I've just started to include vintage jewelry in my Etsy shop. I have a great deal to learn, though.
To start, I've picked up a few jewelry collecting books. (Goodwill has been a great place to find books, as well as some lower end antique shops. Amazon has been okay. I have a $6 limit and I have dozens of collecting books.)
I find that the descriptions and photos are excellent and very helpful, but the prices are not to be bothered with. I've used many of the descriptions in my shop descriptions. I also like to say that the piece is found in xxx.
These books reflect the prices when the books were published, not at a time when the economy is in the tubes, so it's not much help now. One dealer at a flea market was quoting book prices to me when I was trying to make a deal. Finally, he realized I was not just a women buying a piece to wear and he said, "Yea, okay, so now let's talk reality."
Fine Fashion Jewelry from Sarah Coventry
Jennifer A. Lindbeck
Great colorful pages, lots of original company catalogs
Sarah Coventry Jewelry, An Unauthorized Guide for Collectors
Monica Lynn Clements
Great colorful pages, no original company catalogs
Here's my favorite Sarah Coventry set I have listed on Etsy -
Collecting Rhinestone and Colored Jewelry
Very few color pages. 157 pages of marks. Good descriptions.
Collecting Art Plastic Jewelry
Pretty pictures and rather obvious descriptions. Not much about who made the pieces and nothing about when.
Unsigned Beauties of Costume Jewelry
Marcia "Sparkles" Brown - yea, gotta love the Sparkles addition
Great for looking at pretty pictures and reading descriptions, but what's the point? There are not dates. If they are unsigned, they are unsigned and this book does not help try to figure out who made the pieces. Why write a book about things that you just look at and say, "Yes, this is a pretty brooch with white cabachon hearts." I've learned nothing from this book, I'm sorry to say, Sparkles. No, I take that back. There are some jewelry terms and colors I've learned to use - navette, I had to look up, for example.
Here is the shop section in Etsy where I have all my jewelry. I still have a box full to list...