Vintage, estate, and antique are used to describe pieces of old jewelry. It’s a common question for people to ask what these terms refer to and how to identify one from another. However, the answer varies, similar to how you would classify a fleet of vintage cars.
All jewelry that is not brand new is widely considered estate jewelry. However, the difference between vintage and antique depends specifically on when exactly the jewelry was made.
Most commonly associated with a specific era, vintage jewelry is usually from time periods in history such as: Art Deco, Retro, Mid-Century Modern, Victorian, Georgian, among many others. Vintage jewelry must be at least 20 to 30 years old, meaning anything made earlier than the 90’s. As it encompasses a wide collection of periods when jewelry was mass produced, vintage is arguably the most common term of the two seen below.
Customarily defined as jewelry crafted more than 100 years ago, antique jewelry is the oldest and often the most valuable. When a professional dealer uses the word “antique” you can rest assured that that item is a very old heirloom.
Be aware of the use of the phrase “antique style” as it is often used to describe replica pieces. Unless there is a mention of exactly how many years old the item is, then it may be a reproduction antique.
This term encompassed all second-hand jewelry even if it could still be described as vintage or antique. Most jewelers use the term “estate” to describe anything less than 30 years old, it also may be used to describe a reproduction.
It is important to recognize the difference between these terms whether you are buying or selling. The beauty of antique, vintage and estate jewelry are that it possesses distinctive qualities of workmanship, individuality, and rarity that are appreciated by collectors and stylish clients alike.
There is often a lot of confusion surrounding these terms, if you are still in doubt, contact one of our experts at Precious Metals Refinery, we can educate you on what type of jewelry you are dealing with. Arrange a consultation today!