The Difference Between Antique, Vintage and Estate Jewellery

We often use the terms Vintage, Antique and Estate to describe our jewellery, so it’s important that we make it clear what each definition actually means. The terms are often confused in the world of jewellery as there can be overlapping distinguishing features between them. 

As pre-owned jewellery specialists, with over 40 years expertise in the jewellery trade, we are more than qualified to clear up any confusion surrounding these three jewellery categories. 

Estate Jewellery – the term ‘Estate’ is used to describe a piece of jewellery that has a previous owner, that could mean a previous owner who is living or deceased. Typically, the owners of Estate jewellery have passed away, but not always. Many Estate pieces on the market are over 50, 100 or even 150 years old – but age is not a determining factor in classifying Estate jewellery. 

Antique Jewellery – jewellery pieces that are over 100 years old are considered to be Antique. Generally, Antique pieces of jewellery were crafted with higher quality craftsmanship than contemporary jewellery sold on the market today, which is why their longevity has been possible. Many Antique pieces are considered too precious to be worn, or even displayed. 

At The Vintage Jeweller we offer many incredible Antiques for jewellery collectors to invest in, from Post-Medieval dated items from the 1700s, down to the Art Nouveau collections from the period of 1890 – 1915. Antique Jewellery offers a piece of history, and often comes with stories attached about their previous owners making them all the more special. 

Vintage Jewellery – while our business may be named ‘The Vintage Jeweller’, pieces that fall into this category make up just a small percentage of our overall offerings. Jewellery between the ages of 50 and 100 years old are classified as Vintage. Vintage pieces are often more modern in their designs, blending more seamlessly with current fashion and design trends, whilst providing that expert craftsmanship that is expected of older pieces. 

If you have a piece of jewellery you are looking to sell, or simply have valued, but aren’t sure which category it falls under we will be able to tell you. At The Vintage Jeweller we are experts in the jewellery trade, with a passion for vintage and antique pieces. Our collection contains an extensive and diverse selection of designer, contemporary and fine jewellery.

Based in the centre of the world’s most famous jewellery quarter, Hatton Garden, London, we take visitors by appointment only. Contact us if you have any questions about our services or to book your appointment.