A Quick Guide to Vintage & Antique Jewelry

When you go through your older collections of jewelry, you may interchange the terms "antique" and "vintage" as you describe the pieces. While the terms seem similar, there are some key differences between the items. When you want to make a little extra money with vintage costume jewelry buyers, you should know the difference and what types of jewelry pieces you own.

Follow this quick guide to learn more about the differences between vintage and antique jewelry and what to look for in your personal collection.

Jewelry Ages

Jewelry buyers and dealers typically define anything antique as at least 100 years old. This means that unless your jewelry came from 1922 or earlier, then it would most likely classify under the title of vintage jewelry. In the world of costume jewelry, cheaper access to materials allowed creators to make all kinds of costume jewelry in the past 100 years.

Chances are, if you have any costume jewelry, the pieces will fall under the vintage category. If you do have any pieces you think fall into the antique category, then the pieces may include real materials, rather than fake plastics and gemstones used in costume designs.

A costume jewelry buyer can analyze your collection, estimate ages, and determine the materials featured in your pieces.

Vintage Jewelry Cutoff Dates

The start of vintage jewelry classification is around 20 to 30 years ago. This means that costume jewelry from the 1980s and early 1990s could classify as vintage pieces and may be sought out by costume jewelry buyers. Just because you have jewelry pieces you think are newer doesn't mean they are not worth any money.

In many cases, you can look on the back of pins, broaches, and bigger pieces to see the years printed on them. The manufacturing year can really help a jewelry buyer determine a value.

Costume Jewelry Prices

The year that your costume jewelry was made is not always the biggest factor in the price. Jewelry buyers will look at the quality of pieces, the design elements, and the materials used to determine the price. In some cases, you may receive a higher price for pieces that come as part of a complete collection.

For example, you could have a necklace with a matching bracelet and pin. The complete set may earn you more money rather than just selling individual pieces of jewelry.

Gather your vintage jewelry together and choose pieces you don't ever wear to determine the best options for when you sell to jewelry buyers.