Buy Antique Jewellery To Re-Work For Re-Sale

old antique shop

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

Antique shops

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 Antiqueslocated in the Lincolnshire countryside, this large antique store stocks items from over 400 dealers.
  • The Herts and Essex Antiques Centrehere you can explore a multi-barn complex packed with antique stock, located in Sawbridgeworth.
  • The Old Barn Antiquesnestled 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!

online shopping

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.

Auction houses

auction house

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 Auctioneersone 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.


craft market

Markets are an ideal place to uncover hidden antique gems:

  • Covent Garden’s Apple Marketbrimming 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 Marketlocated 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.

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Different Types of Metal for Jewellery Making

metal sheet and wire

With so many varieties of metal available, we thought we would go back to basics and examine some of the different types of metal that can be used for jewellery making today.

To begin with, let’s look at some of the general terms you might come across when dealing with metal:

What is Precious Metal?

A precious metal is a naturally occurring metallic element, which is rare and therefore highly prized and valued. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are all examples of precious metal.

What is a Metal Alloy?

Precious metal in its pure form is often difficult to work with, so it is mixed (alloyed) with other metals to enhance its strength and workability etc. when making jewellery among other things.

silver sheet and gold wire

What is Hallmarking?

To be sold as such, all gold, silver, platinum and palladium products above a specified weight have to be independently tested (assayed) and hallmarked. This procedure is a guarantee for consumers, so they can be sure of what they are buying as it is impossible to tell simply by eye.

The minimum weight thresholds for hallmarking are as follows:

  • Gold: 1g
  • Silver: 7.78g
  • Platinum: 0.5g
  • Palladium: 1g

It is also important to remember that a hallmark is a legal requirement, and so must be adhered to where necessary.

Want to learn more about hallmarking? Get started by reading our guide to hallmarking, and to discover how hallmarking began you can also take a look at our brief history of hallmarking.

What is Plated Metal?

Plated metal has a thin coating of a secondary and often more expensive material which covers it completely. It is often done to improve tarnish resistance and/or make something appear more expensive than it actually is. Common examples are gold plated silver (sometimes known as vermeil if the plating depth is around 2.5 microns) and rhodium plated silver. Base metal findings and chain are popular jewellery making components which can be made from plated metal.

silver plated chain

Silver Plated Chain

Plating depths vary and some are much thinner than others, meaning pieces will be more prone to wear and tear (standard plating is usually between 0.5 – 1 microns, and heavy plating is usually between 2.5 – 5 microns). This means that most plated items will need to be refreshed and re-plated on a regular basis to keep them looking their best. It is worth noting that plated metal items can only be hallmarked with the mark for the lower grade of metal used, as the plated coating has no bearing on the value and cannot be stamped.

What is Bonded Metal?

A bonded metal is a grey area in terms of description, and ideally should contain two elements which are fused together to make one piece. However, many bonded gold items have simply been gold plated, albeit sometimes to a greater depth than standard plating. It is worth noting again that bonded metal items have to be clearly hallmarked, and can only be stamped with the lower grade of metal used – meaning a gold/silver bonded item would be hallmarked as silver.

What is Gold Filled Metal?

Also known as rolled gold, the term ‘gold filled’ refers to a layer of gold which is wrapped and bonded (via heat) around a second metal (either silver or base metal).

Gold Filled Lobster Clasp

Gold Filled Lobster Clasp

This gold layer, although thin, is much harder wearing and substantial than any gold plating and can be hallmarked as such. Beaded wire and chain are just some of the jewellery making components which are available that can be made from gold filled metal.

It is vital that you know exactly what you are buying when purchasing precious metals, as mistakes can be costly and can lead to items being illegally sold – so make sure you research your products before committing and you won’t go far wrong.

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Choosing Wedding Jewellery for Bridesmaids

Sterling Silver Bracelet with Infinity Locator

Creating or buying jewellery for bridesmaids can be a tricky business. Regardless of the scale of a wedding, if there will be bridesmaids then there will undoubtedly be different ages, sizes, styles and characters to consider – and so if you are trying to achieve a uniform look, this can be a challenge!

To do this for bridesmaids, you could either decide on a colour or motif and then choose a selection of different jewellery styles to suit people based around that feature, OR choose classic and understated pieces that everyone can wear. For example, a pendant is a safe bet for all ages. Chains can be adjustable for all sizes, and shorter options can be purchased for children to wear. Earrings, on the other hand, are more difficult, as not everyone has pierced ears and you have to consider skin sensitivity that some people may have to certain metals. Also, the weight of earrings can be an issue for some; what is right for one person might be extremely uncomfortable for someone else.

Sterling Silver Bracelet with Infinity Locator (XBS 2036)

Our range of infinity themed pieces would make a great starting point for any bride wanting to choose from a suite of jewellery to suit all ages. The sentiment behind it is perfect for a wedding, and the range of designs available means there is something to suit all tastes.

Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Set Infinity Connector

Sterling Silver Cubic Zirconia Set Infinity Connector (NV1 545)

We also stock connectors in the same design, which could be used to connect a small chain for a child, hung as a pendant or even tied around a wrist with ribbon, whilst still keeping within a theme. You could add some beads to your connector too if you are looking to unify the look with both colour and design. The simple yet classic look of these connectors also means they can be a really great addition to jewellery for tricky bridesmaids!

Swarovski Crystal Bicone Beads

Swarovski Crystal Bicone Beads 

If you using colour as your unifying element in a wedding, Swarovski Crystal beads would make perfect bridesmaid accessories. They come in a wide range of styles, sizes and tones to match any theme, and would be gorgeous strung onto elastic to make bracelets which will please any flower girl.

Fresh Water Pearl and Crystal Necklet

Fresh Water Pearl and Crystal Necklet (VPS P303) 

For something with a more classic look, you really can’t go wrong with pearls and we have an extensive range of pearl jewellery to suit all styles. For example, our pearl and crystal necklet has just enough sparkle to make it really special without being too attention-grabbing, and can be easily teamed with a pair of simple pearl or crystal studs for those with pierced ears – yet are impactful enough as stand-alone pieces for those without.

Swarovski Crystal Pearls

Swarovski Crystal Pearls

On the other hand, if you would prefer to create your own piece of pearl jewellery, our selection of Swarovski Crystal pearls are available in a variety of colours and sizes. This means you have plenty of choice when it comes to making handmade jewellery for bridesmaids.

It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for finished jewellery or components to create bridesmaid jewellery yourself, as you will find a wide selection of products to choose from at Cooksongold. Explore our range today and make sure you are prepared for wedding season or even your own big day.

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A Guide to Jewellery Tool Kits for Beginners

Beginner’s Tool Kit

Buying a ready-made tool kit can be a great way to equip you with the basic tools needed to start making jewellery, or even replace tools you may have had in your workshop for some time.

In our range of jewellery tools, for instance, we offer many kits to choose from which all have been put together by experts who know exactly what you are going to need. You can also expect a considerable cost saving when buying your tools as part of a kit as opposed to buying each item separately, so it’s well worth considering one of these kits if you have multiple products to purchase.

But Which Jewellery Tool Kit Should I Buy?

This is where it gets a little trickier! To help you with this difficult decision-making process we have put together the following handy YouTube video, which talks you through each of our jewellery tool kits piece by piece, allowing you to view each item much more closely before buying.

We have also put together the simple tick list comparison chart below which will enable you to see at a glance which kit contains what tools, along with the product code for reference:

Product Code 997 1001 997 1002 997 1003 997 1005
Name Beginners Tool Kit Student Starter Kit Workbench

Tool Kit

University Student Tool Kit
Tool Box Y Y Y
Saw Y Y Y Y
Extra Blades Y Y Y
File Y Y Y
File Handle Y Y Y
Needle Files Y Y Y Y
Hammer Y Y
Raw Hide Mallet Y
Flux Y
Metal Ruler Y Y Y Y
Steel Square Y
Dividers Y
Digital Vernier Gauge Y
Metal Tweezers Y
Reverse Action Tweezers Y
Soldering Torch
Soldering Block Y
Honeycomb Board Y
Scriber Y Y Y Y
Emery Sticks Y Y Y Y
Pliers Y Y Y Y
Metal Shears Y
Bench Anvil Y
Bench Peg Y Y
Binding Wire Y
Centre Punch Y

Here is a little more information on each of the kits, to give you a helping hand in selecting the right one for you and your workspace:

Beginner’s Tool Kit

As a rough guide we would suggest the basic Beginners Tool Kit for anyone curious about making jewellery, but is a little unsure. This kit will enable you to mark out, saw pierce and shape sheet metal and wire. It also contains a small jobbing hammer which could be used for riveting and other cold fixing processes.

Student Starter Kit

Student Starter Kit

The next step up from the basic tool kit is the Student Starter Kit, which essentially gives you a full-size file and a toolbox in addition to everything contained in the beginners kit (with the exception of the hammer). Obviously, a larger file means you can work on bigger pieces and remove material more efficiently, plus you get the toolbox to keep everything in.

Workbench Tool Kit

Workbench Tool Kit

One step up from this student kit is the Workbench Tool Kit, which contains an additional bench peg and anvil – so it does indeed equip your workshop as well as your set of jewellery tools as the name suggests. It is the perfect kit for those who are new to jewellery making and are looking for a comprehensive set of essential tools to get started.

University Student Tool Kit

University Student Tool Kit

Finally, the crème de la crème is the University Student Tool Kit which literally covers all bases, and includes almost everything available in the workbench tool kit along with additional hammers, tweezers, a vernier gauge and more. However, it is worth pointing out that whilst this kit includes soldering equipment too, it doesn’t contain the torch itself – so this will need to be purchased separately in addition to extra saw blades which are also not included.

Whichever jewellery tool kit you decide to go for, you can be sure that each contains a set of high-quality tools and equipment for jewellery makers. Not only that, they are all conveniently put together in a handy kit so you can take the headache out of kitting out your workspace.

Need to equip your workshop with the essentials for a particular jewellery making technique instead?

Our extensive selection of tool kits for jewellers also includes sets which are ideal for those who are looking for the tools required for soldering, polishing, beading and more – no matter whether you are a beginner jewellery maker or a more experienced jeweller who wants to refresh their used tools.

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