Vintage Jewelry – What is it?

There is a lot of confusion about the term “Vintage Jewelry” or “Vintage Jewellery”. Let me try to clarify this issue for you once and for all and give you the proper definition of this term plus a few others related to jewelry.

For a piece of jewelry to be authentic vintage, it must be at least 20 years old. Some dealers and collectors classify vintage as 25 years or more. One cannot make “vintage jewelry” as it has to be at least that old. You can use vintage parts, beads, and findings but that does not make your jewelry vintage as it does not make it old. If it is made today, it is new Contemporary Jewelry.

When we define as Vintage it means that piece is 20 years old or older. When you shop with us, if a piece is called Vintage it is authentic Vintage, at least 20 years old. For the current time frame, jewelry of the 1980’s can be classified as Vintage as it falls between the 20 and 25 years old parameter. Jewelry from 1997 or newer is not vintage just yet.

14K Gold Atomic Princess Ring Garnet Cluster Large

Antique Jewelry must be 100 years or older. If it isn’t that old, then it is vintage, even if it looks older. If it is not 20 years or older than it is neither vintage nor antique. It is defined as Contemporary Pre-Owned.

If a piece of jewelry is a worthy piece but not 20 years old, then it is defined as pre-owned until it reaches the minimum threshold of 20 years of age to become Vintage.

Unfortunately, these terms are used, misused and over-used to describe many styles made today. That is not correct.

For Contemporary Jewelry with a vintage or antique flair, they should be described as vintage-inspired jewelry, vintage style jewelry, antique-inspired jewelry or antique style jewelry, even if parts of the jewelry made today are old.

The terms upcycled and recycled jewelry could apply to Contemporary Jewelry if the bulk of the piece is old. It requires that a complete (broken or not) old piece be used as the core for a new design. I would certainly hope that anyone making Upcycled Jewelry would use broken older pieces that cannot be repaired and not destroy a perfectly good old piece of jewelry to make something new unless it can be easily reversed. I do use old hopelessly broken vintage and antique jewelry to create some of my new designs. I have seen several designs made today from perfectly good and quite valuable old jewelry. Some of these are sold at a lower price than the original older piece is currently worth!

I have been in the jewelry business for a long time, both as a designer and as a purveyor. I carry both Vintage and Antique Jewelry and sometimes use vintage and antique parts in my new contemporary jewelry.

Whatever definition is used in our jewelry site, rest assured we have invested lots of time researching and are absolutely positive of the authenticity of the jewelry being offered.

Hope this helps to clarify this issue!

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