1st Nov 2013


Estate versus Antique jewelry – there is a difference but there’s more to the story


There is a definite distinction between estate and antique jewelry. The term estate jewelry – also known as vintage – means less than a hundred years old, whereas an antique must be at least one hundred years old.

Yet an art deco piece from the 1920’s is often considered to be antique. Confused? Think of it like a fine wine with many characteristics to consider.

The terms estate and antique are often loosely applied. Fortunately, the real intrinsic value of an older piece is determined by other factors such as provenance or maker (important for some collectors but not all), the era, the overall craftsmanship, the quality or rareness of the stone and the overall condition of the piece (fair, good or excellent). It takes time and experience to sort these factors out which is why a reputable specialist in jewelry with a passion for collecting is so important.

There is also just plain “wow factor”. Does a piece take your breath away? Does it feel like it’s “you” and inspire in some way?

Below is a photo of an antique, French, white sapphire bracelet. It has wow factor and markings that clearly denote it is French (also valuable).

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