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Difference between antique and vintage jewelry

Lady wearing hat brooch

If you are confused or unsure of the differences among  AntiqueVintage and Estate items, you are not alone. The three are confused and misused quite often. But here is a quick analysis of the difference among three categories: estate, antique, and vintage jewelry. You’ll no longer be confused.

Estate Jewelry 

This one is really easy. If an item has a previous owner it is considered “Estate”. However, that does not mean it’s vintage or antique. Or, necessarily unique or valuable. Nor does it mean the previous owner is deceased. While the previous owners of a considerable percentage of estate jewelry have passed away, that status should have nothing to do with the value of the “estate.”   Therefore, while many estate pieces on the market today may be 50, 100, even 150+ years old, age is not a determining factor when it comes to classifying estate jewelry. You shouldn’t ignore these estate sales if you are a collector. There may be a genuine antique awaiting you. Or, just a simply a beautiful, collectable piece of jewelry or objet d’art. But you should know the differences between antique and vintage jewelry before you make a purchase.

Antique Jewelry 

What’s the difference between antique and vintage jewelry? A piece of jewelry is considered “Antique” if it is a 100 years or older. In general, you’ll find antique jewelry is crafted with a superior level of craftsmanship. That includes higher-quality materials compared to modern pieces found on the market today. However, due to the relative scarcity and sheer age of jewelry by the time it can be classified as “antique”, the majority of antique jewelry is too valuable to be worn or at times even displayed. But many pieces are in excellent condition and can be worn with pride. In order to determine whether or not an item is antique, you’ll have to do some research to make sure it isn’t a fake.

All about Vintage Jewelry

On the other hand, a piece of jewelry is considered “vintage” if it is between 50 years old and 100 years old.  Vintage pieces are often worn and displayed, as they are more likely to be in excellent condition. Vintage jewelry designs are also easier to incorporate into fashion-forward outfits to create unique statements—as vintage jewelry designs are relatively current, easily paring with today’s hottest trends while adding an extra flair to any outfit! But if you have a great antique piece and it’s in good condition, wear it by all means! What a great conversation starter.

Along these lines, read our blog about the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

If you would like to learn more about gemstones, go the the education section of GIA.

Read all our blogs about jewelry/objet d’art

Also, you might like to check out our Vintage Costume Jewelry collection. The pieces are gorgeous. How about our Objet d’Art collection. Exquisite.

Whatever you purchase from Regency Jewelry can be trusted to be as we say. Our items are appraised by an independent, certified appraiser. 


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