Clearing Up Estate Jewelry Misconceptions

Posted by Marnie Rubenstein


Some people only go for the latest trends when assembling a jewelry collection, but the smartest jewelry buyers know that vintage pieces can be a great addition to your jewelry drawer. We’re here to clear up some common estate jewelry misconceptions so you can expand your jewelry style horizons!


Estate Jewelry/Vintage Jewelry/Antique Jewelry – What’s The Difference?

vintage chain old metal necklace jewellery gold silver earrings pendant gold chain locket fashion accessory

Let’s get this one out of the way first – there IS a difference between all these terms! Antique jewelry is jewelry that is a century old or more, while vintage jewelry is relatively new – made in the past century or so. Estate jewelry just means jewelry that has been previously owned, and the name comes from the idea that this kind of jewelry is obtained as an inheritance from someone’s estate. Estate jewelry can be vintage, it can be antique, or it can even be modern, just as long as it was previously owned.

Bad Karma

images (1)Probably the most popular reasons jewelry owners want to keep previously owned pieces out of their jewelry chest. Even if you’re a superstitious person though, it’s not likely that you really know whether you’re the first person to cherish that diamond or not. Jewelers can move diamonds from one setting to another easily, and they themselves might not know if the diamond has been previously worn. Just because someone had a bad experience while wearing jewelry doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experiences. In fact, it gives you the chance to start fresh and make some great memories with                                                                             your new jewelry.

Older Jewelry Isn’t Quality Jewelry

Jewish_wedding_ring_MNMA_Cl20658_n2If you’re familiar with paste jewelry, you’ll know that this inexpensive alternative to real gemstones was popular in the 18th and 19th century. Paste jewelry is made of colored glass, and may have contributed to the modern idea that old jewelry is cheaply made. However, paste jewelry is in a category all its own, and isn’t meant to be an imitation of the real thing. In fact, we could argue that a well made antique paste necklace took more skill to make than a mass produced necklace from your favorite mall jeweler.

Old Jewelry Just Isn’t Trendy Anymore

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If you’re talking about a jewelry fad from 10 years ago, then sure, you’re probably better off not wearing it. But in most cases, fashion follows a cycle where what was fashionable X number of years ago eventually becomes “in vogue” again. After all, you can’t kill good style. Try seeing what period piece s are “in” these days, and use that as a starting point when looking for older jewelry styles.

Too Expensive 

zuni-2535675_1920While some people might feel that older jewelry isn’t as valuable as newer pieces, you’ll often find the reality is quite the opposite. Because older designs are usually rarer, or have been made by a designer who is no longer creating jewelry, the price of estate or antique jewelry may seem inflated. We aren’t suggesting you only wear older jewelry, but having a select few old pieces in your collection can be a great investment. After all, if the price has stayed high after all these years, it’s likely that the price will be the same or higher when the time comes for you to sell.

 I’m Getting Engaged, And I Need A Diamond Ring!

 Jewelry, Rings, Gem, Vintage, Green GemIt’s true that most older estate jewelry doesn’t feature diamonds as often as modern jewelry does. The myth that diamonds have to be given as an engagement ring comes from what is probably the most successful marketing campaign in history. The De Beers company (still the largest diamond production company today) convinced a generation of brides in the 20th century that they shouldn’t settle for anything less than a diamond when getting engaged. Since then, diamond engagement rings have been the number one choice when proposing to a loved one. If you want to give a unique ring to a unique bride, then looking at estate jewelry is a great choice – there’s no reason you have to be tied down to a diamond. 

I Have A Modern Style, And Don’t Want To Change That

pearls-3030446_1920It’s a common misconception that if you wear a necklace or bracelet that’s vintage, you have to coordinate your entire outfit to be vintage as well. The great thing about timeless jewelry is that it goes well with whatever your style might be. A modern outfit with one older piece of jewelry can be a great look, and tells people you’re not afraid to think outside the box.

Ultimately, the decision to wear older or newer jewelry is up to the person who wears it. However, it’s important to keep an open mind and realize that personal styles can evolve over time, just like the rest of the world. We hope that next time you see an estate sale, you don’t pass it by!


Topics: Estate Jewelry, Antique Jewelry

April 09, 2018