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Investing in Antique Jewellery

Investing in Antique Jewellery

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By Richard Falkiner 

Until comparatively recently, many pieces of antique jewellery could be bought for token prices.

Sadly, this is no longer true today. As with so many other types of antiques, the price of jewellery has risen dramatically, above all over the past decade.

The basic reason for this is, of course, that in an era when traditional forms of currency have proved so vulnerable to economic depressions, first-class an-tiques, acquired with care and knowledge, have shown themselves to be outstanding investments.

In spite of the recent rise in prices, there is still a large amount of antique jewellery available to the intelligent collector with even a modest budget. Much of this jewellery was virtually ignored for many years and has only recently begun to be appreciated. For instance, paste jewellery was long regarded as of value almost exclusively for the melt-down prices commanded by its silver mounts. Today, a fine piece of paste is recognised for what it is an object of intrinsic decorative worth which, nonetheless, can be acquired for a fraction of the price fetched by a comparable object set with gems.

While there have been several works on antique jewellery (although most of them are now out of print), this book deals for the first time with the subject as an investment. Mr. Falkiner's approach is chronological, providing a chapter by chapter outline of the history of jewellery from the very earliest times, and illustrating each chapter with a wide range of photographs of over 200 objects. Many of the pieces illustrated have absorbing historical connotations: the Alfred jewel, lost by Alfred the Great at the end of the gth century when he was a fugitive in Athelney Marsh and not found again until the 17th century; a jewel found in the baggage of the ill-fated Charles I after the battle of Naseby; the memorial, rings of Beau Brummel and George Washington. The detailed captions to the pictures comment on prices fetched in the past and indicate possible trends for the future.

In addition, there is a substantial technological section in which Mr. Falkiner traces the etymology of many of the terms used in jewellery, and explains in layman's language the concepts of the refractive index, specific gravity, the cutting of stones, etc.

With its 16 pages of magnificent colour plates, this superbly produced volume, directed primarily at the investor-collector', will be a welcome addition to the New Currency Series.



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