Antique Jewelry vs. Vintage Jewelry

Antique jewelry and vintage jewelry have made a fierce comeback lately and there are a lot of similarities between the two. It can be difficult understanding the difference, but let’s go into it a little deeper.

The first thing you should know is the age of a piece. This can determine if the jewelry is vintage or antique. Vintage jewelry is usually from a specific time within the last 99 to 20 years. While Antique jewelry usually has a unique style that represents an era more than 100 years ago. Any jewelry younger than 20 years is usually known as estate jewelry if it has had a previous owner.

So, what are some examples you may ask. Well here are a few helpful photos of three different eras to help you understand. Take note that each era carries a distinct style and preference.

The Georgian period covered the reigns of five English kings. The reigns of George I, II, III, IV, and William IV lasted from 1714 to 1837. Most surviving jewelry from this period is handmade, typically with 18K gold and silver. Because gold was so expensive during the Georgian period, most diamonds were set in silver that was backed with gold to protect the silver from tarnishing over time.

The Victorian Period was named for Queen Victoria. Victoria obtained the throne in 1837 when she was only 18 years old. Her tastes in fashion and jewelry were highly regarded and inspired the jewelry trends of the time. During this era, it was very common to use birthstones as engagement rings and it wasn’t until her later years that diamonds gained popularity. Victoria’s beloved Albert unfortunately passed away in 1861 and inspired gold lockets with black jet pieces.

Edward VII, took the throne in 1901. New techniques emerged around this century allowing for platinum to be used. This helps with dating as no platinum was available before the 1900 century. Diamond pieces were much more popular along with vibrant green and blue stones.