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Does Signed Jewelry Matter?

My experience at the Palm Beach Jewelry Show

18kt Gold, Jadeite, and Enamel Tiffany Necklace

This 18kt Gold, Jadeite, and Enamel necklace, signed by Tiffany, brought $29,625 in the March 2011 Fine Jewelry auction at Skinner

I recently returned from the Palm Beach Jewelry Show, where I gave a talk titled, “Does Signed Jewelry Matter?” The show happens once a year, and this year was unbelievable—it was packed every day and we saw some fabulous jewelry.

Here’s my advice that I gave in the talk: when purchasing signed jewelry, buy the style that is important within the signature. In other words, buying a simple gold necklace signed by Cartier that’s sold in every Cartier jewelry store in the world has a smaller premium added.  If you’re going to buy signed Cartier or signed Tiffany, you should buy unusual things. I’m talking about fine jewelry pieces that were done on a smaller run and that are not mass-produced. I think the unfortunate trend is that some collectors forget to really look at the piece and just buy a signature.

Also, it’s important to make sure that the signature is correct. I was one of the judges at the Palm Beach Jewelry show, and we looked at almost everything to see if it was correct. Vetting can be a challenge, but it’s always fascinating because I get to look at everything up close and ask questions.

Determining if a signature is correct involves more than just looking at the mark. I ask myself, is it up to this designer’s standards? Is it a flimsy or high quality piece? Are the gems set well? You also have to be very familiar with what the designer is making. If it’s a gold necklace signed by Tiffany, is the heft of the gold right? What about the clasp – is it right for Tiffany jewelry? When it comes to the mark, you have to know what to look for. If it’s a French piece of jewelry by Cartier, it will have French guarantee marks, and it should have numbers.

My favorite piece at the Palm Beach Jewelry Show was an unusual antique broach by Cartier that had a 7 carat, heart-shaped diamond – and they had the original drawing with it, which means it was probably made for this stone on commission. That’s a rarity to see, and it was just glorious!


9 thoughts on “Does Signed Jewelry Matter?

  1. Hello I have received a Tiffany elsa peretti ivory bean necklace from the 1970’s. I can not find anyting about it please could you help. I do understand my mother said that it was rare. It is a hugh ivory over two inches or 3. I took it to my jewelers and the ivory and silver are real. please tell me the worth I might have a buyer thank you for your time.

  2. I have a set of vintage Cartier earrings that my were my mother in laws.
    Both are engraved Cartier one stamped and one script. Both have identical numbers.
    Is there a way I can research their history by that number?
    They came in a silver colored box with Cartier New York . They are probably
    over 70 years or older.

  3. i have a pair of cufflinks made but cartier with boars head marks and a elongated diamond withe the letters R A with a crown between them any ideas on who and when they were made Greg

  4. Does vintage. Probably 1940 tiffany co silver jewelry. Ever say just Tiffany 925 Mexico or must it lays say Tiffany co. Thanks

  5. I have a vintage ring with a makers mark on the inside www or mmm….have you any idea who the maker is/was? Thank you in advance for any help!

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