The Difference Between Estate, Antique, and Vintage Jewelry

If you have a family heirloom or pre-owned piece of jewelry, you’ve likely called it vintage, antique, or even estate jewelry. It’s a very common misconception that these three terms are interchangeable, but the truth is that they each have a distinct meaning that, in some cases, makes them mutually exclusive. If you’re looking to sell jewelry from your precious collection, it’s important to know the accurate terminology for your pieces so that you can earn the most money for them and ensure you’re receiving fair market value.

Estate Jewelry

Estate jewelry is jewelry that has had a previous owner. In other words, it was previously part of someone’s estate. While terms like “estate sale” can cause people to believe that estate jewelry is associated with a previous owner who’s passed away, this isn’t always the case. Estate jewelry is still estate jewelry even if the previous owner is alive. It also doesn’t need to have any indication of the age of the jewelry. Unlike the other two terms discussed later, there’s no age minimum for something to qualify as estate jewelry. If it’s been previously owned, it’s estate jewelry.

Antique Jewelry

The most common confusion we see is between the terms antique and vintage. Both indicate the age of a piece, but the phrases never overlap. A piece of jewelry is considered antique if it is more than 100 years old. Antique jewelry is usually prized for its superior craftsmanship compared to modern jewelry, but the age of the piece makes it difficult to be practically worn. Oftentimes, antique jewelry will need to be simply displayed, or perhaps worn only on special occasions, due to its high value and fragility.

Vintage Jewelry

Vintage jewelry predates antique jewelry; it is jewelry that is 50 to 100 years old. Since it is not as fragile or as valuable as antique jewelry, it can be worn on a day-to-day basis with relative ease. Vintage jewelry is often easy to style, as previous decades’ fashion trends come back into modern popularity. If you want to add a unique flair to a modern trend, try pairing your outfit with a vintage jewelry piece from Watch & Wares.

Vintage, antique, and estate jewelry are all uniquely beautiful pieces that add interest and value to anyone’s collection. In addition to monetary value, pieces with this age and history can have priceless sentimental value that makes them difficult to sell. If you need cash but don’t want to permanently part with your beloved estate, antique, or vintage jewelry, opt for a collateral loan through Watch & Wares. You can use your luxury items as collateral, and we’ll watch after them until you repay the full value of the loan. All Watch & Wares collateral loans have four-month terms with a generous 10-day grace period, and you can always extend the loan as needed by paying off the interest owed. If you’re looking to buy, sell, or loan your estate jewelry or other luxury goods, contact Watch & Wares today at (714) 633-2030 to schedule an appointment. A friendly and knowledgeable member of our staff would be happy to provide you with a free appraisal.