Buy estate jewelry:Estate gems are simply a pre-owned piece, whether the previous owner lives or not. Most estate jewellery comes from the collection of someone who has died, as evidenced by the large sales of pieces from the collections of Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor over the last 30 years. However, estate jewellery includes, to name a few examples, the fabulous collections of Lily Safra, Ellen Barkin, and Princess Salimah Aga Khan, all of which were sold during their lifetimes. The terminology is a little perplexing in that antique jewelry refers to a piece’s age: It must be at least 100 years old — so anything from before 1916 would be considered ancient.
This is the most important question because it is difficult for buyers to determine authenticity unless they have a degree in gemology, work in the field, or collect very seriously and see a lot of pieces to develop their eye.
It’s simple for us because we know what to look for: the subtle quality of the workmanship, the look, and feel of a piece, the quality of the material, whether precious stones/metals—gold, platinum, onyx, jade, lapis, etc.—have a correct signature, because many signed pieces are not authentic.