What is the Difference between Estate, Vintage, & Antique Jewelry?


For many people, part of the fun of jewelry shopping is coming across a special and unique piece of estate jewelry. But often times, it is confusing when some items are referred to as vintage and others as antique or simply estate. Let’s take the mystery out of these different distinctions.


Any piece of jewelry that has been previously owned is estate jewelry. But, not all estate jewelry is considered vintage or antique. Having different classifications helps to date older pieces of fine jewelry by their age and the jewelry design era they came from.

Antique jewelry refers to any piece of jewelry approximately 100 years old or older; however, jewelry that is nearly as old can correctly be called antique. Antique jewelry includes the eras of Art Deco, Edwardian, Belle Époque, Art Nouveau, Victorian, Georgian, & earlier.

Vintage jewelry refers to any piece of jewelry that is at least 20 to 30 years old. Using the term “vintage jewelry” to refer to reproductions or preowned newer jewelry is misleading to customers. Classifying a piece as vintage is usually the most common reference made to preowned jewelry since it includes many more recent jewelry eras. Your grandmother’s ring from 1945 would be considered vintage. Technically, a necklace from 1910 could be also be considered vintage, but would be better classified as antique to highlight its age. Vintage jewelry includes the antique jewelry eras and the additional eras of Modern, Mid-Century Modern, Retro, and some Art Deco.

Jewelry simply classified as an estate piece, without any acknowledgement that it is vintage or antique, would mainly refer to a preowned item manufactured within the past couple of decades and would include the era of Contemporary jewelry.

A word of caution – any item description what includes the word style, such as “antique style” or “vintage style” design means it is a reproduction and not a true old piece.


Learn more about estate jewelry periods here:



Browse our beautiful estate and vintage jewelry here:



Browse our estate bridal rings here:


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