Tips for Buying Old Jewelry From Online Sellers

I adore old jewelry and over the years I’ve bought lovely pieces for myself, as gifts and to resell. Once upon a time you could only find these older pieces in antique stores, auction houses, or high-end jewelry stores, but the internet changed all that and for buyers and sellers it’s been a wonderful thing! Wonderful! But not all sellers are created equal, and if you’ve ever felt nervous about buying jewelry online, here are a few tips that might help!


Buy from sellers that ALLOW RETURNS for any reason. I can’t stress this enough. Some sellers don’t allow returns or allow them only if the item was misrepresented in any way. In other words if you don’t like the item, you’re out of luck.

Buy from sellers that PROVIDE CLEAR, WELL-LIT, APPEALING PHOTOS. And closeups are a must. Here’s a photo I took of a blue star sapphire ring where I managed to catch the image of the star in the sunlight. I was quite happy with this photo.


Usually a plain white background is best as I have used for the coral memory wire bracelet, but for some items I use a prop or background material. The carved mother of pearl pin was lost on a white background, so I used a poetry page.

The seller of this pendant provided eight photos of this little pendant and they were all good.


Photos must include the backside of pieces. You need to see any markings, the working order of pins, etc.

Buy from sellers that provide THOROUGH DESCRIPTIONS. Good sellers provide descriptions, including size, condition and any flaws. The seller for the amethyst pendant above described it as follows: “An Antique Mughal Pendant of solid silver (tested) with remnants of a light yellow gold wash (gilt). Set with a round faceted Amethyst quartz stone of light purple color. Further set at the top with a rose cut diamond and prong set with fresh water pearls.” He also stated the dimensions and the condition. If the item is made of gold, platinum, or sterling silver, the description should include its weight.

Always read the description! Sometimes a listing’s title will say one thing and the description another. For example, I found a listing for “Antique Stick Pin with Amber Stone,” but in the description the seller stated “amber glass stone.” Two different things, stone and glass.

Ask questions if you have any (or to see more photos). If the seller doesn’t respond, don’t buy. For example, I found a listing for an antique pin listed as sterling silver. I asked the seller if she could tell me its weight. She never responded so I didn’t buy it.

Read the seller’s feedback.  Enough said.

Before you buy, comparison shop! It’s always wise to know what else is available and for what price. Some sellers put crazy prices on things because that’s what they’re hoping to get for it, not it’s market value.

And did I say, always buy from a seller that allows returns, for any reason!!  (You’ll thank me later.)

As always, happy hunting.

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