Understanding Different Types of Estate Jewelry

Understanding Different Types of Estate Jewelry

You’ll hear a lot of terms in reference to estate jewelry. Even that term alone can cause some confusion. But the term “estate jewelry” has a fairly simple definition: any jewelry that has been previously owned. That means estate jewelry could be a beautiful handmade Georgian piece or a cheap piece from the local one-stop shop store.

Understanding the different types of estate jewelry can help you determine its value. Read on to learn more:

High quality vs. low quality

So, how do we differentiate between estate jewelry of value and that of low quality? Appraisal. Granted, the appraisal process is not easy, which is why you want a professional appraiser to take a look at any estate jewelry before selling it. But you can look out for some key words when buying jewelry (see below).

Vintage vs. Antique

The two most basic terms for distinguishing between estate jewelry pieces are “vintage” and “antique.” These terms can be applied to more than just jewelry, but for our sake, we will stick with jewelry.

  • Antique, according to many sources, describes a piece that is more than 100 years old.
  • Vintage would, therefore, be anything newer than 100 years old.

This definition may change as time goes on. The reason being that the Industrial Revolution marks the true end of “antique.” Knowing that a piece of jewelry was made before the Industrial Revolution basically guaranteed that it was handmade and of excellent quality. After industries turned manufacturing, including jewelry manufacturing, to machines, the quality and uniqueness of each piece of jewelry changed. Some would argue that the quality declined, but “changed” might be a better term, seeing as plenty of vintage jewelry serve as beautiful pieces of high integrity.

We at Frank Pollak & Sons can appraise your estate jewelry, vintage or antique. Contact us today to get started!

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