In this article, we’re going to talk about the differences between antique, vintage and estate jewellery. We’ll also cover the different time periods including art deco, Victorian, Georgian and retro jewellery.
As always, you can visit our main website for Kirkcaldy here or give us a call on 01592 264305 and ask for Richard or Jackie to see what we have in at the time as we get different pieces constantly…
You never know what treasure you’ll find – it’s been called an “Aladdin’s Cave” by one of our customers!
What do all these terms mean?
“The terms antique, vintage, and estate are used to help date older pieces of fine jewelry. So what is considered vintage jewelry and what is considered antique? This is a common inquiry, and the answer varies from how we would classify vintage cars or old houses.
All jewelry that is not brand new is considered estate jewelry, but not all estate jewelry is considered vintage or antique. Antique jewelry and vintage jewelry are defined by when the item was made.
Estate jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is used. This term encompasses all second-hand jewelry, regardless of whether it could be defined as antique or vintage. The item could be less than a month old and it could still be considered estate jewelry.
Instead of describing all used pieces as estate jewelry, dealers usually limit this term to jewelry that was made within the last 30 years. Anytime this term is used to describe a piece of jewelry that may look like it’s much older than this, inquire to verify the exact age with the seller.
Jewelry has to be at least 20 to 30 years old to be considered vintage. This could be anything made during the 1990’s or earlier. Vintage is probably the most common term of the three since it encompasses a large collection of periods when jewelry was mass produced.
Would an engagement ring from the 1800’s be considered vintage? Technically speaking, yes. Although instead of classifying the ring as vintage, most dealers would call the ring antique so they can highlight just how old the ring is.
Antique jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is about 100 years old or older. Many pieces from the 1920’s are now considered antique, especially those made in the earlier part of the decade. When an item is called “antique” by a reliable dealer, you can rest assured that the heirloom is very old.
However, beware of the term “antique style” which is another reproduction indicator. Anytime the word “style” is used when describing a piece of jewelry that appears to be old but there is no other mention of the item’s age, this could mean the item is a reproduction.
Beware: The Term “Estate Jewelry” Can be Misleading
Sometimes the use of the terms “vintage” or “estate” can be misleading, so it is very important to understand how reputable dealers use these terms and how unreliable dealers use them so you can avoid accidentally buying a reproduction.
Read more from the original source here…
There are, of course, different eras to consider so we’ll go into those now…
“First Things First…I’m certain you’ve all heard people talk about vintage, retro and antique when your friends talk about the latest treasures they’ve found, but what is the real difference between each of these terms?
Antique – 100 years old or above. These pieces are rare, hand crafted and you rarely find more than one of the same piece due to their age. Think stunning broaches and elaborate diamond and pearl studded bracelets.
Vintage – Between 20 and 100 years old, this currently means that 90’s jewellery is not considered to be vintage – no matter how much you love that ying-yang charm choker! Think strings of pearls with cameo clasps, art deco earrings and oversized rings.
Retro – Usually brightly coloured designs. Anything really from the 1950’s onwards fits into this category, but the designs that are considered retro are not as fine as those that are classed as vintage as they are more shouty and elaborate. Think brightly coloured gem stones, gold and charm bracelets.
The Georgian Period
It is very rare that you will come across jewellery from this period but if you do it is typically made from either gold or silver. A tell tale sign of Georgian jewellery is the shape of the stones – look for Rose and Table cut stones including diamonds and sapphires.
The Victorian Period
Birthstones were very fashionable in the Victorian era and were even used in place of diamonds in engagement rings – though that’s not to say that diamonds weren’t popular too! The solitaire cut was created in this period.
The Edwardian Period
Platinum was used a lot throughout the Edwardian period and jewellers were becoming more advanced in their work, so jewellery became much more elegant and feminine. Garnets and diamonds were the stones of choice.
The Roaring Twenties to Fun Fifties…
Jewellery became more glamourous thanks to the Hollywood years. World War II saw gold replacing platinum in jewellery making. Emerald cut stones were ever popular and semi-precious stones became more widely used due to rationing and the availability of other more precious stones. Jewellery was often more modest, but still intricate in design. This era saw pearls become high in demand – (did you know that in 1917 Pierre Cartier bought his mansion on 5th Avenue – now the New York Cartier store – in exchange for a double strand of natural pearls he had been collecting and were valued an estimated $1million at the time! WOW!)
It’s time for Retro…
Diamonds again became popular following the war and designs became more extravagant. Platinum became popular again and engraved jewellery came into fashion. Through the sixties and seventies, pieces were more colourful so as to complement the fashions of the times.
Read more from the original source here…
Then, finally, we have the Nouveau Style Jewellery…
“The Nouveau Style period was from 1890 through 1910 when art nouveau jewellery was exotic, expressive, and exuberant. New art or, “art nouveau” in French, was a time period of both the mystical and imaginative world of art jewellery. Some of the popular items and themes that you would have found during this time period would have been gentle curves in many jewellery designs along with colours that would have been light or pale such as moonstone, peridot, opal, pearls, amethyst, and even citrine. Other things used to help solidify this time period as Nouveau Style jewellery would have been the use of glass, ivory, horn, and even copper.
Many of the engagement rings of the Nouveau style period were made to tell of story of some sort. They were more than just engagement rings as they displayed many artistic characteristics that have not been seen before this time period or after this time period, making them truly unique in their own right.
See more from the original source here…
There you have it, hope you found it interesting?!
If you have anything to add, comment below!
The following blog post What’s The Difference Between Antique, Estate And Vintage Jewellery? was first published on A.K. Campbell & Sons Blog