Southern Style Southern Charm

Selling Jewelry on Etsy: Part 2 Researching Vintage Costume Jewelry

In my last post I discussed my experience selling vintage costume jewelry on etsy. One of the things I mentioned was the importance of research.


There are a number of websites that you can use to identify jewelry, either by makers’ marks or by style. There are also some great forums on Facebook,  etsy, and Ebay where you can go for help with identification or strategies for selling jewelry.

I have found that on etsy, you often have to meet minimum requirements before they will let you join (such as having a minimum number of jewelry pieces currently listed for sale). Some of the forums also require that you use their tags in one of your descriptive tags so other group members can easily find your items. While it might seem annoying at first, you will find that group members tend to help each other a good bit and it is nice to have other more experienced sellers looking at your jewelry listings.


One of the most helpful jewelry groups that I have joined on Facebook is called Texs Gal’s Jewelry Lovers.  Margaret, the lady who started the group, has been selling jewelry for years and she also has a helpful YouTube channel that goes into a lot of detail. While I do find her videos to be very helpful,  they are also very long, usually about an hour each. She is very knowledgeable and you can learn a lot from her.

Here are a few websites that can help with identifying maker marks.

Amazing Adornments

Jackson Jewels

Illusion Jewels

Identified Jewelry Dangles



Of course there are plenty of other sites that specialize in fine jewelry but these will definitely get you started on costume jewelry.

The Chatworth Lady website has a great article on how to identify different types of vintage plastic jewelry such as Bakelite and celluloid. Since these types of jewelry almost never have maker’s marks, you will need learn how to recognize each kind.

The Spruce website also has a good article about how to identify Bakelite.

There are also some great books out there that can provide in-depth information and history. These are nice to have on hand and I have picked up a few at yard sales and antique stores along the way. They provide a lot of great information that will help you with your research.

My favorite is Plastic Jewelry of the 21st Century by Lillian Baker. It has great illustrations and so much helpful information. It was published in 2003. I couldn’t find it on ebay or Amazon but it probably gets listed there every once in a while. As you can see, I have lots of pages marked in this book. It has been a valuable resource for me. Most of the jewelry styles identified in this book do not have makers’ marks so this book (or other ones similar to it) will be very useful.



Of course you could easily spend hours perusing books and websites in your quest to identify your latest jewelry purchase. And when you are getting started in the business, I think that is a good idea. After awhile you will begin to recognize brands, designs, and materials on your own and may not need to do as much research. You will eventually have to learn to balance your time versus the potential value of  the jewelry. But this is something that comes with experience.

Use the resources I have listed above (plus all the other great ones I am sure you will find on your own once you start looking) and join jewelry forums and groups. There are a lot of people out there who are more than willing to share their knowledge with you. You might be surprised at how quickly you begin to recognize many types of jewelry.

 Sharing with Vintage Charm and Grandma’s House DIY.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you so much for your information. I love Jewelry and I buy lots of it and have always wanted to sell some that are more vintage or a style that I moved on from. This was just great. Thank you!

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