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10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Antique and Vintage Jewellery

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

Number One - The History

Perhaps the first thing that springs to mind when considering antique and vintage jewellery is their age. We are transported into the past to by-gone eras; starting with the one where the piece was made and then journeying forward through its timeline wondering where it might have been and what it might of witnessed. There is something both marvellous and fascinating about knowing that everyday you have been here so has your new (to you) jewel; although your paths have only just crossed. These objects, yet so small, have survived for decades and generations due to the fact they are precious, they are beautiful and they hold meaning. When we become the keepers of antique and vintage jewels we do not only offer the chance for future generations to take a glance back into the past, but also we preserve what has been. The moment when the piece was made is forever captured in these beautiful objects.

Number Two - The Craftsmanship

Of course fine craftsmanship exists in contemporary jewellery, however, this is a small select section of the market and the majority of the jewellery manufactured today is produced on a mass scale in the most cost effective way. Quality craftsmanship is found in abundance in antique and older vintage pieces. A major cause being the fact that the mass-production techniques that exist today, as well as the global market as we know it, were just not around in the way we know them. With old jewellery, we are spoilt with hand pierced details, fine engraving, intricately soldered and painstakingly hand assembled mounts with individually crafted parts and so much more.

Number Three - The diversity

Pick your era! There are so many to choose from! Whether it's a period in time that intrigues you or a specific design movement there is so much choice. Each era comes with its own historic associations, defining design styles and techniques. You can mix and match or you can stay true to one that you adore the most. What will it be? The smooth curves and decorative florals of Art Nouveau or the ground breaking linear forms and geometric structures of Art Deco? The romantic symbolism of the Victorians or the bold and quirky 1960s? I personally go for what speaks to me and what I gravitate towards naturally so I am not fixed into one period/style!

Number Four - The Sustainability

Nothing can be more sustainable than using and loving what is already here. When collecting vintage and antique pieces of jewellery, you are ensuring that no new materials have been taken from the planet's earth to accommodate your jewellery box addition. Your piece has probably already past through the hands of many keepers who have loved and adored it or chosen to part with it; the reality is their value and rarity ensure they are never binned, they will always be passed down, sold, re-designed or re-homed.

Number Five - The Design Classics

We have all been there; looking back on a photo from about 10 years ago where the styles and trends of the time are just no longer "à la mode". My theory is that it takes a little bit longer for a style or trend to be far enough in the past that they become a forever classic. This makes even the most out there and non-traditional designs from the past "design classics" simply because they are authentic versions of themselves. If you are looking for a classic design such as a cluster ring or a diamond solitaire then versions of these exist in pretty much every design style and era. Just have a look and take your pick! A piece that has stood the test of time and already managed to stay relevant, over generations, will remain forever in style.

Number Six - The Individuality

When pieces are handmade they tend to have more quirks; perhaps an imperfect angle on a hand cut stone or a maker's tool carving marks that don't quite match on each side. These little quirks make these pieces complete unique individual pieces. Although we can see design styles and features pop up in certain design periods or places where pieces have been made with antique and vintage jewellery, you're often hard stretched to find two pieces the alike. If you do they are often sisters, rather than twins, and no two pieces are exactly the same. One thing is for sure, the chances of seeing someone wearing the same design is pretty as close to zero as it gets.

Number Seven - The Details

One of the easiest ways to see if a ring could potentially be an old one is to turn it over and have a look at its under-gallery. In an antique ring, no matter what size the gemstone, the underneath will all be hand finished with potentially some beautiful metalwork details such as a laced gallery or a scalloped backing. In many more recent rings, especially ones with less significant stones, you will see the rough and bumpy telltale texture of an unfinished cast metal surface. True, this will not be seen when worn, but this is why I admire the attention to detail of the craftsmen of the past so much. Every nook and cranny as been treated as if it's the star of the show even if it will only ever be appreciated by the one that wears it.

Number Eight - The Investment

Is antique and vintage jewellery an investment? The short answer is yes. The value of gold, although it can fluctuate short term, has always been steady longterm. There is security in the currency of gold, but what makes antiques and vintage pieces, in particular, more interesting investment pieces? Well, their rarity; they are rare now and they will be rarer as time goes on. They are not just valued for their material value but for what they are, when they were made and if they are collectible. Like any industry there are trends in antique jewellery; this means pieces can suddenly become super desirable and collectible. As these pieces are antique, manufacturers can't simply hop on the trend. There is a limited amount and the market can't become saturated, they only become scarcer.

Number Nine - The Stories

Whether you are lucky enough to know the story of your piece or not, one thing is for sure and that is that it has one. Layers of meaning and sentiment embody our pieces as we hand them down to a loved one, walk down the aisle in them, congratulate a loved one with them. When you open the box of a new antique or vintage jewel, you are not at the start of its story, although, you are at the start of your story with this piece. With new items, I don't think we are encouraged to reflect on where our new purchase has been and where it is going in the same way we are with old pieces. We think about its story from the past and what could await it next, if we pre-imagine the future of our possessions, perhaps we are more likely to make more sustainable choices for them as well.

Number Ten - The beauty

As an antique and vintage jewellery fanatic... some may call me biased but when I hear people say "they just don't make things like they used to"... it rings true! To me, the designs of the past are unquestionably the most beautiful; because of their intricacy, their quality and the fact that time has made them iconic. It is something that cannot be fabricated but something that a design style or aesthetic can only gain over time.

Thank you so much for reading! If you are not already converted then take a scroll through my shop or instagram and see for yourself!


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