All posts tagged: Antique Filipino jewelry

Gold grape earrings with diamante

What is the value of an antique jewelry?

One of the challenges in selling antique jewelry is making the prospective buyer understand why a certain piece could fetch a high price. Bear in mind that it’s not like fine modern jewelry where majority of the price is factored in the gold or silver content along with the weight of the item.  While gold is definitely more expensive than silver and brass, craftmanship plays a big role.  Some things just can’t be duplicated anymore.  If you hear someone say “antiquity”, it’s not just because it’s old but they are mostly referring to the fine craftmanship that is so hard to find nowadays. One time, I asked a jewelry shop if they can make vintage-inspired gold-plated silver pendants for me.  I was surprised at the prices they quoted.  When I asked if it would make a big difference in the cost if I change the material to gold-plated brass, they said it wouldn’t bring down the price much.  Bulk of the cost is labor.  Not only does it take a longer time to make but …

Antique 9K Gold Star Pendant with Diamante (rough cut small diamonds).

Finally, my very own antique star pendant!

An avid antique collector recently commented that since I sell vintage jewelry, I must have a to-die-for old jewelry collection.  I laughed at the comment.  The truth is, I don’t have any old jewelry- not unless you count my Php400 ($10) brass tamborin necklace which I bought more than 10 years ago in Balikbayan Handicrafts (a tourist/Filipiniana store).  While I love vintage jewelry, business comes first.  A business-savvy mentor advised me not to get attached to my stocks. But it’s hard not to get attached.  I acquire items that I like so in case it doesn’t sell, then I wouldn’t mind keeping them personally.  In fact, I do have a favorite item in my online shop- an antique gold star with diamante (small rough cut diamonds). It’s so beautifully made.  Looks dainty yet sturdy and has a bit of weight to it.  I told myself that if it doesn’t get sold within a certain period then it’s meant for me. That waiting period has long passed.  I get nervous whenever someone “favorites” that item- thinking …

Another antique but the bead details are not as smooth.

How to tell if a Philippine tamborin-style jewelry is an antique

Is that antique, vintage or new? With the revived interest in vintage and antique jewelry, it’s getting more difficult to tell if a Philippine-made tamborin-style jewelry is antique.  When I first started my online shop, I had to rely on what the antique dealers told me.  They would either say, it’s an antique, at least a hundred years old or the vague answer, “Luma na yan” (meaning “That’s already old” ).  Um, okay.  I can’t really blame them, there are very few reference books on these things.  So how do you tell? The more seasoned sellers would say that antique tamborin beads are very smooth when you run your fingers through them. Same goes for the relicario (or reliquary pendant that usually accompany this tamborin style jewelry).  While this is probably true, I’ve seen some antique tamborins that are not really smooth.  Maybe they were hardly used by the previous owner or the wearer took really good care of the piece. Another way is to look at the finish.  This one refers to old gold-plated …

Antique tamborin necklace from the late 19th century

Tamborin Jewelry- A Little Bit of History

Did you know that jewelry was used to spread Christianity in the Philippines? During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines which began in 1521, jewelry such as crucifixes were used as tools to replace amulets and talismans worn then by the native Filipinos. To the converted Filipinos, wearing these jewelry was not only a declaration of their Christian faith but also a way to adorn themselves while still following the austerity restriction dictated by the Spanish regime. The goldsmiths saw an opportunity to hawk their wares by producing only religious jewels.  While gold was in abundance, gemstones were not, so they used various techniques to achieve different looks for their jewelry such as the filigree technique, “kalado” or lace-like effect and changing the color of gold.  Gemstones were scarce and only the upper class had access to them. Around the mid-eighteenth century, a lot of Filipinos began wearing crucifixes and scapulars along with the tamborin necklace.  The “tamborin” or sometimes spelled as “tamburin” is a very traditional Filipino jewelry. The tamborin necklace was patterned after …