Going Antiquing

By Cheryl Alkon | Boston Weddings |

What’s old is new again, and choosing to wear vintage jewelry on your wedding day is one way to keep a piece of history close to your heart. You might wear a treasured relative’s watch or an antique hairpin, or you might choose to buy new (to you) jewels that are either genuine antiques or modern interpretations.

“Vintage is great if it’s been passed down to you,” says Veronica Sagherian, co-owner of Adamas Fine Jewelry in Newton. “At a time like your wedding day, it makes sense because it has sentimental value.” But even if your jewels aren’t from family, vintage is still appealing.


What’s old is new again, and choosing to wear vintage jewelry on your wedding day is one way to keep a piece of history close to your heart. You might wear a treasured relative’s watch or an antique hairpin, or you might choose to buy new (to you) jewels that are either genuine antiques or modern interpretations.

“Vintage is great if it’s been passed down to you,” says Veronica Sagherian, co-owner of Adamas Fine Jewelry in Newton. “At a time like your wedding day, it makes sense because it has sentimental value.”

And even if your jewels aren’t from family, vintage is still appealing. “It’s nice to stick with something that’s been around a while,” says Katie Armour, manager at Vintage Jewelry Gift Antiques in Brookline.

Wearing something borrowed or blue from a relative is one way to preserve traditions. But what if you cherish the idea of wearing your grandmother’s engagement ring, but the reality is that her finger was a lot smaller than yours? Consider taking the original stones and putting them into a new setting or on a new band.

“We set and reset a lot of family diamonds,” says Shelley Hullar, owner of Small Pleasures in Boston. “You can just keep recycling the family jewels that way.”

FIND YOUR STYLE
Vintage jewelry comes in as many styles as there are centuries, and knowing what appeals to you is the first step in figuring out what to wear. The best customers are the ones who have spent some time learning about the styles, stones, metals and prices of jewelry they like the best. “The more you look, the more you identify the different periods and educate your eye,” says Hullar.

Some jewelers’ favorites can become yours as well. Michael Finn, manager of E.B. Horn in Boston, says micropavé is a popular engagement look. This is typically a diamond ring set in a filigree setting—which is an antique-style, lace-like design—surrounded with very small diamond settings. Rings with filigree details and hand engraving also are popular antique styles, says Isabella Shnayder, co-owner of Euro Design Jewelers in Natick.

With antique diamonds, a round stone can be cut in several different ways, says Sagherian. An old mine cut is “an uneven, rough” diamond, while a rose cut has a flat bottom and no point. As tools became more refined, she says, diamonds were able to be faceted in different ways to further enhance the stone, but these earlier cuts reflect a more antique sensibility.

Certain time periods left lasting impressions on jewelry design as well. “Art deco pieces from the 1920s and the 1930s are some of our biggest sellers,” says Armour. “They’re angular, very stark and striking.” Paste, which is glass that is cut and faceted to look like a diamond, has an interesting look and can be found in older pieces, says Tracey Weiss, owner of The Ruby Door in Boston. Her store buyers are quite educated and can tell things about the jewelry’s previous owners: that Edwardian styles (diamond and platinum lace-like pieces made in the early 1900s) were owned by wealthy people, or that pinchbeck (an alloy that resembles gold) pieces were made only during a particular time period. “People will hear that a piece is vintage and will get excited because it’s truly one-of-a-kind,” she says.

Buying a reproduction of an older piece can make sense because older metals can get worn, while newer pieces are often sturdier. And for others, the appeal of wearing vintage is that it’s already made. “A lot of people will specifically pick vintage jewelry because they are socially aware of the history of how some diamonds are made,” says Armour.

WEAR IT WELL
The neckline and style of your wedding dress can guide you on how to accessorize. If your dress is heavily beaded, it’s already a focal point. But if your dress is less decorated with extra ornaments, there’s more opportunity to select jewelry that will complement your style.

Don’t go overboard when it comes to jewelry, because you don’t want to wear too many things that might distract people from what should be center stage: you. “I’m a firm believer that less is more when it comes to jewelry, particularly with quality over size,” says Hullar. Others concur. “A lot of people think they need to load on jewelry, but a stunning pair of chandelier earrings and no necklace can look beautiful,” says Armour. “I hate when people mix and match. Pick one thing that’s a focal piece, such as a drop necklace or stud earrings. If you do big earrings, tone down other jewelry.”

If your dress is strapless, consider forgoing a necklace in favor of a dramatic earring, says Weiss. “It’s very stylish, and it makes you feel girly and sexy.” Bring in a photo of your dress, so your jeweler can see the sleeves, and whether it’s high-necked or low. Knowing how you will wear your hair—if it’s off your face or shoulders, can also make a difference if you want to incorporate accessories such as barrettes or clips, or whether your ears will be able to show off a larger earring.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that you should pick things you adore and will want to wear again. “Buy what you’ll enjoy for many years,” says Shnayder. “Buy what you love and what you’ll be proud to wear on your finger or neck or ears.”

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2006/10/going-antiquing/