Recently, one of my "teamies" in my vintage seller group posted a message that she received from a buyer on Etsy. The item was a vintage piece of jewelry priced at $19.00, and the buyer's question was worded something like this: "Why would I pay your ridiculous high prices when I can go to Forever 21 and buy one just like it for $5.99?" The answer was very obvious to all of us, so the discussion went on. However, I have been thinking about it ever since.
You see, that is where my job and this blog comes in. It is my job to tell you why vintage costs more. For a generation that grew up on cheap Chinese copies, in a throw-away society, it is my responsibility to share what I know about these treasures of the past.
Vintage has intrinsic VALUE.
Antique and Vintage are INVESTMENTS.
When you buy a vintage-style locket necklace at Forever 21 for $9.99, it was made for you to wear for a dance, a date night, or perhaps with a certain outfit... until it breaks. It is made of cheap metal that has no value, and it is often a copy of a real vintage piece.
I cannot tell you how many times over the years, that I have been contacted by companies in China, Thailand and India asking me to sell and ship my fine vintage and antique pieces to them. I am not interested. They want these things to use to make molds so that they can make cheap copies of them to sell to fashion clothing stores in the USA.
When you buy these pieces, your money is gone. If you want to resell it, you can get maybe 50 cents at a garage sale. Why not invest in one really good piece that can be worn for many years? Antique and vintage jewelry was made to last. The pieces were hand made with quality in mind. And those pieces did last for a lifetime or two, and sometimes even centuries. They will last for more lifetimes if we take care of them.
I specialize in pieces that were created from precious metals. These pieces have intrinsic value beyond being a pretty necklace or a bold bangle. They are valued as relics of their time period, a record of style and fashion. They are valued for their metal content and the gemstones that they are beautifully hand crafted with. They are valued for craftsmanship and design, for the company or designer that created them. They are valued for rarity and condition, for patina and history.
Why buy a cheap copy of a flapper necklace when you can buy an authentic 1920s sautoir necklace that was worn by a real flapper in the time period? That piece can be saved and re-worn or re-sold with sometimes even a profit gained.
A decade ago, I went through a divorce. I was so happy to have a stock pile of vintage jewelry that I could sell and trade to get me through the tough financial times.
Years ago, a charming woman who had smiling eyes told me something that I never forgot. She was an antique dealer and partner in our co-op antique shop. Her name was Mary McEntee, and I adored her. She passed away years ago, but her words are still with me. She said, "Don't buy a lot of mediocre pieces that have little or no value. Buy one really good piece, the best piece that you can afford. Take care of that piece and someday it will take care of you."
Mary was so wise. So very wise!