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You will absolutely find that its pinstem is elongated, unless it's been snipped or replaced (rather commonplace, since those extra-long pins can *hurt*).Working from oldest to newest, the open C clasp has been around for a lonnnnng time.It was all in a good cause -- making them more secure and comfortable in use -- but the result has been, in most people's minds, mass confusion.PINSTEMS If you're looking at a pinstem long enough to stick you when the brooch is worn, extending beyond the jewel's edges, congratulations. If you're looking at a pinstem that appears to have been snipped, you're probably looking at a piece of antique jewelry.If you're sure it's original, you've achieved tight circa dating already.*crashing applause* Its scale and design will easily indicate whether the jewel should be termed Victorian, Edwardian or the era-spanning Art Nouveau or Arts and Crafts.If it isn't original, you know when it was added to an older jewel.

The real fun begins when you turn the piece over, because you can learn an enormous amount from findings (called fittings, if they're custom-made for the jewel); often you can discover more from the back than the front. Is there clear evidence of replacement (blobs of solder or a soldering pad, obvious regilding, etc.)?

If you're looking at a T-shaped hinge, likewise you know the piece is older than the 1890s (unless the jewel was hugely expensive and could be forged).

And yet a fully hallmarked Edwardian exception to that rule is here: Page/1921801236For further examples of what this type of clasp looks like, check these out: Page/1921764462 Page/1921801260 Page/1921419393The brooches at the last two URLs unquestionably date to 18, respectively.

It's crucial to determine whether clasps, hinges, wires and so forth are original. It's pretty hard to disguise a change of clasp or hinge on a brooch, and you can generally tell a pinstem has been shortened if it's slightly ragged, blunt or bent at the "pointy" end.

Necklaces and bracelets can be harder to judge, unless the catch is of a different color (and not simply worn through in places).

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