Vintage Jewellery

Vintage Jewellery

As we all know by now; jewellery is any form of ornament such as a ring or necklace that is made from a precious metal. But to those that have a passion for it, it’s more than just an ornament that you wear on your body, but more of an expression of who you are. To others, antique jewellery is a show of class, wealth or power. Whatever reason one wears jewellery for, there can only be one reason as to why one would value antique jewellery; for the love and appreciation of designs of the past.

It’s said that old is gold and indeed to those with an adoration for jewellery, this is gospel truth. Antique jewellery is said to be any kind of ancient jewellery that predates back to the 1930’s. Some would say that the jewellery is old and no longer fashionable, but in the world of jewellery art, the older the piece, the more valuable it is said to be. The expensive part is basically the preserved art of the past brought into the modern era; a tangible symbol of the past, not theoretical as others would put it.


This type of jewellery is further classified to specific time frames from which it might have surfaced from. The major and most well known time frames include the following; vintagediamondring

  • The Georgian Age- within 1760- 1837
  • The Victorian Age- within 1837-1901
  • The Art Nouveau- within 1890- 1915
  • The Edwardian Period- 1901- 1915
  • The Art Deco- 1920- 1935
  • The Retro Age- 1935- 1950





The Meaning of Vintage Jewellery

Victorian jewellery is a time of high decoration and jewellery which has meaning. Many forms were decorated with flowers, birds and trees. The mid 1800s saw the coming of mourning jewellery due to Prince Albert’s untimely death. As so often fashion followed Royalty and such items as black jet and ebony jewellery were fashionable along with jewellery containing plaited hair. The Art Nouveau period into the new century where it triumphed at The Paris Exhibition around 1900. Such designers as René Lalique distanced themselves from the late 19th century undercurrents of memorial and eroticism putting greater emphasis on other materials such as glass and enamels. However other designers just re-interpreted the old designs using garlands. Insects such as dragonflies were popular and precious stones were less used. But coming more into fashion was the period when Edward VII was on the throne. Delicate lacy feminine styles were in evidence. Bows, ribbons, stars, and crescents were popular, with diamonds being set in yellow gold and platinum, diamonds being the Old European Cut, set with rose diamonds, with seed pearls and moonstones also much in evidence.

The 1920s saw the introduction of the Art Deco period lasting until the mid 1930s. Very much in evidence was the clean lines in architecture, the stylising of art and sculpture, and for jewellery geometric design that is still very much in vogue today. It was again Paris and the french leading the way with this genre at the Paris Expo Exhibition in 1925. The moods were inspired by ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture. So these designs influenced designers such as Ravasco, Thomas Fahmer , Sybil Dunlop, and companies like Mappin&Webb and Aspreys, creating jewellery and rings in geometric classical lines, often using platinum and white metals, black enamels. As the Art Deco period grew older, bolder and stricter lines became more fashionable, diamonds being the gemstone of the period, but other coloured stones were also fashionable but usually set with a principal diamond. Also Danish born designer, Georg Jensen was also creating some beautiful stylised pieces in silver, and these pieces are highly collectable today.


After the second world war Art Deco was not popular although some revival of the style did appear in the 1960s. Modernist designers started to work with different materials but in essence the growth of multiple retailers brought jewellery in all forms to the masses. Therefore as we got towards the end of the 20th Century it was many forms that had gone before that were in evidence, reproduction of old designs from any era and were obviously cheaper than the originals. It was also the real beginning of the ‘Designer Brand ‘ era. Tiffany and Cartier were joined by other brands such as Gucci, Vera Wang, Bulgari and many others. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood also dipped their toes into the jewellery design world. Today such websites as vintagetom (our own online website) specialises in all genre of jewellery eras. From modern pre-owned to mid Victorian.


The time frame from which the piece of jewellery comes from is one of the determining factors of the price range in which the jewellery will belong. The older it is, the more expensive it is. The idea is that jewellery appreciates in value with time, just like art. Also, the older it is the rarer it’s expected to be. You can contact us for any such query.
Most jewellers are able to tell the age of the jewellery from its type, material and style in which it’s made. The age of the jewellery is very important as in most cases it’s used to describe the jewel. For instance, in most auctions, jewellery is presented by its age: an Edwardian diamond ring, a Victorian necklace or an Antique diamond ring.