Despite the prolific use of the terms antique and vintage, in the jewelry trade, they do have specific meanings. This is good news for those interested in truly antique or vintage pieces as it eliminates confusion around modern reproductions of jewelry from specific eras. Often reproductions are poor quality and fail to employ the techniques and materials used during the time period in question. Let’s explore the meaning of the terms antique and vintage.
Vintage describes a piece made between 50 and 100 years ago. So at this time, anything produced between the 1920s and 1970s is considered vintage. Vintage jewelry includes the Retro Modern Era, 1945-1960, which was characterized by colorful, bold and flamboyant pieces like large cocktail rings, bracelets, necklaces, pins and more. Gold was the metal of choice during this era because platinum was not available during World War II. If you have a quality vintage piece, after 100 years it becomes an antique.
Antique describes pieces made at least 100 years ago, so any piece created around 1920 and before is considered antique. There were many eras of jewelry that are now antique and many of the surviving pieces have a lot of history associated with them due to their age. One of the eras, the Arts and Crafts Era, 1894-1923, features jewelry that rebelled against the styles created by machines during the Industrial Revolution. The pieces were simple and handmade without excessive decoration.
Check out all the different styles of vintage and antique jewelry and see what suits your style. Share your pictures with us on our Facebook page.