The Difference Between Estate, Vintage, and Antique Jewellery

Summary: If you own a piece of jewellery, what would you classify it as? Read below to find out.

Written by: Cynthia Findlay Antiques

Classifying jewellery as antique, vintage or estate is primarily time-dependent. While estate jewellery is pre-owned, it does not necessarily mean that it is considered vintage. While all antique jewellery is considered vintage it cannot be the other way around. As confusing as it sounds, here are some distinct classifications that will help you categorize your collection.

Estate Jewellery

Any piece of jewellery that you have owned is considered “estate”. There is no considered age limit to them meaning that they could be two months old to a hundred years old. The valuation of estate jewellery depends on numerous factors including: condition, quality, designers, signatures, etc. An original box or bill of sale can increase the value of it as well.

Vintage Jewellery

For the collector looking into vintage engagement rings, remember to confirm the age. For professional advice seek an experienced jeweller. They will determine the age based on its condition, workmanship, and stamp (if applicable). Also note that you, as the owner of your collection, may have a subjective value attached to them. Items can be variably valued and quoted sfor something far less than you have anticipated if you are looking to sell.

Antique Jewellery

Jewellery from the last century is considered antique. After 100 years, the term antique will come in to play when you are buying or selling. Antique jewellery can be so valuable that people will rarely wear it or have it displayed.

Be sure to source the jewellery properly as there are counterfeiters looking to fool you into believing their product is authentic. Obtaining sales records from appraisers can help verify its veracity.


Bio: Cynthia Findlay Antiques sells modern, estate, and custom design jewellery from Toronto. Boasting a commitment to service and quality, you can be sure that you are buying with confidence.