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Checking to see if the piece has been fundamentally altered is also important.Basic repairs, such as resizings and pinstem replacements may be found, and while these don't fundamentally change the purpose of the item, they may alter or remove important details.This is important to observe when researching the who, what, when and where of jewelry identification... Observe whether the piece is Georgian, Victorian, Art Deco, Retro, etc.
A library of reference materials on maker's marks would include a variety of types of jewelry books.Examine thoroughly, going over the whole piece more than once, turning it to examine every nook and cranny.When working from a photograph, the image must be of good quality and size and the other details about the piece (including a picture of the front of the item) are usually required.Forearmed with the basic jewelry era parameters on the item under investigation helps to target further search efforts.First and foremost it is important to classify the function of the jewelry item. are essentially done in the same manner, but since some designers, manufacturers and retailers specialized in certain types of jewelry it is important to acknowledge the item's function.All the details, regardless how small, must be observed and noted in order for a complete analysis to take place.Hallmarks can be composed of pictures, letters, numbers and shapes, alone or in combination.Spending a little extra time at the outset, getting to know as much as possible about the piece, before beginning to research for hallmarks, maker's marks and purity/assay marks will save time in the long run.Many of the hallmark and maker's mark reference materials are organized by time period, some books covering only a particular jewelry era.A resized ring or or repaired pin mechanism may have had hallmarks, maker's marks and/or purity/assay marks removed or polished off making it difficult to identify exactly who made the piece, but the item fundamentally remains a brooch or a ring.If the top portion of a ring has been removed from its shank and a pinstem placed on the reverse the piece is now a pin and no longer a ring. Secondly, while you may not be able to pin down an exact date of manufacture, by identifying the style of the piece the time period of the search can be narrowed down considerably.