Tips for buying vintage jewellery at the Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair

Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair, London's largest collection of fine furniture, art and objects, is an opportunity to hunt out vintage jewels too.


London's largest annual gathering of fine furniture, art and objects, Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair returns to the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London from 6-16 June 2013.

The fair is expected to attract 32,000 visitors, and more than 200 dealers will be there, including many who specialise in antique jewellery. In amongst the pre-historic fossils, rare artworks and period furniture you can look forward to browsing beautiful vintage jewellery from renowned brands such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Attracting international specialists from around the world, many reserving their most unique pieces for the fair, it represents a chance for jewellery-lovers to purchase something unique. From 1920s bug brooches to yellow diamond cocktail rings, there's something for all budgets and tastes. Plus every exhibitor and item is vetted by a committee of specialists, so you can be confident that what you are buying is authentic. 

Art Deco styles are sure to be popular thanks to the forthcoming release of Baz Luhrmann's film 'The Great Gatsby', featuring vintage-inspired jewels made by Tiffany & Co, and pearls have also increased in popularity of late. Whatever you're looking for, the fair's specialists have put together their top 10 tips for buying vintage jewellery:

1. Go for pieces by major designers such as Cartier, Tiffany or Van Cleef and Arpels if you can afford it.

2. Try and spot the next big thing; natural pearls went up dramatically five years ago, while Mediterranean coral is starting to go up now. 

3. Buy from an established dealer with a good reputation. Look for membership of one of the two trade associations (BADA and LAPADA).

4. Always buy jewellery because you love it, but to increase your chances of making a sound investment, check that the piece hasn't been significantly repaired or the stones replaced.

5. What's hot right now are diamonds to add to a feel-good, recession-busting sparkle. Also bold, chunky, almost 80s style statement pieces.

6. Check if the stones have been 'heat treated'. This is a legal process to bring out the colour, but natural stones will always be worth more. 

7. Exhibitor Anthea AG says: "Look for the quirky - something with an edge, something that will be noticed, eg: animals, an unusual shape, real craftsmanship." 

8. Shop around. Large fairs like the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair not only offer huge choice but also vet everything before opening to ensure authenticity.

9. Buy something with wearability and style.

10. Finally, jewellery is about how you wear it. Be imaginative and it will transform an outfit.

Editor's Pick

The Jewellery Editor is for sale

Help us make the future bright

Since founding The Jewellery Editor in 2010, we have grown our digital magazine to be the number one global source of information and inspiration for fine jewellery and luxury watches.

3,500 articles, 150 videos with over 5 million views and a reach of over 2 million per month on social media later, we have offered unparalleled and highly respected coverage of our sector. However, despite our editorial success, we are financially struggling as an independent publisher.

Entirely funded, owned and run by Christine and Maria in London, we are now looking to sell The Jewellery Editor so that it can continue to grow. As e-commerce becomes a priority in our industry, we believe there is huge potential for engaging editorial content and are seeking a buyer who shares our values and passion so that under their guidance we can give a bright future to the platform and help us grow our business to the next stage.

If you are interested to discuss the above, please contact [email protected]

Alternatively, if you are willing to help, you can donate so that in the meantime, we can continue to publish more interesting content.

Terms and conditions




We use our own and third party cookies to improve your experience and our services. If you continue, we consider that you accept their use. You can get more information on your website at cookies policy.