I get a lot of questions about identifying or researching vintage jewelry and accessories. While not an expert, I’ve learned a thing or two from my years shopping for pieces at the flea market or thrift stores. For starters, there are high end antique pieces and then there are the more “mainstream” vintage costume jewelry designers that you can find easily at the flea or on Etsy. For more high end accessories and jewelry, I like to shop from reputable seller, such as Shopbop or The Real Real, for designer pieces. For me, I always search for pieces that are interesting first and then look for the insignia to see if it’s an important designer. However, I do shop for certain pieces by designer, such as Chanel “CC” earrings or YSL necklaces.
Vintage Jewelry and Accessories
I am obsessed with tassel necklaces and will never tire of them. They dress up every outfit and I can literally make a jersey maxi dress look wedding guest ready with the addition of a chunky tassel necklace.
Whether silver, gold, wood or colorful, bold bracelets look awesome stacked up. See above photo as proof!
My ears are pierced, but I actually prefer clip on earrings! If you’re not into earrings, clip-ons make for great brooch alternatives, dress up simple pumps, and can be transformed into hair clips, pins, and other pieces with a simple DIY.
Turquoise Necklaces and Bracelets
With depleting mines and the recent ban on mining, turquoise is becoming more and more rare. The most noteworthy come from Iran and the American Southwest, with Sleeping Beauty as the most popular mine.
While they can’t hide your vices, lucite bags are really unique and a great collector piece.
You’ve heard it a million times that a belt pulls together an outfit. Take that tip and rock it with a vintage belt. My favorite vintage belts are Moschino, woven in a colorful hue, or leather with some fringe.
I love sunglasses that look like they just walked off the screen from Scarface. If you love big glasses and cannot lie, search for Ted Lapidus or Dior.
Vintage Jewelry Designers
Vintage Chanel jewelry is about 100 times better than the new stuff. The Chanel CC earrings are classic and the tassel bracelets are a must have for any vintage jewelry lover.
Monet still designs costume jewelry today, but the vintage necklaces and bracelets are by far better designed and better quality.
Whiting & Davis
Whiting & Davis is known for its snake coiled bracelets and necklaces and mesh purses.
Yves Saint Laurent
I have several YSL brooches and necklaces that I’ve picked up over the years. If nothing else, I love having pieces with the YSL brand.
Where to Shop
If I’m not looking for a particular piece, then I always start at the flea market or thrift store. I will go through jewelry piles and stacks until something catches my eye. I have found colorful and bright necklaces for $2 as well as a Whiting & Davis snake coil bracelet for $9. Although, you’ll find great deals at either place, if you want Chanel or designer, you’ll have to go a bit higher end.
I shop on eBay, Etsy, Malleries, The Real Real, Shopbop, and Vestiaire Collective if I’m looking for particular pieces such as a Chanel bracelet. Because these are online sources, I can filter results and search for specific items. Although I can’t see the item in person, I make sure the store provides plenty of photographs of the item, accepts returns and guarantees authenticity!
If you’re looking to identify a vintage piece, try looking here.