What is the Difference Between Estate and Vintage Jewelry?


What is the Difference Between Estate and Vintage Jewelry?

While shopping for jewelry, you have likely come across the terms estate and vintage jewelry. But if you have been wondering just what the difference between estate and vintage jewelry is, you are not alone. These terms are often misunderstood or used synonymously by jewelry buyers and sellers alike. Keep reading as we explain the difference between estate and vintage jewelry so you can always shop with confidence. 


What is estate jewelry?

Estate jewelry is any piece of jewelry that had a previous owner. Even jewelry that was privately owned for just a few days and then sold is considered estate. 

A jewelry’s age, style, and condition do not factor into whether it can be classified as an estate piece. However, certain jewelers will use the term estate jewelry to describe any jewelry that is less than 30 years old. 


What is vintage jewelry?

Vintage jewelry refers to any piece made between 20 to 100 years ago. 

Vintage jewelry also gets confused with antique jewelry; however, antique jewelry describes any piece that is over 100 years old and includes Georgian Era, Victorian Era, Edwardian Era, and the early Art Deco era jewelry.


Audrey Hepburn, What is the Difference Between Estate and Vintage Jewelry?


Beware of any jeweler that says it is a vintage “style,” “reproduction,” or “inspired” as they are modern pieces crafted to mirror an older style of jewelry. If you are ever unsure of when a piece of jewelry was made, be sure to ask the seller. 


Vintage jewelry styles

As vintage jewelry spans several decades, there are major jewelry movements that emerged across eras with distinctive styles. 

Art Deco (1920’s-1930’s): Following World War 1, people were imbued with a sense of freedom, and the Jazz Age brought bold colors and patterns into all aspects of design. People used lavish jewelry to express themselves and make statements.

Geometric patterns are the hallmark of Art Deco jewelry, where jewelry featured straight lines and angles that created intricate patterns. With advancements in gemstone cutting, geometric gemstones were also popular such as emeralds, asschers, and baguettes. 

Jewelry was often made with cool-toned metals, such as platinum and silver, that perfectly contrasted against their vibrant gemstone accents. 

The Great Depression in 1929 led to the start of mass-produced jewelry, as opposed to more time-consuming bespoke pieces with fine detailing and pricy gemstones. 


Retro Modern (late 1930’s – 1950s): Retro Modern jewelry was heavily influenced by World War 2 and the limits placed on raw materials during the time. Due to the war platinum (which was widely popular during the Art Deco era) was banned and gem mines were closed. 

As an alternative, jewelry was made with gold and semi-precious gems. Large spans of heavily polished gold made up for the lack of precious gems and pave diamonds that had been commonplace in fine jewelry. 

The jewelry of this era was reflective of the wartime spirit with motifs such as bracelets with repeating links that mirrored tank tracks. Brooches were a popular way to transform a more masculine outfit with a touch of femininity, whether pinned to a dress, hat, or even a bag. 


Mid-Century (1950’s – 1960’s): 

After World War 2, people were able to return to luxurious jewelry and sought out fresh, feminine styles to distance themselves from the somberness of the war. 

The French were considered the leaders in fashion, and Hollywood stars became trendsetters. People looked towards the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, who were dazzling on and off-screen in their elaborate jewels. 


Elizabeth Taylor - What is the Difference Between Estate and Vintage Jewelry?


Abstract designs such as starbursts and diamond clusters were popular as well as elaborately detailed animals, which designers like Cartier and David Webb were masters of creating. Metals also incorporated many textures like curves, braids, and vines, which created depth and movement. 

At this time, jewelry without gemstones was reserved for daytime wear, while gemstone adorned jewelry was worn at night. However, designers such as Van Cleef & Arpels wanted to revolutionize what defined fine jewelry with their beloved Alhambra necklace that is celebrated to this day in how it combines gold, semi-precious gemstones, and precious gemstones. 


Why shop estate or vintage jewelry?

You may be wondering why some people choose to shop for estate or vintage jewelry instead of buying a new piece. There are plenty of amazing perks when shopping for estate and vintage jewelry:

  • You get to preserve the lifetime of existing jewelry and become part of its history.
  • Pre-owned jewelry is usually more affordable than its modern and unworn counterparts. 
  • Vintage jewelry is made with amazing craftsmanship that is unique to its era that cannot be truly reproduced in new jewelry. 
  • Fine vintage and estate jewelry are made to last a lifetime and is constructed with high-quality materials that can endure daily wear. 
  • Buying pre-owned jewelry is an incredibly sustainable option as you prevent the mining of new precious metals and gemstones that damage the environment. 
  • Wearing vintage and estate jewelry is an easy way to make a statement when everyone else you know shops the same designers and styles. 
  • With modern jewelry, you are limited to current styles, but with vintage and estate pieces, you have a century worth of jewelry to select from. 


Where to buy estate and vintage jewelry?

Now that you have mastered the difference between estate and vintage jewelry, you can peruse jewelry stores for your favorite type of jewelry. But why not skip the long search and shop directly with the experts at LuxuryBazaar.com?


At Luxury Bazaar, we have an outstanding collection of estate, vintage, and modern jewelry that is sure to delight. No matter your style or who you are shopping for, our experts are always available to help you find the perfect jewelry that fits your budget. 

Luxury Bazaar is your one-stop-shop for your favorite high-end brands, must-have jewelry, and rare pieces with competitive prices. 

With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and countless five-star reviews, LuxuryBazaar.com is the safer, smarter, and most affordable way to shop for fine jewelry. 

Previous article:
Next article: