Antique and vintage jewelry pieces are unique and beautiful. There are several different avenues you can take to procure this type of jewelry for your store, booth, or gallery without paying exorbitant prices. If at all possible, bring a phone with internet access so you can look up how much an item is worth before purchasing.
A good rule of thumb for making a profit off of your vintage jewelry is keystone plus mark-up. This is the formula that retailers use to set their minimum retail price for items that were bought wholesale. Keystone plus markup is setting the price of an item based at 100% what you paid or twice the cost. For example if you pay $15.00 for a necklace at a garage sale, you need to be able to turn around and sell that necklace for $30.00 for it to be worth buying.
Estate Sales in Small Towns & Rural Areas
Estate sales in larger cities are often picked over by other dealers. Often the items at the sale are priced high because there is more foot traffic coming through to look at items and it's likely that items will actually sell at these prices.
Estate sales in rural areas and coastal towns are less attended so you might be able to score some great deals. Arrive right as the sale starts to stake out what jewelry you are interested in purchasing. Buy your must have items and come back at the end of the sale for deep discounts.
Buy Lots Online
Great deals can be had by buying antique jewelry lots online. If you divide the total number of pieces in the lot by the cost of the lot then you can figure out the cost per piece. Calculate keystone plus markup to see if the lot would be profitable. Make sure that you look at photographs of the whole lot. Sometimes there will only be a few good pieces while the others are just junk that can not be resold for a profit.
Learn Basic Repair Techniques
Broken antique jewelry is cheap indeed. Checking out a few books on jewelry repair from the library or watching a few online tutorials can give you an added advantage. By buying a few simple tools you'll be on your way to repairing jewelry that was bought for a song and resold at a nice profit. You can even buy jewels or glass online replace gemstones that were lost from their settings.
For more information, contact local antiques dealers (such as Crissy Galleries).