I am often asked if there are any fashion jewelry pieces that have value. Value is such a subjective thing – a $100 Joan Rivers or Kirks Folly piece is valuable to a collector, but not worth very much to someone who can afford to collect 14K gold and fancy vivid sapphire jewelry. There is one adage that holds true, though. Scarcity usually equates to value. The lack of volume usually is inversely related to value, given functionality. In other words, if an item is functional and desirable and not overly produced, value usually goes up. Scarcity of a rare butter churn does not make it valuable because it is no longer used and is not used for its original purpose. It may still be used for demonstration purposes or as an accessory but there is no real value associated with those uses.
The best fashion jewelry was made by quality jewelers or manufacturers (some made real gemstone jewelry as well) and for short periods. Some manufacturers did not survive the great depression, for example. Others were purchased by competitors. Some founders passed away and there was no one with vision to carry on the company. There are many reasons why companies stopped producing pieces.
It is hard to list such companies in a short blog entry but research will yield some incredible results. Many Appraisers have favorite companies, designers and manufacturers, but the “heyday” of fashion jewelry is often referenced in parallel with the golden era of Hollywood – the 1930s - 1940s. There were incredible quality pieces made during this time to mimic and outright copy pieces worn in movies and by celebrities. Commemorative pieces from Jackie Kennedy, Princess Monaco and others capitalized on the tail end of that period and are celebrating a resurgence today with historically accurate reproductions. Even high-end designers like Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Harry Winston are buying back important pieces owned by celebrities and issuing reproductions.
So, before you overlook that box of fashion jewelry at the garage sale, church bazaar or flea market realize that there may be overlooked important pieces contained within. Auctionspear.com often has fashion jewelry pieces available. Be sure to check back often so you do not miss any opportunities!