Buying vintage clothing is a lot easier than buying vintage jewelry. Go to your local thrift store and you’ll find everything from high waist midi skirts from the 60s to the neon bomber jackets from the 80s.

You can judge vintage clothing entirely on its design but when it comes to vintage jewelry, you need to consider variables such as the metal that it is made out of, the type of gemstones on it, their carat weight, etc. Because authentic vintage jewelry is generally more expensive than vintage clothing, you’ll need to spend some time figuring out if the purchase is worth it.

So how do you buy vintage jewelry? British Vogue sat with global designers to find out how they felt vintage jewelry should be bought. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Look for authenticity, durability & any signs of damage

First and foremost, you have to make sure that the piece you’re looking at is authentic. There’re a lot of people out there selling counterfeit products and deceiving customers. It helps to have the piece appraised by a jeweler you trust. If you’re purchasing jewelry from a reliable jeweler, ask them to provide a GIA certificate to verify the authenticity of diamonds.

Once you’ve established the authenticity of the jewelry, you can now check its durability and whether it has any signs of damage. Are its gems secured in their clasps? Is anything loose or falling apart? Is it tarnished from anywhere?

2. Materials and jewelry items that should be avoided

Enamel and pearl pieces look beautiful when they are new but unless they’re well looked after, they’ll wear out. Enamel jewelry embodies eras from the past. Their bright colors and images make them excellent statement pieces that are add a refreshing twist to modern outfits. With that being said, enamel jewelry can become brittle with time and more prone to chipping.

Like enamel jewelry, pearls also lose their luster with time as their chemical structure is compromised so if you’re looking for a pearl necklace or earrings, it’s best to invest in a new piece rather than go for a vintage item.

There’s no need to avoid certain jewelry items. People are apprehensive about vintage earrings because they are inserted into ear holes but as long as you sterilize them, you should be fine.

3. Maintaining vintage jewelry

Vintage jewelry that isn’t well-maintained may need to be cleaned or polished at home to restore its shine.

Most vintage jewelry can be cleaned using warm water, a soft-bristled brush and washing liquid. Revive the sparkle of the jewelry by gently brushing the gems and the metals and leave them on a towel to dry.

Solitaire Jewelers has a vast collection of vintage jewelry that consists of pieces from Ming’s, Chopard and other renowned brands. Aside from vintage jewelry, we’re known for our exquisite selection of diamond engagement rings and wedding bands.

Check out our collection online or visit our showroom in Honolulu, Hawaii.