What’s the Difference Between Antique and Vintage Jewelry


When you’re growing your jewelry collection, you can add value and beauty by investing in vintage and antique jewelry.

Do you know the difference between vintage jewelry and antique jewelry? We’re going to tell you in this guide. By the end, you will know exactly what you’re looking for to expand your fine jewelry collection.

Vintage Jewelry vs Antique Jewelry

The difference between vintage and antique jewelry is its age. Jewelry must be at least two decades old to be called vintage. Antique jewelry, on the other hand, must be at least 100 years old.

Because of this distinction, vintage jewelry is easier to find than antique jewelry. Essentially, all antique jewelry is also vintage jewelry, but it doesn’t work the other way around.

Plus, in the last twenty years, jewelry was much more mass-produced than it was 100 years ago, which is another reason why vintage jewelry is more available. For instance, you can find great rhinestone costume jewelry that is considered vintage now. 

What about silver jewelry or gold jewelry? Again, its classification of vintage or antique depends on its age. Since gold and silver are long-time popular jewelry materials, you can find both vintage and antique options.

What if It Says Vintage or Antique Style?

This is something to be aware of. If you want to add an authentic vintage or antique piece of jewelry to your collection, you need to make sure it is legitimate.

Often, a piece of jewelry will be advertised as antique or vintage jewelry style, which simply means it was designed in a style from a certain time period, but it may not actually be from that time period. It may even be copied from a popular piece of jewelry from a certain year.

The Best Places to Find Vintage and Antique Jewelry

If you are looking for authentic jewelry pieces from past decades and time periods, here are the best places to find them:

  • Yard sales
  • Flea markets
  • Estate sales
  • Antique shops
  • Antique shows
  • Auctions
  • Etsy

Finding antique and vintage jewelry takes more time and effort than buying new jewelry, but you will find one-of-a-kind pieces that you will cherish for years.

What About Estate Jewelry?

Another classification of older pieces of jewelry is estate jewelry. This simply means that it was owned by someone else before you owned it. The previous owner does not have to be deceased for it to be considered estate jewelry.

Estate jewelry does not have to be at least two decades old. In fact, it can be relatively new jewelry and still considered estate jewelry because it was previously owned.

Engagement rings from called-off weddings are often sold as “estate rings” even though they are not vintage or antique. Once again, if you are looking for an authentic vintage or antique jewelry piece, this is another reason why you need to verify its age.

Add Value to Your Jewelry Collection

Now that you know the difference between antique and vintage jewelry, your search will be easier. Vintage jewelry is beautiful, timeless, and adds value to your jewelry collection.

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