As any estate jewelry enthusiast can attest, there’s a certain joy in discovering and acquiring a rare jewel from days gone by. The thrill of the hunt makes buying vintage that much more special—it’s something only you had the luck to happen upon. Finding a quality piece of estate jewelry used to require scouring auctions, dealers, and fairs across the globe. But now, thanks to the Internet, one can go hunting from the comfort of one’s own couch.
That said, the world of online jewelry shopping can be murky territory. Who’s a reliable source? Can you trust the photos? Is this really a fair price? We’ve rounded up seven of the best estate jewelers online—sources you can rely on for authentic, exceptional pieces—and picked their brains for tips you can use.
Vintage jeweler Mahnaz Ispahani offers the following words of wisdom to anyone looking to start collecting: “The world of jewelry is vast, and the starting collector should explore and then decide on a few matters: a period, a maker or community of makers, a particular style, a place of origin. Whether you initially collect in silver or bronze, precious or semi-precious stones, remain uncompromising about the idea behind the work and the quality. Collecting should always be a celebration of the creators of the jewels, whether they are well-known or not.”
From 1970s gold chains to Victorian paste earrings, all of the following dealers are trusted and revered for their curatorial eye. Read on for expert advice and to peruse our favorite pieces currently available. Happy hunting.