A Comprehensive Guide To Choosing Vintage Jewelry

The word vintage comes from the Old French word vendange and was used to refer to wine. Today, we use the word vintage to describe jewelry made in the past. Just like a fine wine, vintage jewelry ages beautifully and gracefully. 

Vintage jewelry and vintage inspired jewelry are eloquent pieces with designs that have stood the test of time. Understanding which pieces of jewelry are vintage can be overwhelming, but our comprehensive guide will break everything down for you. We will cover how to identify and appraise vintage jewelry, where to look for it and how to choose a piece, and some of our best tips for choosing vintage jewelry. 

WHAT CLASSIFIES SOMETHING as vintage?

The terms ‘vintage’ and ‘antique’ are often loosely thrown around to refer to something that has value because it is old. You might be wondering what truly classifies something as vintage and what’s the difference between vintage and antique?

Jewelry is classified as vintage when it was made 50 - 100 years in the past. So if you’re buying vintage jewelry in 2021, you’ll be looking for pieces made between 1921 and 1971. Jewelry is classified as antique when it was made more than 100 years ago. 

WHY BUY vintage jewelry?

What makes these items so special? Well, vintage jewelry carries a lot of value. Some vintage pieces have been passed down from generation to generation, carrying its family’s history.

Not only do these pieces symbolize a connection between generations, they also symbolize the beauty of aging. As we age, we grow wiser and become more knowledgeable; we have stories and lessons to share.

Our jewelry, too, gains value as it ages alongside us. Vintage jewelry reminds your loved ones of your legacy even after you’re gone.

A jewelry piece’s past can still be exciting even if it hasn’t been passed down from family members. When you purchase a piece of vintage jewelry, you also purchase a piece of history. You can identify which era the piece was likely made in and speculate on who might have worn it.

Unlike the mass produced jewelry today, lots of vintage jewelry was handcrafted. You’ll notice the difference in craftsmanship in the details. The individualized design that goes into each piece of vintage jewelry is another unique characteristic that makes it so valuable.

You can still find handcrafted jewelry today, and there are many reasons to buy recently handcrafted jewelry, but the handcrafted vintage jewelry of the past carries nostalgic value. Not only is vintage jewelry uniquely designed and handcrafted, it’s also a more sustainable way to accessorize.

Mining practices take a toll on the planet but you can make a difference by investing in vintage jewelry which requires no mining or new materials.

Shopping for vintage jewelry can also be a fun hobby. Some collectors spend significant time researching and looking for specific pieces while some people just have fun browsing the jewelry at antique stores and markets.

HOW TO IDENTIFY vintage jewelry

Buying vintage jewelry can get expensive — understanding the characteristics of true vintage jewelry will ensure the price you pay matches the value of the piece. There are four characteristics of vintage jewelry to look for while you’re shopping: the design style, techniques, materials used, and stamps.

These characteristics vary based on the era they were produced in. We’ll go over each of the significant eras of jewelry style and the characteristics to look for while identifying pieces of jewelry. 

THE VICTORIAN ERA (1830 - 1900)

This era can actually be divided into three different periods; The romantic, grand, and aesthetic periods.

The romantic period symbolizes the Queen’s marriage with Prince Albert. Thus, symbols of love and romance were common. Also common was the symbol of the snake, which symbolized eternal love and wisdom. Colorful gems such as amethysts, garnets, topaz, chrysoberyl, emeralds, and turquoise were abundant. 

The passing of Prince Albert sparked the practice of remembrance jewelry which marks the grand period of this era. The country followed Queen Victoria in mourning by wearing solemn jewelry garnished with jet, vulcanite, and onyx.  

During the aesthetic period at the end of the Victorian Era, more cheerful designs became popular including those of animal heads, knots, and bows. The recognizable diamond solitaire style became popular during this period, which features a diamond embedded to a band using small claws.

Common materials: Gold, colourless stones, silver, jet, ivory, pearls, opals, emeralds, and amethysts. 

Common techniques: Hand-carved conch shell cameos, typically carved by Italian artisans. 

What To Look for: Keepsake lockets, heart and flower motifs, snakes, bow brooches, and jet black brooches.

THE EDWARDIAN ERA (1901 - 1910)

During this era, jewelry was designed to match the eloquent standard of women’s fashion. 

Edwardian Era jewelry can be recognized by its intricate filigree and milgrain work. Filigree work gives jewelry a lacey look while milgrain work produces a border of tiny beads.

The extreme attention to detail required by milgrain work makes it the ultimate symbol of affection and commitment. Jewelry made in the Edwardian Era commonly represented femininity via the white color in diamonds, pearls, and white metals like white gold or platinum.

The eloquent, symmetrical designs of this era were popular among the upper class and wealthy elite.

Common materials: Platinum, diamonds, pearls, gold, sapphire, emerald. 

Common techniques: Lace-like filigree work and milgrain borders.

What To Look for: Diamond and pearl tiaras, long pearl rope necklaces, and long glittering earrings, gold knot rings.

THE ART NOVEAU ERA (1890 - 1915)

Although this era overlaps with the Edwardian Era, they are two very different styles. 

The Art Nouveau Era embraced free form and organic designs. This style is very distinct with its sweeping curves, whimsical elements, and enameling. Art Nouveau artists used pique-a-jour enamel which allowed light to shine through its back, giving the pieces a soft, glowing effect.

Commonly used stones of the Art Nouveau Era were citrine, amber, moonstone, amethyst, peridot, opal and freshwater pearls were common. Some artists experimented with unconventional materials such as glass, ivory, and horn.

Jewelry pieces that include insects, plants, flowers, women, and mythical creatures were likely made during this era.

Common materials: Silver, low-grade gold, steel, garnet, citrine, amethyst, pearls, agate, opal, and moonstone. 

Common techniques: Enameling. 

What To Look for: Female form cameos, translucent enamel, fairies, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers, and sweeping curves.

THE ART DECO ERA (1915 - 1935)

Think flapper girl style — these pieces were bold, bright, and modern. Commonly used stones were sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. 

Yellow gold was out of style at this point, instead you’ll find white gold or platinum used in pieces from the Art Deco Era. The Art Deco jewelers used antique diamond cuts such as the Old European Cut.

Art Deco pieces are commonly mistaken for Edwardian pieces because they both incorporate platinum and antique diamond cuts. Telling the difference between them can be difficult but typically Art Deco pieces are more geometrical and symmetrical.

The use of filigree is another commonality between Art Deco and Edwawrdian style pieces. By the time Art Deco was a style, the filigree process was much more refined thus you will notice more refined filigree work in Art Deco jewelry pieces.

Common materials: Platinum, chrome, rubies, sapphire, white gold, pearls and emeralds. 

Common techniques: Calibre-cut gemstones.

What To Look for: geometric shapes, bright designs, and platinum with opaque stones.

THE RETRO ERA (1930 - 1940)

The need for weapons during World War II limited the amount of metals available to fine jewelers — they turned to yellow gold and sterling silver. 

The war also caused a shortage in gemstones, causing jewelers to use synthetic gemstones and semi-precious stones like amethyst, peridot, citrine, aquamarine, topaz, and tourmaline. Pieces were often designed with one or two large, bulky stones. 

To make the most out of the limited amount of yellow gold available, jewelers made thick ‘snake chains’ which look like thick chains of gold but actually require very little gold to make. Patriotic symbolism unsurprisingly made its way into this era’s jewelry.

Commonly found were images of birds at the door of a cage, representing freedom and liberation.

Common materials: Synthetic gemstones, silver, and yellow gold. 

Common techniques: Woven, braided, and coiled gold. 

What To Look for: Light blue sapphire, bow or flower brooches, convertible jewelry, and patriotic themes. 

Now that you know a bit about each of the different styles, you’ll be able to look for the characteristics that would match a vintage piece of that style. Think about the characteristics of the piece, what stands out at you.

Is it whimsical and dream-like? Might be from the Nouveau Art Era. Or maybe it has a bright gemstone like sapphire and geometric shapes — that could be a piece from the Art Deco Era.

You have to do a bit of detective work while choosing vintage jewelry, but that’s part of the fun!

COMMON MATERIALS AND how to identify them

The type of materials used in vintage jewelry plays a big role in determining their value. A quick overview of some commonly used materials will help you understand the worth of the jewelry. 

YELLOW & WHITE GOLD

Both yellow gold and white gold contain pure gold but because of pure gold’s softness, jewelers began mixing pure gold with other materials to increase durability of their pieces.

Yellow gold is mixed with yellow colored materials like copper while white gold is mixed with white colored materials like nickel and silver.

White gold looks similar to silver but is much more durable and can hold more intricate design details. White gold also has a slightly more grey tint compared to silver.

Gold can be identified by purity marker stamps; look for valid purity numbers by the Karat system ( 8k, 9k, 10k, 14k, 15k, 18k, 20k, or 21k) or by the Millesimal Fineness system (333, 417, 583, 585, 625, 750, 833, 875, 916, 958 or 999).


PLATINUM

Jewelry made with platinum comes at a higher price due to its purity. Although it looks quite similar to white gold, platinum is more pure and durable. Look for a stamp that reads ‘85 pt’ or ‘850 plat’ which indicates the percentage of pure platinum used. 


STERLING SILVER

Made of 92.5% pure silver and a small amount of alloy (usually copper), this material can be identified by a ‘925’ stamp. If you’re not sure if a piece is composed of white gold or silver, the ‘925’ stamp is a solid way to know what you’re looking at. 

WHERE CAN YOU BUY vintage jewelry?

There are lots of places where you can buy vintage jewelry. Search online or at your local shops and markets. This is a great activity for vacations too.

Whenever visiting a new destination, check their local vintage shops and weekend markets; this helps you expand your search for vintage jewelry outside of your local area and if you’re lucky, you’ll take home a precious souvenir to remember your trip by.

Here’s a breakdown of the different places where you can find vintage jewelry: 

ONLINE SHOPPING

Etsy

Etsy has a huge selection of vintage jewelry for sale. Just be cautious as anyone can create an Etsy account and sell their jewelry, whether or not it is vintage.

Check the seller’s reviews and return policy. If the seller can’t answer your questions about the piece (what era it is from, where it was recovered) then the piece might not be as valuable as they claim.


Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth is an online retailer based in California that sells vintage, antique, and estate jewelry. You can feel more secure buying from this established brand but keep in mind their prices will be quite high.


Messages In Metal

For a vintage look in a modern style, head over to Messages in Metal’s site to browse their vintage inspired jewelry.

LOCAL SHOPS

A quick google search will direct you to your local vintage and antique shops. Their convenient location means you can stop by often to see if new pieces have come in.

Another great thing about your local shops is that you can get to know the seller over time. These shops are often family-run and have very knowledgeable staff. Building a strong relationship with the jeweler means you can feel confident and secure while choosing a piece of vintage jewelry.

WEEKEND MARKETS & FLEA MARKETS

Markets allow sellers to pop-up their shop for a brief period. Mark your calendar with upcoming arts and crafts markets, flea markets, and weekend markets happening in your area.

While traveling, ask about the markets near your hotel, you never know what you’ll find! 

ESTATE SALES

At an estate sale, usually everything in the home is for sale and buyers are welcome to come inside to purchase items. It is very similar to a yard sale but much bigger in scope.

When you arrive, let the staff know that you are interested in seeing the jewelry available; these items will typically be locked away and only shown on request.

AUCTIONS

Check your local auction house for upcoming events or look at online jewelry auctions. Some popular auction sites with good vintage jewelry selection are LiveAuctioneers, AuctionZip, and BidSquare.

The key to getting the piece of jewelry you want is staying proactive. Make sure you stay on top of the bid until the clock runs out, but don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping as well. 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PIECE of vintage jewelry

Purchasing a piece of vintage jewelry is a big decision. To help make the process easier, begin by deciding on what kind of jewelry piece you want to get. There are bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces, watches, brooches and more to choose from.

You might be looking for the perfect silver necklace or a timeless brooch. Which type of jewelry you should choose is entirely up to you; think about why you want to invest in a vintage jewelry piece — to spice up your jewelry collection, to pass something down to your child, or just for the sake of collecting vintage jewelry.

RINGS

A ring can be a sign of eternal love, or simply a fun accessory to glam up your look. Consider how rings varied from era to era to help you narrow down your search.

Victorian Rings

These rings are some of the most sought-after vintage jewelry pieces. They are romantic, delicate, and make beautiful engagement rings. But these rings aren’t just for brides; try layering them for a modern bohemian look. The rosy warmth of gold found in most Victorian rings look great on all skin tones.

Edwardian Rings

Want to make a statement? Edwardian rings will do just that. Their bold and glamorous design will surely catch the eye of everyone in the room. If your style is sleek and sophisticated, an Edwardian vintage ring may be the perfect piece for you. 

Art Nouveau Rings

A celebration of the female form and natural word, these rings are feminine and organic. A vintage Art Nouveau ring makes a precious gift to hand down to a daughter or granddaughter. Anyone with a closet full of bohemian style dresses should add a vintage Art Nouveau ring to their collection.

Art Deco Rings

Beauty meets function in vintage Art Deco rings. Sharp geometric shapes symbolize the strong foundation that every engagement needs to succeed. Intricate filigree work and diamonds complimented by white gold will absolutely wow your loved one. These rings can transform your basic dress into an elegant outfit. If you’re the girl with multiple solid black dresses in her closet, consider buying a vintage Art Deco ring to turn your cocktail dress into something more elegant.

Retro Rings

If your style is minimalist but you like having the option to add some pizzazz to your outfits, look for a vintage Retro ring to add to your collection. These rings are minimalist by nature, utilizing limited materials available during the war but they still add a stunning pop to any casual outfit.


BROOCHES

Brooches are extremely versatile. Both functional and decorative, you can wear them on your neckline, waist, across your jacket, or even in your hair. The type of brooch you want to look for depends on your personal preference and style.

Victorian Brooches

Brooches in the Victorian era were commonly designed as mourning jewelry. These pieces represent a connection to loved ones and are commonly made with jet or black glass. They are solemn pieces that carry lots of sentimental value. Consider buying a vintage Victorian brooch for a loved one in mourning, or pick one out for yourself to help you through the grieving process.

Edwardian Brooches

Iconic brooches from the Edwardian era feature dangling, draping, and swooping diamonds held by platinum. If your outfits are generally solid color with sharp defined edges, consider adding a vintage Edwardian brooch for some fluidity.

Art Nouveau Brooches

The whimsical designs of these brooches add a natural touch to your collection. Use these organic brooches to clip your flowy dress at the waist, giving your outfit a vintage look without appearing too formal. These also make wonderful gifts for your loved ones who live holistic lifestyles.

Art Deco Brooches

Straight, symmetrical designs found in vintage Art Deco brooches are the perfect compliment for any wavy or curly hair style. We love the way these brooches balance a bride’s natural curves and wavy hair.

Retro Brooches

Looking for something fun and casual? Vintage retro brooches are for you. The versatile materials used to make brooches during this era have led to some really vibrant and interesting pieces.


BRACELETS

Everyone needs at least one nice bracelet in their jewelry collection. If you’re not big into necklaces but still want to add something extra to your outfit, a bracelet may be the perfect option. These are also great gifts to give to friends, as they carry less romantic sentiment compared to rings and necklaces.

Victorian Bracelets

A vintage gold Victorian bracelet is a beautiful and elegant addition to your collection. Similar to Victorian rings, these bracelets can also be layered for a modern bohemian look. Search for these bracelets if you are looking for a piece to pair with your flowy white dresses.

Edwardian Bracelets

For those with shiek styles, a vintage Edwardian bracelet is the perfect compliment to your outfit. The popular gold and platinum woven bracelet of this era goes great with a sophisticated black dress.

Art Nouveau Bracelets

If you love cuff bracelets, look for a vintage Art Nouveau bracelet. These designs are bulky yet graceful, giving your outfit the perfect balance of refined and free.

Art Deco Bracelets

When you want to make a show-stopping first impression, a vintage Art Deco bracelet is what you need. These diamond bracelets will dazzle any crowd and take your outfit from functional to elegant. 

Retro Bracelets

If you’re looking for a more versatile bracelet that can match a formal or casual outfit, you want to look for a vintage Retro bracelet. Bulky yellow gold bracelets were popular during this era and they are still elevating outfits today.


EARRINGS

Both women and men have been decorating their lobes with earrings for centuries; it’s no surprise they are a staple of fashion today. Earrings can be cute and dainty or elegant and dangling. Having a variety of styles in your collection means you’ll always have a pair to match your outfit.

Victorian Earrings

Given the length of this era, earrings were produced in a variety of styles. Dangle earrings were popular in gold as were earrings that contained seed pearls to symbolize mourning. These earrings are a great choice for someone who cares about the sentimental value of their jewelry, there’s just so much history and symbolism packed into these pieces.

Edwardian Earrings

Dangling diamonds were the popular earring choice of this era. Chandelier and cluster drop earrings perfectly complete a sophisticated outfit and draw attention to your neck and shoulders. If you love wearing dresses that show off your shoulder and collar bones, try adding a pair of vintage Edwardian earrings to your collection.

Art Nouveau Earrings

If you love dangling earrings but want something that’s not too flashy, vintage Art Nouveau earrings are for you. These earrings dangle with a natural free form and earthy colors that can be worn every day. 

Art Deco Earrings

Going to a Gatsby-themed party? You’ll want to pop on a pair of vintage Art Deco earrings to fit in. These earrings are bold, bright, and feature plenty of geometric shapes to give your outfit a ‘roaring twenties’ vibe.

Retro Earrings

If you describe your style as bold and fun, consider adding some vintage Retro earrings to your earring collection. You’ll find Retro earrings in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and bright colors. These are a great choice for people who don’t wear earrings often, as they are usually made with lighter material which is good for sensitive ears.


NECKLACES

Necklaces are one of the most commonly worn pieces of jewelry. Some prefer tight chokers for an edgy look while others go for a more elegant droopy piece.

Victorian Necklace

Locket necklaces were popular during the Victorian Era and make excellent gifts for loved ones. These lockets were often given with photographs of loved ones who had passed away and this trend is still seen today. If you want to give a sentimental gift, take a look at vintage Victorian locket necklaces.

Edwardian Necklace

These elegant droopy necklaces create a stunning look on an open chest. Vintage Edwardian necklaces are the perfect accessory to wear with a strapless sleeveless dress. 

Art Nouveau Necklace

Necklaces designed during the Art Nouveau Era are perfect for loose fitting styles that embrace a free flowing form. These pieces tend to hang lower on the chest and should be matched with outfits that have either very high or very low necklines. 

Art Deco Necklace

The sharp edges of geometric shapes in these designs compliment the natural curves highlighted by form-fitting outfits. If you enjoy wearing tight dresses or blouses, consider adding a vintage Art Deco necklace to your collection for a more balanced look.

Retro Necklace

Retro necklaces are so versatile, you can find a thick gold chain for a formal event or a bulky single pendant necklace for something more fun and casual.

CONSIDER COLOR when choosing vintage jewelry

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to what kind of jewelry you’d like to look for, consider which colors are your favorite to wear. If you like all colors and are unsure which colors look the best on you, start by identifying your skin tone.

Example Of Cool Skin Tone

You can identify your skin tone by looking at the veins in your wrist in natural light. If your veins appear blue or purple, you have cool skin tones; if your veins appear green or greenish blue, you have warm skin tones. Some people have neutral skin tones and look great in most colors.

COOL SKIN TONES

If you have cool skin tones, light or white metals like platinum, silver, and white gold are good choices for you. People with cool skin tones look great in brightly colored jewelry, so look for jewelry with bright gemstones rubies, topaz, sapphires, emeralds, and amethyst.

WARM SKIN TONES

If you have warm skin tones, look for yellow and rose gold jewelry. Earthy and natural colors look best on people with warm skin tones, so look for jewelry with orange sapphire, golden pearl, fire opal, citrine, peridot, aquamarine, or turquoise.

BIRTHSTONES

If you’re buying vintage jewelry for a loved one, you might consider searching for a piece with their birthstone included. You can read up on the ins and outs of buying birthstone jewelry or see this quick list of the months and their corresponding stones. Give your loved one a personalized name and birthstone necklace or order a multi-stone piece to represent your family. 

January: Garnet

February: Amethyst

March: Aquamarine

April: Diamond

May: Emerald

June: Pearl or Alexandrite

July: Ruby

August: Peridot

September: Sapphire

October: Tourmaline or Opal

November: Topaz or Citrine

December: Tanzanite, Zircon or Turquoise

VINTAGE JEWELRY is an investment

Another way to help you choose a vintage jewelry piece to invest in is to look at your  jewelry collection as an investment. Like any good financial investment portfolio, you need diversification.

What’s your collection missing? Bracelets, rings, and necklaces are some of the most commonly owned pieces of jewelry but not so many people have brooches in their collection.

Diversifying your collection will increase its value and ensure you have the perfect piece to give to each of your loved ones if you plan on passing down your jewelry to various family members.

Choosing a piece of vintage jewelry is an adventure in itself. There are many different reasons for buying vintage jewelry but the best expert is yourself. Take your time and think deeply about why you want vintage jewelry and what you’ll use it for. It’s always wise to do a bit of research before making a purchase as well.

KNOW HOW MUCH TO SPEND

Bargaining and bidding on jewelry can be exciting, but make sure you don’t grossly overpay for knock-off “vintage” jewelry. The best way to tell if a piece is genuinely vintage is by speaking with a professional gemologist but if that’s not an option you can do your best to recognize specific characteristics of vintage jewelry. Here’s a few things to pay attention to:

Gemstones

Today’s gemstones are treated to enhance shine and color. You won’t find this technique used on vintage jewelry. If the gemstone looks brand new, it’s probably a more recent production and not a vintage piece.

Craftsmanship

While not all vintage jewelry pieces were handcrafted, a large majority of them were. True vintage pieces might have some minor imperfections on them which you would not find in more recently mass-produced items.

Material Stamp

Some vintage jewelry has been marked to identify its material, for example, ‘14k’ or ‘585’ would indicate 14 karat gold or 58.5 % gold. A silver purity stamp might look like ‘925 STG’ which indicates 92.5% sterling.

Clasp Style

The type of clasps used on bracelets, necklaces, and brooches can represent the time period they were created in. C clasps, trombone clasps, box clasps, and ring clasps were all widely used in vintage jewelry creation, while lobster clasps weren’t popularized until the 70s. A lobster clasp is a dead giveaway that the piece is not truly vintage.

Designer Signature

If searching for vintage jewelry from a specific year or decade, research the popular designers of that time and check to see if they have a signature stamp. Some jewelry was required to have a ‘maker’s mark’ imprinted, so knowing this information beforehand helps you check the piece for authenticity.

TIPS FOR PURCHASING vintage jewelry

Educating yourself on vintage jewelry is the first step to take when preparing for the purchase. Unfortunately, even experts get tricked by fake vintage jewelry and it can be incredibly difficult for a layperson to tell the difference between a vintage piece and a well-designed replica.

ANALYZE THE SELLER

If you are considering buying a piece of vintage jewelry but are worried about it being fake, the next best thing to analyze is the seller. Ask the seller lots of questions; if they are a professional, they should have no problem confidently addressing all of your questions and concerns.

Be sure to ask the seller where they bought the piece and how they verified it’s authenticity. Also inquire about the seller’s business. Family owned businesses are generally more trustworthy than entrepreneurs who are new to the jewelry business.

BE PREPARED

Decide how much you are willing to spend before you shop and stick to your budget. Don’t let sellers convince you to spend more than you have decided is appropriate.

A pushy seller is a red flag and you should not give in to any pressure to quickly purchase something. Respectable sellers aren’t interested in getting rid of their jewelry just for monetary gain; they generally have spent their life working in the field and understand these purchases require trust and patience.

ONLINE SAFETY

If you’re shopping online, check the other listings and the seller’s reviews for credibility. Look for sellers that have a long history of satisfied customers.

Also check the shipping price and see if the piece will be insured when it is shipped to you. Shipping insurance will protect you if any damages occur during the delivery process.

PROPER CARE & STORAGE

Normal wear and tear are a natural part of vintage jewelry but once the piece is yours, you can take steps to prevent any further damages. Caring for your pieces properly will ensure your vintage jewelry remains in good shape when it’s passed down to your loved ones.

Be sure to ask the seller if the jewelry requires any specific care or storage. As a general rule, store your vintage jewelry at a moderate temperature and away from moisture and extreme heat. A jewelry box with soft pouches or cloth is an ideal place to store your jewelry.

CONSIDER INSURANCE

Before you can have your jewelry insured, you’ll need a detailed description of the item from a professional appraiser, photographic evidence of the piece, and a receipt of purchase or inheritance.

Once you can prove what it’s worth and that you are the owner, you can explore different insurance plans. Plans will vary in coverage but you’ll want to find something that covers theft and damages.

VINTAGE JEWELRY frequently asked questions

How much is my vintage jewelry worth?

The worth of your vintage jewelry depends on when it was made, what it’s made of, and its current condition. If you think you’ve got a vintage piece, take it to an appraiser for an estimate.

Where can I buy real vintage jewelry?

You can buy real vintage jewelry at markets, auctions, estate sales, yard sales, and online.

When is jewelry considered vintage?

This is debated by experts, most agree that vintage jewelry was made between 100 and 50 years ago, while others say between 100 and 30 years ago.

How do I know if my real vintage jewelry is valuable?

Inspect the jewelry’s material, gemstones, weight, clasps, and any maker’s marks. These characteristics will help you determine how valuable your jewelry might be.

Should I insure my vintage jewelry?

Insurance is a personal choice but we do recommend insuring all vintage jewelry pieces. If you have home insurance, see if your jewelry is covered; if not, you should insure your vintage jewelry.

Is vintage jewelry worth buying?

Yes. Vintage jewelry is more than an accessory, it’s a piece of history that has lasted through generations of life and holds incredible value.

Is there a market for vintage jewelry?

Yes. There is a thriving market for vintage jewelry. People have been interested in buying and selling vintage jewelry for ages and they aren’t slowing down. 

Can anyone sell vintage jewelry or do you have to have a license?

In most states you do not need any license to sell your vintage jewelry, but you should check your state's specific laws to be on the safe side. 

Who can I pass my vintage jewelry onto if I don’t have any children?

People who don’t have children usually pass their vintage jewelry down to other family members or loved ones. Alternatively, you can take your jewelry to flea markets or post them online to find an interested buyer. 

IN WITH THE OLD: modern accessorizing WITH VINTAGE JEWELRY

The vintage jewelry market is rich with history and an exciting way to explore the styles of the past. Educating yourself about vintage jewelry is the first step to responsible buying and selling.