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antique or replica??


nicca
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How do you tell the difference between an antique setting versus a replicated antique setting? According to the style of ring I believe I have a piece from the art deco period. Also, is there a way to tell how old a diamond is by it's cut? I have a transitional round brilliant cut stone.. what is transitional referring to?

 

any advice is greatly appreciated!

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Nicca,

 

The short answer is no, there is not a conclusive test. There are no scientific means of dating either metal or stone. It’s a matter of collecting a preponderance of evidence. Modern reproductions will often use different techniques and materials than the craftsmen from different periods but there are some stunningly good pieces being made using vintage styles and techniques. There is also a fair amount of jewelry made by using some antique components.

 

The best way to demonstrate age is through the provenance of the piece. If you’ve got a receipt from 1921 when it was originally purchased, or a dateable photograph of someone wearing it you’ve got some decent clues to work from. Other clues come from the patina, wear patterns, markings etc. In the end, most appraisers will describe a piece as 'art deco style' for exactly this reason.

 

With that piece, I would pay very careful attention to the sapphires. Evidence of berillium treatment would be evidence of new manufacture. Poorly grown synthetics would be evidence that it's an antique (synthetics were very popular with the originals but modern reproductions usually use natural stones. It's a relatively recent change that synthetic origin has been seen as a problem).

 

Transitional cutting refers to facet designs that are between Old European and Round Brilliant. It was common in the 1920’s all the way to the 1950’s. As with the above, a modern cutter could make a transitional cut if they wanted but they generally find it pays better to cut other designs so they don't often do it.

 

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ISA NAJA

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Wow, thank you so much for your reply...

 

I have no concrete evidence to it's past as it is not a family heirloom. My fiance purchased it from an antique jewelry dealer in town. There does seem to be a bit of wear on the ring but the sapphires are natural stones according to the appraisal. The setting is described as handmade, bezel set with bead work on sides.. I am wondering if this is a refurbished antique? Either way I am in love with it. :rolleyes: Thank you, thank you for your help!

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Does your appraisal say anything else that might lend you a clue? Call up the appraiser and ask them. Were you the client? 'Handmade' is an interesting word that can mean quite a few different things and the specific techniques used can be important information. Presuambly the appraiser made some determination about how it was made in order to make this determination. If you were the client, they probably will be willing to discuss the matter with you. If the appraisal was done on behalf of someone else, especially if it was the store that sold it, I would be very careful about relying on what it says. I'm guessing that you are just looking for the info for personal education but if it's an important topic to you I would get an independent opinion.

 

Neil Beaty

GG(GIA) ISA NAJA

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Thank you again for your response.

 

I am interested in the history of this ring. i love the art deco period and it is important to me to have a piece of history. i will take your advice and contact the person who did the appraisal. The store had it appraised by someone who does biz with them and they did lead us to believe that it is an authentic piece of the era. However, they were hesitant in giving me details. I will also get a second opinon from another jeweler. What could hand made mean? Are there many still hand made today?

 

The ring is platinum, acid indicated at the end of the appraisal it says, "this hand made ring weighs 4.70 grams." that is it reguarding how it was made.

 

Thank you

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Handmade means different things to different people. That's why I bring it up. It is possible to fabricate a piece like this entirely from a block of metal and a handful of stones but it's quite a bit of work. Yes, it's still done today and there are plenty of people who have the skills to do it if they wanted to take the time. More often with modern pieces, it means that a craftsman assembled it by hand from components. Very highly skilled jewelers usually have better ways to spend their time than knocking off antiques so the reproductions normally use less time consuming methods than what was chosen by the old masters.

 

There are different tools used as well. Modern jewelers use Argon atmospheres in their platinum castings because it produces better results. They will use laser welders in their assembly. They will use carbide cutting tools. These could all be described as improvements but they can leave distinctive traces. The old guys liked to use cadmium in their solders and cyanide bombing as a finishing technique (poisonous to the jeweler, harmless to the consumer). For obvious reasons, modern jewelers choose to avoid these techniques. All of these sorts of things can leave a clue behind that it's of modern or antique origin and all fall within the category of handmade.

 

Neil

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