The popularity of vintage jewelry has created an excellent opportunity for creative-types interested in owning a small business. Learning how to make money selling vintage jewelry requires some research and patience while assembling a quality inventory and scoping out the most cost-effective sales outlets. While selling online reaches an international market with a greater potential for sales, selling locally may yield higher prices due to less competition but with fewer potential sales.
For non-collectors of vintage jewelry, it’s important to become knowledgeable about the field in general but specifically, it’s important to learn about types of metal used in vintage jewelry, popular designers and collectible pieces. A jeweler’s loop can be used to identify makers and designers marks and metal content.
Aside from gold, sterling silver and vermeil–a combination of silver with gold overlay–rhodium is highly sought after. Rhodium, similar in appearance and value to platinum, was used by quality vintage jewelry designers after World War II.
Search for vintage jewelry at garage sales, estate sales and church bazaars. Flea markets are also an excellent source for collectible vintage jewelry. Online auctions often sell vintage jewelry in lots. Purchasing jewelry in lots may yield some treasures the seller has overlooked. In addition to looking for designers signatures on jewelry, look for unmarked pieces that show excellent craftsmanship or unusual designs.
Research prices online and at local vintage shops. Keep prices competitive but leave some room for negotiating with customers. Items featured in an online store or marketplace usually have set prices.