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A Jewelry Collector's Guide to Finding the Most Obscure & Unique Pieces

Posted on May 28 2020

jewelry collectors guide finding obscure pieces

Jewelry collectors know the thrill of finding a dope new piece to add to their collection of chains, watches, bracelets, and rings, but how can you find more unusual pieces? Many people turn jewelry hunting into a hobby, always looking for a new and more eclectic piece. We love rocking a classic men’s gold chain necklace style as much as the next dude, but you definitely need a few totally different pieces that set you apart from the rest of the homies and their gold chains. 

If you’re looking to add something distinct to add to your collection, we’ve put together a list of tips, tricks, and things to keep in mind to help you find the dopest styles and prices.

Identify Your Style 

closeup gold link chains

Before you begin blindly shopping for any piece of jewelry that seems even a little bit cool, you should really have an idea of what kind of style you have. Some people tend to lean toward the more flashy, hip-hop-star style with big thick gold chains, blinged-out Rolex watches, and giant gemstone rings while others prefer a more subtle, chic look. Consider your wardrobe and what kind of pieces you already have before you start looking for something new. This will give you an idea of what you should be shopping for and send you in the right direction. 

Subtle But Classy 

Although hip hop jewelry is meant to be showy and in-you-face, there are certain settings in which you can’t be walking around with your thick iced-out Miami Cuban link chain. If you have an office job, this kind of jewelry is probably against dress code, so you have to don something a little more toned-down like a simple gold bracelet or a more delicate, thin chain like the Figaro style. 

subtle but classic graphic

If you’re looking for this kind of jewelry to expand your workplace accessories (or if you just prefer to fly under the radar a bit), then you’ll want to avoid too many big, flashy diamonds or thick chains with pendants.

Flashy

This is for the dude who’s always flaunting his biggest, best pieces everywhere he goes. You’re the kind of baller who walks into the club covered head to toe in diamonds—and everybody takes notice. Although this style of jewelry is often frowned upon in the workplace, it’s definitely a good look outside the office. Shop for iced-out Rolex watches, big unique pendant designs, and thick solid-gold necklaces to keep your accessories on fleek from the crib to the club.

Eclectic and Unusual 

For the baller who’s always rocking something no one else has, unusual pieces are the shit. You’re not looking to find the same basic solo chains or classic Jesus pieces. You crave the rare and remarkable, which means it’s usually a little difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Try to have a general idea of what you want before you begin researching because it will help you to narrow down your options. Iced-out emoji pendants and rose gold bracelets are some styles that don’t fit the typical hip hop jewelry mold but still give off that baller-ass attitude that every collector wants.

Vintage/Old School

Vintage jewelry can be super dope. It’s usually made in styles that aren’t around anymore, which makes it completely unique and difficult to find more than one. When shopping for this style, you need to look for reputable places that can verify the authenticity and antiquity of a piece. 

vintage jewelry collection

Old-school-style jewelry isn’t necessarily vintage but replicates pieces that were popular during hip hop’s inception. Although the rope chain is still widely available today, it’s usually a nod to early artists like Run DMC who loved donning thick, flashy rope chains with huge iced-out pendants.

How to Find Unique Pieces

Research, Research, Research

Before you buy any kind of jewelry, you really should be doing your research first. You need to understand the difference between gold plated and solid gold, understand diamond carat sizes, and learn which metals you prefer. 

Gold plated jewelry is a great option for someone who wants to spend a little less on their pieces. This type of swaggy accessory still features real gold but, instead of the entire piece being made from gold, it’s created by taking a metal alloy and covering it with a layer of gold metal. High-quality gold plated jewelry can last for years and looks just as baller as solid gold. 

It’s really all about your price range and what you’re looking for. During your research, you should also be seeking info from other jewelry collectors on their go-to places to find the dopest, unique pieces.

Shop at Unexpected Places

If you want to find something totally different, you need to seek out vintage shops, pawn stores, and eCommerce sites. Vintage shops and pawn stores tend to have a lot of things you might skip over, but, every once in a while, you’ll come across a piece of jewelry you’ve never seen before. Shopping online stores is another great way to find this type of merch because eCommerce stores usually have the ability to switch up their inventory frequently and offer a wide array of items like genuine Rolex watches and unique iced-out pendants. 

geniune rolex watches graphic

Shop Our Entire Rolex Watch Collection

Look For the Latest Trends

You may not think that trendy pieces are particularly obscure or unique, but often the newest styles are ahead of their time. Check out what your favorite hip hop stars are rocking this season for inspiration, and then shop popular looks like the chunky chains and layered multi-chain styles. 

Buy Jewelry Online

Shopping for jewelry online can be great because you’ll discover a whole world of hip hop jewelry that can sometimes be different from that found in  traditional jewelry stores. However, if you are gonna shop online, you need to be careful about where you buy from. 

Look for reputable brands like Frost NYC that have great customer reviews, clear exchange and return policies, and information on their jewelry’s authenticity. It’s easy to fall for an internet scam and end up spending hundreds or even thousands on a cheap-ass fake chain. Customer reviews are the best way to get a real idea of what the company is like, but look for reviews on third-party sites. You can also ask your homies where they find their chains to get a word-of-mouth recommendation.

Be Open-Minded About Costume Jewelry

Of course, the real deal is always better, but sometimes you can find fake pieces that are worth the wear. If you’re looking for a genuine men’s gold chain necklace, accidently buying a fake is a bummer, but, if you’re willing to buy a few pieces that aren’t authentic (and the site is very clear that their pieces are just costume jewelry), you can find some dope and cheap jewelry pieces to add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to your collection. 

searching for costume jewelry graphic

True hip hop jewelry collectors definitely want the real gold plated or solid gold pieces, but a few fun fake pieces are okay to mix in every once in a while. If you are going to spring for the fakes, don’t buy big, flashy cubic zirconia pendants. Save your money for an authentic statement piece. Instead, search for smaller, less noticeable items to avoid looking like you’re trying to pass a knockoff Flava Flav style chain for the real thing.

Tips for Buying Jewelry

Buy from a Reputable Source

We’ve already mentioned just how important customer reviews can be when buying online. Shopping for jewelry in the store is easier because you can see, touch, and try on the pieces. Plus, you can ask for information on the authenticity and the business’s policies face-to-face. But, with so many unique, dope styles out there on the internet, you should really explore and see what you can find. 

However, you want to look for a few things aside from customer reviews. Read through exchange and return policies. If none are featured on the site or they specifically say exchanges and returns are not allowed, take that as a red flag. It likely means that the company is doing something shady and doesn’t want you to try to return your item once you get it in the mail and realize it’s totally fake. 

Before purchasing, you should also check on the quality of their customer support. Is it easy to contact them? Do they have multiple ways to contact the company (i.e., phone number and chatbot on website)? If no contact info is available, be wary. This is another sign that they don’t want to deal with pissed-off customers when they realize they got ripped off. 

jewelry crafting gold ring

Look for a Stamp or Hallmark

Genuine gold, silver, and platinum jewelry always features a stamp or hallmark, sometimes called a maker’s mark. Essentially, a small design is stamped into the jewelry after it has been made, to inform the customer that the piece is authentic. It’s also sometimes a nod to the maker, letting collectors know who and where the piece was produced. 

If you’re suspicious that your piece may not be solid gold even though it was advertised as such, check for one of these marks. You can also perform a number of authenticity tests like the magnet test (real gold isn’t magnetic) or the skin test (does your skin turn green after wearing the jewelry?). 

Ask for a Certificate of Authenticity

Before purchasing any solid gold pieces, you should definitely ask the company or jeweler about receiving a certificate of authenticity. If, for some reason, they say that they can’t grant one or they don’t have it, something might be sketchy. Real gold and diamonds are typically sold with some type of certificate to let the buyer know what exactly the piece is made from and that it is genuine. 

However, some companies won’t grant these certificates unless the piece is over a certain value. This doesn’t mean the jewelry isn’t real. If you trust the brand and they seem reputable, then go with your gut and make the purchase as long as you inquire about the return policy. Once you have the jewelry, you can take it to an appraiser to determine its authenticity and return it to the store if it turns out to be something other than what they claimed to sell to you.

Maintain Your Pieces and Consider Purchasing Jewelry Insurance

After you’ve pulled the trigger and bought that dope new chain or Rolex watch that you’ve been thinking about for months, you want to make sure you’re taking good care of it. Store your authentic jewelry in a jewelry box to keep it safe from dust, dirt, and grime. You should also perform a weekly light cleaning and monthly deep cleaning to get rid of grease and dirt that have built up on the pieces. This will ensure that your jewelry looks fresh to death for years. 

storing your jewelry graphic

If you dropped a lot on one piece, and you’re worried about it becoming stolen or damaged, you can get insurance specifically for your jewelry. Some homeowner’s insurance policies cover items like this, but not always, which is why it’s a good idea to invest in extra protection. 

First, you’ll need to take the piece to an appraiser to verify its worth, and then you’ll need to shop policies and find one that makes sense for your budget. Some policies will even cover jewelry that has been lost or damaged, so consider what type of coverage you’re looking for from the jump. 

Get Your Next Dope Piece from Frost NYC

Man, if you’re shopping around for unique hip hop pieces to add to your already extensive jewelry collection, you’ve come to the right place. Frost NYC has a huge selection of classic styles and unusual looks like our iced-out emoji pendants or rose gold watches and bracelets. Each piece has been crafted by expert jewelers and sealed with a high-quality finish to keep that shiny, brand-new look for years to come. 

Find Your Next Piece Of Jewelry At Frost

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