The Difference Between Antique and Vintage Jewelry

At Dover Jewelry & Antiques we’ve established ourselves as online leaders for buying and selling both Antique Jewelry and Vintage Jewelry.

We’ve traveled across the world to buy antique and vintage jewelry that are exceptional and extraordinary.

The antique and vintage jewelry collections we offer online will certainly exceed your expectations, but we shall first explain the exact difference between antique and vintage jewelry.

Antique Jewelry Periods

In broad terms, for a piece of jewelry to be classified as “antique” it needs to be at least 100 years old. This definition limits antique jewelry periods to Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, and the early Art Deco jewelry periods.

Vintage Jewelry Periods

Many jewelry items can be categorized as belonging to both antique and vintage periods. This is due to the broad definition of vintage to encompass almost any jewelry period, from as early as 1700’s ( more precisely the Georgian period ) and as recent as the late 1900’s. For instance, we may locate vintage jewelry from the following periods:

  • Vintage Georgian Jewelry ( 1714 – 1837 )
  • Vintage Victorian Jewelry ( 1837 – 1901 )
  • Vintage Edwardian Jewelry ( 1890 – 1905 )
  • Vintage Art Nouveau Jewelry ( 1895 – 1910 )
  • Vintage Art Deco Jewelry ( 1910 – 1935 )
  • Vintage Retro Jewelry also referred to as ‘Post War’ Period ( 1930’s, and 40’s, extending to 50’, 60’ and 70’s )

It is worth noting that as the Art Deco period faded, the world was recovering from the Great Depression, only to be plunged head on into the Second World War. Precious stones and precious metals in particular, were rare and difficult to find, and in some cases banned from use in jewelry production. These events contributed to the specific characteristics of the Retro jewelry period.

Distinguishing Antique from Vintage Jewelry

Antique and vintage jewelry both offer an array of rare and beautiful objects. However, with the numerous bold features introduced during the Retro period, you may wonder which criteria would render your collection of antique and vintage jewelry unique or rare.

The age of a jewelry item, which often determines the artisanship and masterful goldsmithing techniques of the past, is of great significance. The older the jewelry, the more valuable it can be, which makes the difference between antique and vintage jewelry more obvious.

In case you are in search of rare and unique antique and vintage jewelry, please remember that knowing the dynamics of such jewelry can make a great difference. Here are some guidelines to help you in your search for antique and vintage jewelry pieces.

Size: Most antique and vintage jewelry pieces (with exceptions allowed for pieces produced during the vintage Retro era) tend to follow a “standard size” pattern. For example, measuring along its longest edge, the average antique brooch is about 1.5 to 2 inches. Finding a brooch or any other period jewelry item that’s larger than the average can set a jewelry piece apart.

Material: Jade, Lucite, Bakelite, wood and ceramic materials were not commonly used in antique and vintage jewelry. Rare materials do not necessarily have to be the most highly priced ones yet they can still contribute to the value of such antique and vintage jewelry pieces.

Shape: Round, oval, oblong or square are considered standard shapes in antique and vintage jewelry. When looking for the unusual, look for items that are three dimensional or sculptural, like animal profiles.

Style: Rare antique and vintage jewelry will often have stones that vary in shape, size and color. Find a piece that captures your attention and offers some variation.

Designer & Manufacturer Hallmarks: Antique and vintage jewelry pieces that do not bear a designer name or hallmark stamped (or engraved) on them, are not considered as rare as hallmarked or signed antique and vintage jewelry pieces. Obviously, not all jewelry makers will be as desirable or collectable as others.

Next time you come across a period jewelry piece that fascinates you, look at these factors. It’s easy to get hooked on shopping for rare antique and vintage jewelry.

Ask Us About Antique & Vintage Jewelry for Sale

Dover Jewelry’s online jewelry gallery is full of rare and exclusive period jewelry pieces; many were handmade by skillful craftsmen and have stood the test of time. Each and every antique jewelry piece for sale in our gallery has been inspected by our master jewelers to ensure top quality and authenticity.

While our jewelry headquarters are located in Miami Florida, we travel the world to buy and sell and our customers are scattered throughout the United States and the rest of the world.

We invite you to buy antique and vintage jewelry online at Dover Jewelry, including our Antique Rings and Vintage Engagement Rings. Along with antique and vintage jewelry pieces, we also buy and sell Estate Jewelry.

For more information about any of our antique and vintage jewelry pieces for sale, including antique rings, earrings, bracelets brooches, necklaces and pendants, please:

Call Dover Jewelry toll free at 1- 877-777-6111

Send us an email.

Or fill out our Antique Vintage Jewelry contact form.