How to Identify Vintage Jewellery

Vintage jewellery is very popular, and it’s easy to see why. Whether you know the history of the piece or not, it’s really interesting to think about its past life with its previous owner. Do you know what to look for when identifying antique jewellery? Here are some things to consider when looking for vintage jewellery.

What is vintage jewellery?

Vintage jewellery is typically classed as jewellery which is at least 30 years old. Antique jewellery is older still, and usually classed as any jewellery which is older than 100 years.

There are many different types of vintage and antique jewellery within both of these categories, spanning different eras and styles. Which era you go for really depends on what suits your style and personality.

How can I identify the style or era of my vintage jewellery?

One of the easiest ways to identify vintage jewellery is to look at the style of your vintage jewellery to determine its era. For example, Art Deco jewellery, which is a very popular era of vintage jewellery, is bold and modern, and reflects the flapper fashion which was popular at the time. You can expect sharp, geometric shapes and bright gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

Similarly, Art Nouveau vintage jewellery is distinctive in its appearance, characterised by nature-inspired designs. It tends to include more muted and natural colours, using stones such as moonstone, opal or amber.

If you can spot some of these characteristics in your piece, or any characteristics of other eras, your jewellery may well be vintage. However, these styles were obviously very popular for a reason, so it’s important to be aware that there are some imitation vintage style jewellery pieces available which are not true vintage pieces.

A trained jeweller will be able to inspect your piece and advise whether it is vintage, and can also issue any paperwork for insurance purposes should they feel that it needs to be insured against loss or theft.

Do materials and manufacturing methods indicate vintage jewellery?

Vintage and antique jewellery can be identified by the way it has been manufactured and the materials used to create it. For example, hand engraving is often a sign of a piece created at around the turn of the 20th century and intricate filigree work can be a sign of Edwardian or Art Deco jewellery.

Similarly, the types of materials used can indicate when a piece of jewellery was created. Foil opals are a simulated gemstone which often signify the late Victorian era, as an example. Whether you believe you own a piece of vintage designer jewellery or vintage costume jewellery, your local jeweller will be able to advise as to the era of the jewellery and whether it is, indeed, vintage.

My jewellery has a stamp on it, what does this signify?

Jewellery stamps and hallmarks are a great way of identifying the origins and the year that a piece was made. For instance, a simple internet search for vintage costume jewellery UK will show you that we have very well-established assay marks which can help in the identification of pieces.

How can I be sure that I have a piece of vintage jewellery?

The easiest way of identifying a piece of vintage jewellery is to consult your local jeweller in Hainault or Ilford. We are trained in looking at all of the signs of your jewellery to identify its age and can spot a genuine piece of vintage or antique jewellery from a piece which is simply vintage style jewellery.

Don’t forget that we can also work with your antique and vintage pieces of jewellery to bring them up to date, should you wish to do so. This can give you a beautiful piece of bespoke jewellery which still has its vintage feel and history. Talk to the friendly experts at E.K. Jewellers in Hainault to see how we can help with all of your vintage jewellery desires.

Posted on by Ian Tubby.