nickel free, because of their age.

Red plastic square clipped earrings
Blue plastic earrings with post backs
Monet made earrings that are probably nickel free

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Bank Holiday Blues

Lets get down to some Bank Holiday Blues.. Well it is the Bank Holiday weekend for early May and its of course raining here in Solihull! Now do we expect anything else - no. It is not much to ask for a little sunshine and dry weather. To cheer you up our jewellery quote has a very vintage almost antiqued dark blue rhinestone brooch to covert. So what ever the weather, just enjoy this once in a lifetime weekend.

blue rhinestone brooch on our jewellery quote

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Part owner of Jewels and Finery UK website. We sell vintage jewellery right up to new designer jewellery and accessories. Love being different and unique as well as unusual. Learn about the history of jewellery as well as looking at beautiful jewels