Most of us know silver and gold items are valuable, but you might not realize how spectacular the origins of these elements really are. Star explosions called supernovae are actually responsible for their formation. When these stars (which are approximately 10 times the size of our sun) explode at the end of their lives, the result is the silver and gold we use in countless household items and jewelry. Between these incredible beginnings and their sentimental value, it's no wonder we often consider these jewelry pieces to be among our most prized possessions.
That said, you may not really know what your jewelry is actually worth, particularly if it's been passed down through the generations. What's more, you might assume that jewelry dealers make no discrimination between antique, vintage, and estate jewelry. You might not even be familiar with these terms at all. In today's blog post, we'll discuss the distinct differences between these jewelry categories and what you should do if you want to learn the value of (and potentially sell) some of the pieces in your collection.
What Is Vintage Jewelry?
The term "vintage" can be used to refer to clothing or jewelry that's at least 20 to 30 years old. In other words, a piece from the 1980s could technically be considered vintage. However, many purists feel that vintage jewelry should be anywhere from 50 to 100 years old (though there are exceptions). These pieces are usually associated with a specific decade or style, like Victorian, Art Deco, or Mid-Century Modern. Most dealers will categorize pieces created from the 1920s and onward as vintage. Many are more wearable than antiques and utilize trends we still see today, particularly among those who love a retro flair.
What Is Estate Jewelry?
Estate jewelry is second-hand (meaning it had a previous owner) and may be either a reproduction or a piece that's been made within the last 30 years. In some cases, the jewelry may be older. The prior owner of these pieces may still be alive or may have passed on; this really has nothing to do with how the jewelry is classified. Age is also not a determining factor, specifically. Even if you sell your brand-new wedding ring to someone else, this could still be considered estate jewelry. All this term really indicates is that you are not the original owner of the piece.
What Is Antique Jewelry?
Those who buy antique jewelry are looking for pieces that are over 100 years old. This is really the oldest category and is typically seen as the most valuable, too. Some jewelers will consider pieces from the '20s to be considered antiques, but you'll definitely see jewelry from the 1900s or prior classified as such. But if you're looking to buy or sell antique jewelry, these pieces are definitive heirlooms that have superior craftsmanship. Although antique gold jewelry and silver jewelry is comprised of higher-quality materials, these pieces are often too valuable and too fragile to wear on a regular basis. In many cases, they may be seen more as valuables or collector's items.
How Can I Sell Antique Jewelry, Estate Jewelry, or Vintage Jewelry?
If you want to sell antique jewelry or even estate or vintage jewelry, you'll want to seek out reputable antique and silver dealers. This can ensure that you'll fetch a fair price for these historic pieces and that they will be sold to those with an interest in such heirlooms. In other words, they won't be melted down or sold for a fraction of what they're truly worth. To learn more about how to sell antique jewelry, estate jewelry, or vintage jewelry, contact us today. We'd love to be of assistance.