Vintage, estate and antique jewelry are terms that are often used interchangeably by most people who don’t know the difference between them. Essentially, all these kinds of jewelry have one thing in common; they all belong to the bygone era. However, the age of each kind of jewelry clearly demarcates it between vintage, estate and antique.
Any piece of jewelry that has been used is termed as estate jewelry. This could be any second-hand jewelry even if it is a year old. Any type of jewelry that is not brand new is defined as estate jewelry. For instance, if you have bought yourself a beautiful pendant 5 years back, but don’t find it stylish anymore and decide to sell it to the jeweler; he will classify the pendant as a piece of estate jewelry. However, to classify jewelry easily, jewelers usually limit the term estate to pieces that are not more than 30 years old. A bracelet your mom got 25 years ago and gifted to you will be considered a piece of estate jewelry passed down one generation.
Any jewelry that was made during the mid-1900s is considered to be vintage; especially something that is over 30-40 years in age. It is usually made with high-quality metals and gemstones, which have stood the test of time. When the term vintage is used by a reputed jeweler, you can be sure that the piece belongs to the Art Deco era or later. Buying in a piece of vintage jewelry is like investing in a piece of craftsmanship that can never be copied or recreated with the same finesse. For instance, your grandmother’s wedding ring, if sold today would be categorized as vintage and get you a decent amount too.
Jewelry that is made in the late 1800s or early 1900s is considered to be antique. Pieces that are over a hundred years old are defined as antique, and usually fetch a lot of money owing to its antiquity and royal look. When the term antique is used by a reliable jeweler, you can be rest assured that the piece is an heirloom belonging to the Art Nouveau period or earlier. However, it is always wise to check if the piece you are buying is antique in age or antique in style. When the word style is used alongside antique, it simply means that the piece is a reproduction of the old style. A real piece of antique jewelry would probably be your great grandmother’s pearl necklace, which has been passed down several generations.
Often styles and trends keep reinventing themselves and make it hard for us to trace the jewelry’s history. Even after doing a lot of research about the types, you may still be in doubt while purchasing or selling it. During such a time, you can contact a jewelry expert, who can help you determine what kind your jewelry falls under. An expert is trained to observe the finesse and date it correctly to fetch you the best price.
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