Frequently Asked Questions
Purchasing, Payments & the General Process
Sizing & Returns
1. Who are you?
We are dealers in antique and period jewellery, a family run business, resulting from over 40 years of experience and expertise in the antique jewellery trade in London. We are Olly Gerrish, one of London's foremost antique jewellery dealers, her son, Matt Gerrish, an expert in design and technology and Zuleika Gerrish (Olly's daughter-in-law), a graduate of the The Gemmological Association of Great Britain's Foundation Course. When you phone us you will hear from Olly or Zuleika directly. If you visit us you will be met by either Olly, Zuleika or Matt - who will do all they can to meet your needs.
2. Where are you based? Do you have a shop I can visit?
We are based on the first floor of a beautiful 18th Century building, a stone's throw from New Bond Street in London's Mayfair.
Our address is:
49 Maddox Street
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Our premises is not a conventional shop, but an office, where you can arrange to view items in person, should you wish.
You are welcome to view any items you like, but please note that all meetings are strictly By Appointment Only. This is entirely intentional as we feel these days people much prefer the privacy of a 'one-on-one' experience when making such a big decision. You can book your hour time slot by simply filling in our booking appointment form. Appointments are available weekdays between 11am - 8pm, unless otherwise stated. We look foward to welcoming you into our little antique jewellery time capsule, in the heart of Mayfair, with a cup of coffee or a glass or champagne!
3. Will I get expert customer service?
Yes! Our founder, Olly Gerrish, is a veteran of over 40 years of dealing in antique jewellery in London. A respected and reputable dealer, Olly has a near encyclopaedic knowledge of antique jewellery and is at your disposal. She is joined by her daugher-in-law, Zuleika, who recently completed the Gemmology Foundation Course at the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A). Both will do all they can to make your experience as worthwhile and fun as possible.
4. Why antique jewellery?
We believe that antique jewellery has an enduring charm and distinction that modern equivalents simply cannot match (don't get us started!).
Antique jewellery is also an investment rather than an expense, with immediate advantages over other ways of investing for the future. It is cheaper to buy and sell through a dealer than an auction house with their spiralling commissions. A dealer's knowledge, experience and passion add value to a purchase which will give life long pleasure.
5. When was your jewellery made?
Our jewellery varies in age from the early 18th Century up until the 1960s and later. We have categorized our jewellery into different periods. Each period has many different designs and characteristics. These periods include Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, Retro, Mid-Century and Modern.
Georgian Jewellery (1714-1830)
Georgian era jewellery is handmade, making the quality of each piece variable. Needless to say, Georgian jewellery is very rare. Often featuring nature-inspired designs such as leaves and birds, Georgian jewellery frequently includes precious stones.
Early Victorian, Romantic Jewellery (1839-1901)
Like jewellery of the Georgian era, early Victorian era jewellery features nature-inspired designs. Frequently, these designs would be delicately and intricately etched into gold. Lockets and brooches were popular everyday jewellery during the early Victorian era whereas colored gemstones and diamonds were worn during the evening.
Mid-Victorian, Grand Jewellery (1860-1880)
Because the Grand or Mid-Victorian era corresponded with the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, many jewellery pieces have solemn, grave designs. Known as mourning jewellery, the pieces feature heavy, dark stones. Jet, onyx, amethyst, and garnet are frequently found in jewellery from this period. The jewellery also became especially creative during this period. More colorful designs were born featuring shells, mosaics and colorful gemstones.
Late Victorian, Aesthetic Jewellery (1885-1900)
During the Late Victorian or Aesthetic period, jewellers used diamonds and feminine, bright gemstones such as sapphire, peridot, and spinel. Star and crescent designs as well as elaborate hat pins were also popular.
Art Nouveau Jewellery (1890-1915)
Inspired by Rene Jules Lalique in France and other jewellers in America, Art Nouveau jewellery features natural designs such as flowers and butterflies.
Edwardian Jewellery (1901-1914)
The Edwardian period was born when Queen Victoria died and her son Edward became king. During this period, expensive gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies and elaborate designs were the fashion.
Art Deco Jewellery (1920-1935)
Influenced by African, Egyptian and Japanese themes, Art Deco jewellery is famous for its geometric designs, sharp lines, and bright colors. Bakelite, celluloid, eidl and doublets were used frequently during this era. Necklaces were long and bracelets were worn many at a time. Amber and murano beads were worn as well as chokers.
Retro Jewellery (1940s)
Inspired by Hollywood, Retro jewellery is colorful, bold and elaborate. Commonly worn were large cocktail rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces and charm bracelets.
As we develop as a business we hope to focus more on the educational side of antique jewellery, as we feel it is such fun and well worth sharing. Watch this space!
6. How can you tell how old your jewellery is?
We use our vast knowledge to date each piece based on the item's materials, construction techniques, hallmarks, signatures, and cultural context. Some people may even refer to our ability to identify the age of our jewelry as diamond whispering! After decades of experience, vintage and antique pieces just speak to us, and by using our knowledge, experience and network of resources, we can usually identify the age of each item. While we cannot guarantee the exact age of each piece, we can determine to the best of our ability when it was likely manufactured and during which era it was designed.
7. Where do you find your jewellery?
This is the most frequently asked question and a highly guarded trade secret. We scour the country for the most high quality and exquisite pieces so you don’t have to!
8. What conditions are your items in?
Our jewellery is in excellent condition, taking into account its age. We pride ourselves on selecting only the finest examples of antique jewellery. In exceptional circumstances when an item is not in excellent condition, we will mention it in our item descriptions. Of course, please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to see some more hi-resolution images of the item or view the item in person at our Central London showroom.
9. How often do you get new jewellery?
We are always on the hunt for new treasures and update our website with new finds on a daily basis!
10. Are your diamonds conflict free?
Yes! Conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds” are illegally traded stones that were mined sometime in the last 50 years. These diamonds originated in countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) or The Republic of Congo, and were used to finance civil wars and deadly insurgencies. Because we only use antique and vintage diamonds that predate this period, our jewellery is completely conflict free. Initiatives such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme have been created in order to curb the dangerous blood diamond trade, however even this initiative is fraught with shortcomings. The only way to guarantee that a diamond is conflict free is to reuse vintage and antique diamonds that were mined prior to 1970...which is exactly what we do!
11. Do you Purchase Jewellery?
We are constantly looking for fine quality pieces to add to our collection. You can always rely on us to settle instantly and provide maximum discretion when doing so. If you have jewellery that you are considering selling, whether it’s an entire estate collection or just one piece, please fill in this form. Please note we only buy items that are antique, ie. at least 50 years old, and in general we do NOT buy costume jewellery, loose coloured gemstones, pocket watches or watches.
12. How do I purchase?
We've tried to make purchasing on our website as easy as possible. Navigate to an item you want quickly and easily and click the 'Add to Bag' button. When you are happy to proceed to payment, click on 'Shopping Bag' in the top right of the screen and follow the simple steps, using our secure payment gateway (powered by PayPal).
13. What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express - as well as PayPal. We also accept bank/wire transfers and cashiers or bank cheques and personal cheques (which will have to clear before the item is sent out).
14. Can I pay in pay in any other way than online?
Yes! We are happy to take card payments over the phone. Please call +44 (0)20 7206 2477 to do so.
15. After I place an order, when can I expect to receive my item?
We endeavour to dispatch items the same day we receive the order, so long as the payment has been received before 4pm (GMT) that day. However, we cannot always guarantee that this will always be the case.
16. Do You Accept Layaway, Payment Plans or Financing?
Yes, we do. We accept instalments on a case by case basis, usually weekly, fortnightly or monthly, with a maximum timeframe of 3 months To discuss what works for you please drop us a line.
17. Will you hold an item?
Yes, we will. Any item may be reserved for up to 72 hours. For longer, let us know and we will try to accommodate your needs. Please note, reserving an item does not occur automatically so there may be a short delay while we recieve your request.
18. Are your prices negotiable?
No. We price our items fairly based on the current market. However, if you can't resist haggling we won't not listen to your offer.
19. Do you have any special deals?
In general, no, but very occasionally we will offer promotional deals and voucher codes to coincide with special events.
20. What are your shipping policies?
All items bought through our website are delivered worldwide, for FREE of charge. In the UK, we deliver using Royal Mail Special Delivery, arriving next day before 1pm (excluding Sundays). For international orders, we use Royal Mail International Business Tracking and Signature Services (2 days to Western Europe, 4 days to Eastern Europe, 6 days to the USA & ROW). All items are fully insured and sent at the risk of the Antique Jewellery Company. Items will be sent out as soon as your money has been cleared. Please note an adult signature is required to receive all packages. Please click here for more information.
21. I live internationally. Can I receive my item faster than your standard delivery?
Yes, you can. We are happy to arrange premium shipping via Fedex, which is faster than our standard delivery service (1-2 days to the US). This will be at an extra cost of £50. Please get in touch if you wish to arrange such a delivery.
22. Can I track my package?
Yes, we’ll email you your tracking information once your item has been dispatched.
23. My purchase is a surprise. Is the AJC written on the outside of the package?
Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us! Your item will arrive in plain, generic packaging without our name present on the package.
24. What is your returns policy?
We offer a 'no quibble', 14 day full money back guarantee on all online purchases. Items must be returned in the same condition we sent them in. All you pay for is the return cost of shipping and insurance. Please click here for more information.
25. Do you offer ring sizing?
Yes, we do offer sizing.
26. How long does sizing take?
Sizing can generally be done in a few days, depending on the workload of our jeweller.
27. How Much Does Sizing Cost?
Your first sizing is complimentary with the purchase of a ring. Each additional sizing is £50 for gold and £75 for platinum.
28. Can all of your rings be resized?
Yes, unless stated in the ring's description.
29. Do you perform jewellery repairs or sizing on items that were not bought through the AJC?
No, we only work on our own items.
30. Do antique rings require different care?
Generally not. If you have a Victorian or Georgian ring that is close backed or foil backed, then you probably shouldn’t submerge it in water. Very few of our rings include this detail, but if you are concerned, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
31. Do you offer appraisal services?
Appraising items in-house would present a conflict of interest. If you would like your item appraised, we can secure an appraisal from a third party certified appraiser.
Any Other Questions?
Why not drop us a line or pay us a visit!
Please leave your name and number if we are not available and we will return your call as soon as possible.