What is the Difference Between Antique, Vintage, and Estate Jewelry?

If you are a jewelry enthusiast, you may have heard the terms “antique,” “vintage, and “estate” used to describe different pieces. These terms are often used interchangeably, although there are some unique differences. By better understanding the three different types—and the characteristics of each—you can better evaluate your antique vintage jewelry collection.

Antique, vintage, and estate jewelry have distinct characteristics. Keep reading to learn about their key differences.

Estate Jewelry

Estate Jewelry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  image source – pixabay

Estate jewelry is a term that is used to describe jewelry that was previously owned. These pieces are typically acquired from estate sales, and they may be vintage or antique in nature. Sometimes estates have a large collection of one type of jewelry, and in other cases, the former owner may have pieces of jewelry that span many eras and styles.

Antique Jewelry


Antique Jewelry


Antique jewelry is any piece that is at least 100 years old, although items approaching that benchmark may also be considered antique. There are many eras that are popular for antique jewelry, some of which include:

Art Nouveau Era: The Art Nouveau movement produced some highly sought after jewelry pieces, featuring flowing, rippling, and curving lines.

Georgian Era: Georgian Era: The Georgian era was defined as the time period from 1714 to 1837, and jewelry from that era has a regal flair. Distinctive features were the use of a closed-back setting in which gemstones were mounted so that their entire pavilion was enclosed. Unfortunately, few pieces of this jewelry have survived to the present day, and those that do exist are often quite valuable.

Victorian Era : Jewelry from this era features nature-inspired designs, many of which are etched in gold. Brooches and lockets were popular everyday pieces during this time period.

When purchasing jewelry, be wary of the term “antique style.” While you might believe you are getting an authentic piece of antique jewelry, this is actually a reproduction indicator. Any time jewelers use the word “style” when describing a piece of jewelry that looks old, you can usually assume that the item is a reproduction.

Vintage Jewelry

Vintage Jewelry


The term “vintage” means that the piece represents the recognized style of a particular era. For example, a piece of jewelry designated as mid-century vintage will have the characteristics that are common to the jewelry of that time period. Vintage jewelry is also something that wasn’t mass-produced, making it unique.

Like estate jewelry and antique jewelry, vintage pieces are pre-owned. To receive the vintage classification, items need to be a minimum of 20­30 years old. Pieces created as recently as the early 1980s can be classified as vintage, as they are considered collectible.

Whether you have estate, antique, or vintage pieces, the jewelry in your collection might be valuable. It is important that you get a few estimates to determine the value of your collection before you sell it. If you are from Sarasota, Osprey, Ellenton, Palmetto, Venice, or Bradenton, then you are lucky enough, as auction houses, antique dealers, and jewelry stores can give you a good idea about the value, and at Sarasota Antique Buyers, we are glad to make you a reasonable offer on your collection, wherever you may be residing all over Florida.

We Purchase All Types of Antiques, Antique Gold and Antique Sterling Silver..

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