The term vintage encompasses many categories of jewelry, spanning over past decades from varying eras of style. Each category can contain pieces ranging in value from a few dollars to thousands of dollars. If you have pieces of jewelry that you are interested in learning the value, whether it is for insurance purposes, resale, or merely for your own knowledge, an appraisal expert can help!
Knowing what category of vintage jewelry your piece or pieces falls within can help you find the right local appraisal expert to value your items. If you’re unsure, that’s alright, an appraisal expert should be able to provide you additional information about your jewelry.
Vintage Jewelry Versus Antique Jewelry
Vintage is usually used in reference to jewelry that is at least 20 years old, whereas the term antique references pieces that are at least 100 years old. Many of the popular styles that you hear of today originated from the late 1800s and early 1900s, include:
- Victorian– Jewelry designed and created between 1837 and 1901, when Queen Victoria reigned over Britain. Due to the long time period, Victorian pieces range in style from delicate designs to intricate statement pieces.
- Art Nouveau- From 1985-1915, Art Nouveau jewelry became popular. These pieces boast a decorative style, with romantic, delicate features.
- Edwardian– Light, elegant designs created between 1901 and 1915. Named for King Edward of England.
Some popular styles from the last 100 years include:
- Art Deco- This style was prominent from 1915-1935. Many sources indicate the emergence of the art deco style coincided with the World’s Fair held in Paris, France in 1925. Geometric designs and enamel inlay are signatures of art deco jewelry.
- Retro- As the economy grew after the war, retro jewelry became prominent from 1935-1950. This style features bold designs and heavy use of diamonds and colored gemstones.
- Mid Century– In the 1940s-1960s both platinum and gold jewelry were popular, with an emphasis on diamonds.
Vintage jewelry is sometimes referred to as costume jewelry. Pieces that fall into the costume category have a distinct aesthetic. Costume jewelry makes a big style statement and is not made of real gold, platinum, or precious stones. Sometimes costume jewelry pieces can be mistaken by an untrained eye, for fine jewelry. If you are unsure, an appraisal expert can help you differentiate.
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Working with an appraisal expert with experience in silver appraisal will help you understand the quality, age, and value of your silver jewelry. The value of silver is based on weight. Sterling silver is commonly marked with .925, which indicates that the silver content is 925 parts per every thousand. Silver jewelry may contain other marks, including a maker’s mark, which could help the appraiser indicate the age or origin of the piece.
Seek a Gemologist for Fine Jewelry Appraisal
If you are seeking an appraisal for fine jewelry that includes diamonds or other gemstones, it is important to consult a gemologist. You can contact your appraiser and they should be able to refer you to a local Gemologist, who will be able to value your fine jewelry.