We all know the famous ‘Romeo and Juliet’ quote “A rose by any other name would still smell just as sweet.” You might ask what’s in a name? Does it really matter if I say vintage, antique or estate? The answer would be yes, it does. Many people use the three interchangeably, but they connote different things and as a consumer it’s important to know what each one means.
Estate is a very fancy sounding term, but don’t let it fool you. All it means is that the jewelry has been previously owned. It could have been purchased the week before or 5 years before. An estate piece can be anything from a simple inexpensive gold ring, to a very expensive designer piece. Estate pieces make great buys since they are usually sold for a fraction of what they would cost new.
Vintage makes it sound old, but the key is how old. Vintage jewelry refers to anything made in the last 100 years. This includes the latter end of the art deco period, through the 1980s. You will sometimes see things circa 2000, referred to as vintage, don’t be fooled, these are simply pre-owned estate pieces.
Antique Jewelry refers to things over a 100 years old. These are things from the early 1900’s, as well as Georgian, Edwardian, Victorian, and The Arts & Crafts periods, to name a few.
It’s important to know these facts when shopping. Not every antique jewelry dealer is honest and reputable. When you can enter the conversation with a leg up, it’s always a benefit.