For any avid jewellery maker, there are always different and exciting ways to expand on your skillset and your collection. Whether you try your hand at new designs for technique practice, or you expand your range to include items you maybe didn’t offer before, there are lots of avenues to explore when it comes to broadening your repertoire.
One way we’ve looked at broadening your approach as a small jewellery business, in this article, is the addition of antique jewellery. Some customers search far and wide for pieces from certain eras, or a trademark design that perhaps is no longer manufactured. There’s opportunity in re-working antique jewellery for re-sale, which is why we’ve come up with some of the best places to go to buy antique jewellery.
Where to buy antique jewellery
Sounds obvious, but you’ll uncover many hidden gems at some of the UK’s best antique shops. Search through antique furniture and clothing to find pendants, rings, bracelets and other antique jewellery that you can re-work for re-sale.
For example, maybe you’ll discover some antique ring settings without stones? There’s opportunity here to get your bezel roller and add gemstones to empty bezel cups.
We’ve listed some of the UK’s best antique shops below, but of course there are more to choose from:
- Hemswell Antiques – located in the Lincolnshire countryside, this large antique store stocks items from over 400 dealers.
- The Herts and Essex Antiques Centre – here you can explore a multi-barn complex packed with antique stock, located in Sawbridgeworth.
- The Old Barn Antiques – nestled in Compton, Surrey, The Old Barn is a smaller antique store but with plenty of items to choose from.
- David Wolfenden Antiques – all the way up in Northern Ireland, this expansive antique store doesn’t compromise on its jewellery offering.
You’d be surprised at the selection of antique jewellery available on the world’s biggest online auction site!
Packed with sellers and buyers, eBay is an ideal place to research your antique jewellery projects and get a feel for what other likeminded people do when it comes to antique jewellery. You may find some people are selling chains, ring settings, brooches or even clasps that can be used to recreate timeless designs.
It’s worth reading through seller reviews and maybe getting in touch with them if you have any queries about their product. You could even start building up a network of contacts to keep in touch with about your antique jewellery endeavours – maybe even your entire jewellery business.
There are plenty of auction houses dotted around the UK where you can pick up some unique antique pieces, as there are endless online auction rooms offering the same opportunities. Discover gems from the Edwardian belle époque era, when platinum was introduced as a unique selling point for a lot of beautiful pieces. Discover diamonds from Colombian and Burmese origins, which are in high demand by a lot of jewellers. Even pearls could have a rich history worth investing in – you never know which monarch may have owned them, and from which ancient empire.
Some of the best auctions to attend or search online are as follows:
- Arthur Johnson & Sons Auctioneers – one of the UK’s largest auction houses, located in Nottingham. Go along and discover everything from antique furniture to collectables, jewellery and even commercial equipment.
- Sotheby’s – renowned for its global scale, British-founded Sotheby’s operates from its central New York hub, but its online auction room is worth exploring.
- Barnebys – founded in 2011, Barnebys is a search engine for antique art, jewellery and other unique items, taking over 2,000 leading auction houses into account.
- Chiswick Auctions – located on Colville Road in London, Chiswick Auctions is an established auction house holding regular auctions for a range of different items. From rugs and carpets, to rare books, ceramics and jewellery, you can attend the auctions in person or bid online.
Markets are an ideal place to uncover hidden antique gems:
- Covent Garden’s Apple Market – brimming with artisan items, from handmade soaps with unique scents to sweet treats and trinkets. On Mondays, you can browse antiques and collectibles stalls for your next antique jewellery project.
- St Nicholas Market – located in the heart of Bristol City Centre, St Nicholas Market can be found within an historic Georgian arcade, hosting plenty of independent stalls and shops selling antique jewellery, arts and crafts.
- Portobello Road Market – an iconic destination for an antique-searcher, this market’s stalls are brimming with collectibles and antique jewellery pieces.
If you’re looking for antiques near your home, it’s worth investigating the nearest stores or markets. Online forums for antique jewellery are an ideal place to begin, especially if you’re hoping to share your ideas with others and find out more about where to buy antique jewellery.
And if you’re looking to sell antique jewellery? You can create a seller account on eBay, or even other online marketplaces within Etsy or using your own dedicated website.
For more information on your jewellery business, and further advice on how to make it a success, check out the content in our business advice hub.