eBay Tips: Shopping for Vintage Costume Jewelry


Some of my pre-owned jewelry (also shown in video)

I love vintage costume jewelry. These pieces can be scored at price points similar to F21 and H&M;, but are much more unique and have more character. Also, buying pre-owned means you don’t have to wonder about the quality and whether or not the jewelry will oxidize, turn green, or fall apart after a few wears. I realize not everyone has a fun Savers thrift store nearby (where I found much of my loot), but eBay can be just as fruitful. Here is my shopping /browsing method (tips are at the end of this post):

1. Go on eBay and type in your search. Here I used “gold chain necklace,” but the options are endless. Other things on my wish list include “collar necklace,” “locket,” “cuff bracelet,” “stone ring,” “pierced earrings” (tons of clip options too), etc.

46,786 results? No thank you, not tonight…

2. Next, I select the category “Vintage & Antique Jewelry.” Unfortunately, this may filter out a lot of nice vintage pieces that were just not categorized under here. I accept this in exchange for having to weed through 40,000 less listings. And unless I am searching with specific keywords like brand names, I keep the “include description” box unchecked so eBay only searches listing titles. Otherwise, you may get numerous irrelevant results.

3. If you’re under a budget, put in a max price (you may have to scroll down to find this field), then hit enter. Now I’m left with 542 listings. At this point, patient scrolling is key. Add potential items to your “watchlist,” and check back in a day or two to see if you’re still in love with it.

Here are some pieces that came up in my above search, each under $10….

If you’re quick, some of the above listings may still be out there on eBay. Strangely, when I started writing this post two days ago there was a plethora of gold chain necklaces, yet today I could only find a handful. There’s plenty other treasures out there, though.

Some more online jewelry-shopping tips:

– Have a measuring tape (or ruler + piece of string) handy. Drape it around your neck to see where a necklace would hit. If the measurements of the piece are not listed, ask for them. Jewelry can often look deceptively-sized in photos, especially earrings.
– Buy (or find in a bf/hubby’s toolkit) some tiny pliers. Chain jewelry is easy to re-size to the perfect length.
– If you want to buy from a known brand, common vintage costume jewelry labels include Monet, Napier, and Avon. My gold chain necklace is signed by Monet and bracelet is by Napier.
– To reduce risk, stick with domestic sellers who have high feedback (98%+)
– Be sure to wash pre-owned purchases thoroughly. I clean thrifted jewelry with rubbing alcohol from CVS.

Happy shopping! Readers, please share some of your own shopping tips and favorite vintage jewelry finds!
When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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