Dating antique silver jewelry

There are some very nice antique ‘Bohemian Garnet’ pieces set in brass.Pieces, such as these, are also made in low karat gold alloys and with quality karat gold settings, so all merit a careful examination.The alloy is normally a mix of metals, with nickel providing the white color.Some nickel free alloys exist that incorporate metals from the platinum family to obtain a white color.The majority of pieces made before the mid-19th century will be European, which includes Great Britain and Russia.The practice of hallmarking jewelry and objects made of precious metal started in the 1400’s and continues to the present. Not everyone hallmarked their work, and the passage of time and repair work has marred or eliminated many marks.

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When examining an older pieces make an extra effort to find any defects, especially look for prong damage and tiny “stress” cracks.For decades manufactures have used this process on the prongs of a piece.When white jewelry, including platinum, made a strong comeback in the 1990’s, some manufacturers simply started plating yellow gold rings with rhodium.This finish will not hold up to daily wear in an item such as a ring, and will not survive some types of repair work.For as long as gold and silver have been used in the production of jewelry, someone has been trying to duplicate the look with something less expensive.

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