Three Ways to Avoid Getting Burned Buying Antique Jewelry in the Santa Barbara Area
The rewards of finding and buying antique jewelry in Santa Barbara are pretty obvious: you can find some real treasures at very low prices. The risks are often less well understood. Although this topic deserves a few hundred pages in a book, here are a few essential tips that will help make your antique buying more fun and more profitable.
Watch out for “designer” jewelry at local thrift stores and markets
There is an enormous black market in fake designer clothes and jewelry. Of course, you may want the designer name on the jewelry and may not actually care whether it is authentic. But if you are buying for value, including resale value, or if you plan to keep it and only want the genuine article, caveat emptor–buyer beware! If there’s a particular piece of antique jewelry in Santa Barbara you know you want to buy, try pricing the item online. Two great sources for price comparison indexing are “The Vintage Frames Company” and “Dope Couture”. Check prices there before you shop. Having a good sense of the pricing will help you avoid the twin dangers of paying too much on the high end and buying a fake piece on the low end.
Shop at a consignment mall
If you buy vintage jewelry locally, you’ll have a much better chance of finding an authentic piece. Of course, reducing the risk of buying a fake piece also means your chance of finding a real piece that the proprietor priced way too low is also reduced. Here again, it pays to do your homework. There are a few reputable stores that sell antique jewelry in Santa Barbara and Goleta that have great experience in appraising. Antique Center Mall is probably the oldest, but we are not the only ones in town.
Care for your antique jewelry
Probably the first rule of care is to wear your jewelry for show. Try not to wear it in situations where you risk breaking it. Repair is very difficult and in some cases may be impossible. Polish with a special jewelry polishing cloth. If you’re going to use a special cleaner, make sure it’s the right one for the piece you’ve purchased.
By the way, the Antique Center Mall has some great antique jewelry pieces for sale now. Happy buying!