Understanding Vintage Jewelry| Mountain Song Jewelers| Greeneville, TN
There's just something about jewelry from another era. Jewelry that has survived the decades with their stunning details, engraving, and gemstones. However, due to the popularity of all things from the past, sometimes the term vintage gets thrown around a little loosely. It is easy to call something ‘vintage’ simply because it is old but when it comes to bygone jewelry, things are a tad different.
So, instead of seeing something old and calling it old, let’s take a deeper look into what defines estate, vintage, and antique jewelry!
Jewelry is considered ‘estate’ if the piece in question has a previous owner (not a jewelry store). However, that does not mean that the previous owner of the jewelry is deceased; they could still very well be alive. While the previous owners may or may not be alive, it plays no role in the status as an estate piece. It also has nothing to do with the age of the jewelry. Although many estate pieces on the market today may be 50, 100, or over 150 years old, age is not a determining factor when it comes to classifying jewelry as estate.
When we hear vintage jewelry, we think, “Oh, it must be really old” right? But it can vary in age. Typically jewelry is considered vintage if it is between 20 and 100 years old. Vintage jewelry is often worn and displayed unlike antique jewelry, as they are less likely to break. Vintage jewelry is also much easier to incorporate into fashion-forward outfits to create one-of-a-kind statements. This makes it much easier to pair with today’s hottest trends while adding a little flare to your style!
If you are in possession of a piece of jewelry that is over 100 years old, you have a piece of antique jewelry! This type of jewelry is typically crafted with a superior level of craftsmanship from higher-quality materials compared to more modern pieces that can be found on the market today. Antique jewelry is rather scarce and with it’s sheer age by the time that it is classified as ‘antique’ it is usually too valuable to be worn.
Why Invest in Vintage Jewelry
First, when you invest in vintage or antique jewelry, you are essentially owning a piece of someone’s past. You hold their story and the history of that jewelry. Maybe it belonged to someone famous or it has been passed down from generation to generation. You can’t simply enjoy an opportunity like that when you have a new piece of jewelry. Vintage jewelry also involves handcrafted techniques and materials that don’t even exist anymore.
Second, with vintage and antique jewelry withstanding the test of time, it is often high quality. The craftsmanship results in years of wear that is difficult to match with today’s jewelry. When you purchase these pieces, they are in amazing condition despite being worn before, demonstrating unbeatable work and quality.
Lastly, vintage pieces are still stylish and trendy to this day. It is hip and fashionable to own and wear vintage jewelry. You can even see celebrities flaunt antique and vintage engagement rings and brooches on the red carpet. When you wear antique and vintage pieces you are making a fashion statement. With the wide variety of vintage styles, it is easy and fun to personalize your styles with pieces that not everyone else will be wearing!
Buying Vintage Jewelry
When you are ready to buy a piece, or pieces, of vintage jewelry there are a few things for you to look for and consider. When you have found a piece of vintage jewelry that you cannot live without follow these steps:
- Do not take the condition it is in for granted. Take time to inspect the jewelry to make sure that all the gemstones are secure, stones are not missing and the clasps are functioning. It is important to remember that the piece will show some wear, it is old after all and normal.
- Ask if the piece has been thoroughly checked and if any repairs have been made on it.
- Some pieces of vintage jewelry come with an exciting story, so ask for the background on the piece. If known, it is always fun to know the history of the beauty that you have your eye on!
- Get your vintage jewelry professionally cleaned and ask how you can care for it. Always refrain from dipping your ring in any solution until you know what it is and if it is safe for your ring.
- Always store your vintage pieces in separate compartments, their own little jewel box or little zip-lock bags so they do not tangle or scratch each other.
Vintage pieces are truly unique and fun to wear. Not only will they grab the attention of others, they usually have a fun backstory. If you haven’t added some vintage pieces to your jewelry collection yet, you are missing out. Mountain Song Jewelers offers a wonderful selection of fine vintage and estate jewelry and we can also redesign any vintage piece to match your own personal style. If you see a piece that you fall head over heels for, don’t wait. Part of the thrill of the hunt is that once it is gone, it is gone. There is not another piece like it!