For New Collectors:
1. The vast majority of
vintage, and especially antique (pre-1930) costume jewelry is unsigned. If you
collect only signed jewelry, you will
miss way too many highly collectible items. Many unsigned pieces are just as
beautiful, well-made and durable as signed jewelry, and they are far less
expensive. It's good to learn inexpensively when you start collecting.
2. Many wonderful designer jewelry firms failed to sign their jewelry during
different periods or different circumstances. For instance, much early Miriam
is unsigned. In fact, many designers never signed their
Between 1950 and 1975, Eisenberg left some of their jewelry unsigned. You can ID some of the jewels they made through this
period through vintage
sure to go to antique fairs to look at and hold real Eisenberg jewelry.
Then you will understand how it is made and what the backs look like (many
online dealers show images of backs) so you don't end up with a cheap knockoff,
or worse yet, fake Eisenberg.
Weiss left many of their jewels unsigned. These were wholesaled to
department stores like Sears and J.C. Penny's, who would put the jewelry in
their own gift boxes. One of the most fun jewelry collecting categories would be
unsigned Weiss. Buy jewelry books and look at photos of signed Weiss jewels.
Then try to find them in the field unsigned. Most dealers don't mark up Weiss
jewelry if it is unsigned, and you can find it all over flea markets, thrift
stores & auctions. With so much fake Weiss
on the market, its more fun
to find an unsigned Weiss than to turn over the back of the jewelry you ordered
online and find it's fake!
Coro often left jewelry unsigned, particularly
jewels that came in sets; sometimes only one piece in the set was signed. Also,
on early pieces by Coro, marks were often very faint, and sometimes these marks
corporation did not sign many of their pieces. You can learn to recognize some
of them on the Kathie Davis Selro pages.
manufacturers or design houses, like Coro, signed only one piece from a set of
costume jewelry. House of Rousseau, Bugby & Niles, Weiss have such pieces.
Finding one signed piece will help you find the unsigned pieces of the sets as
they enter the vintage jewelry market.
The key to investing in or
collecting vintage jewelry is not always signature, but quality, condition, and
how the design reflects the history of it's era. Here are some of the books in
Enchantment's Vintage Library that can help you appreciate Antique & Vintage
Jewelry that is not necessarily signed: