Jewelry Terms: Antique, Vintage and Estate

It’s easy to become confused about how the jewelry terms; Antique, Vintage or Estate are applied to jewelry pieces you may come across when shopping. Not every shopkeeper has the same opinion about what constitutes the descriptive age of a piece.

However, in general, the industry standard is that “Antique” refers to items of at least 100 years of age and older. The term “Vintage” should be applied to items of at least 25 years of age and up to 100 years old. The use of “Estate” is a little broader and simply means that an item was previously owned by another individual and is not brand new.

Keeping these guidelines in mind when shopping for jewelry should help you determine the approximate age of an item. If you have any questions, it’s best to chat with the shopkeeper. A knowledgeable owner should be able to date a piece to within a decade or so or its original creation date.

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