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Expanding your ring collection when you’re new to vintage jewelry

If you’re new to vintage jewelry, it can be a little daunting to navigate the online community and all the sellers who specialize in older pieces.  You’re so excited to dive in and buy but you have no idea where to start or who to trust.  You want to work on building your collection, but how do you do that safely?  

Firstly, set a limit for your first pieces.  Don’t dive in at the deep end with a $5k diamond ring if you don’t have the knowledge to assess that piece or the trust built with that particular seller.  Set yourself a limit of say $300 for your first pieces and start looking at what’s available in that price range.  Pay attention to weight and condition of any stones.  Think about gems and colors that you love or that might be missing from your collection and look to fill those gaps.  Jewelry doesn’t always have to be serious - have some fun with your choices.  If your eye loves it and you light up when you wear it, that’s where the magic happens!

Secondly, take some time to educate yourself.  Chat with sellers; ask questions - this will help you figure out who is knowledgeable and trustworthy.  Price compare as much as you can - Etsy and RubyLane will often give you ample pieces to compare pricing across stores.  Remember that weight is important, condition also, but rarity, age, desirability are all going to factor in.  And you also can’t expect different stones to price the same - just because blue topaz and aquamarine are both blue, doesn’t mean they price the same.  Plus, sellers who are formally educated or have many years in the industry will command higher prices generally as you are paying for that expertise and knowledge - worth it, believe me.  All of this needs to be factored in as you price shop.

Thirdly, learn about red flags - for example, you should not be forced to pay for any item in a way that removes your protections.  This includes PayPal friends and family.  Some sellers pitch this as necessary so they can avoid processing fees but did you know it removes PayPal protection for you if something goes wrong?  Payment processing fees are a cost of doing business and something that sellers typically absorb.  Also, F&F can now be considered a possible tax evasion method with the new tax legislation in 2022.  Anytime, you are buying with zero protection, that’s time to pause for thought.  Chances are that the transaction will be fine but if it isn’t, you will be entirely at the mercy of that seller.  Also, check for a return policy before making any purchase - it’s tough to buy jewelry online so make sure you understand whether you can return an item or not.  More than anything, trust your gut.  If you feel something is off, it quite possibly is.

Finally, be patient.  Finding the right pieces takes time no matter what price range you are shopping in.  Educating yourself and getting your finger on the pricing pulse is not going to happen overnight either.  So in the meantime, set yourself a budget and find a fun piece or two that wont break the bank but will bring you joy every time you slide that beauty onto your finger!