How Does Vintage Jewelry Differ From New Jewelry?

The term “vintage” means different things to many people. For Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, it opens up an entirely different realm of choices for our customers. The way we use it, “vintage” simply means a piece of jewelry that was previously owned. Diamonds, gemstones, and precious metals are already millions of years old. Because of this, the distinction between “new” and “used” is more easily blurred in jewelry than other industries.

Vintage art deco earrings set with diamonds and purple and green gemstones.
Vintage open wide hinged bangle set with diamonds.

“Vintage” includes pieces ranging in age from those crafted centuries ago to those just born yesterday. Some pieces are from renowned designers such as Tiffany & Co., David Yurman, and Cartier, while others are irreplaceable treasures.

Drawing on decades of experience and technical knowledge, our expert jewelers scrutinize each piece. This ensures that it is authentic, made with genuine materials, and of top quality. Any pieces that do not pass their rigorous inspection are passed on to wholesaler. Those pieces that are deemed worthy of our standards and yours are reconditioned to look their absolute best. Our master jewelers skillfully retouch, refinish, and refurbish them so well that you’d swear they were just made yesterday!

There’s no difference in quality between our vintage and new jewelry – one of the best reasons to invest in vintage pieces! In fact, buying vintage gives you a much larger variety to choose from. You’re not limited to what manufacturers have decided to offer this season. Pre-owned jewelry is more distinctive than brand new pieces. And, when you wear something that people find fascinating or exceptional, it draws a lot of attention!

Vintage art deco engagement ring centered with a diamond.
Vintage art deco engagement ring centered with a diamond.

What Kind of Vintage Jewelry is There?

Antique jewelry from specific time periods – such as the Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Retro, Edwardian, and Victorian eras – frequently boasts extraordinary attention to detail and superb craftsmanship that mass-produced items will never have. Whether they are true antiques or more recently minted treasures, a skilled maker uses high-quality materials. They create vintage pieces that will very likely continue to appreciate over time.

When you buy vintage jewelry, you’re not only investing in unsurpassed quality and fantastic originality; you’re getting unbeatable value. Because our jewelers do all reconditioning in-house, we cut out the mark-up, so you get more for less. Our pieces have the same integrity and appearance as brand-new items without the daunting price tag. It’s even easier to afford the designer and luxurious style that you deserve. You get the same prestige at a different price!

Whether you like to splurge frequently on treats for celebratory events or a job well done, or periodically make more considered investments, buying vintage jewelry from Leo’s is a reliable, respected, eco-friendly way to make your dollars work harder. Let our vintage jewelry enrich your life with more style, sophistication, and a piece of history. And as always, we have a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re ever less than completely satisfied!

Sell Vintage Jewelry

Are you interested in ridding your jewelry box of those old items you no longer wear? Don’t sell your vintage jewelry to just anyone! Bring it in to Leo Hamel Jewelry Buyers & Gold Buyers.

Selling your vintage jewelry to San Diego’s premiere jewelry buyers is simple and stress-free. Visit one of our five convenient locations here in San Diego for a free evaluation today!

Vintage jewelry

In order for a piece of jewelry to be considered vintage, it has to be 20 years or older. These pieces are typically pre-owned, or pre-loved as we like to say, and can be characterized by the period from which they originated.

Different Eras of Vintage Jewelry:

  • Georgian Jewelry: Circa 1714-1837. Distinct characteristics of Georgian era jewelry include flower, ribbon, feather, and foliage motifs. These pieces are all hand made and feature intricate metal work.
  • Victorian Jewelry: Circa 1837-1901. Victorian era jewelry was crafted during an age known as the Romantic Period. Therefore, it is not surprising that many of these pieces are shaped as hearts, arrows, and love knots. These jewels were often crafted from 18k gold and usually featured gemstones such as agate, diamond, emerald, and garnet.
  • Art Nouveau Jewelry: Circa early 1890’s-1910. Art Nouveau pieces were crafted more uniquely than the jewelry of other eras. These pieces were often made of materials such as animal horns, including ivory. They frequently featured depictions of nude women, which was rather risqué for the time period. There was not a great deal of focus on gemstones but rather on other details.
  • Edwardian Jewelry: Circa 1901-1915. Edwardian era designs closely resembled eighteenth-century jewelry. Pieces from this era emphasized flowing, graceful lines making them very feminine. Common Edwardian motifs include florals, lace, ribbons, bows, and other curved designs.
  • Art Deco Jewelry: Circa 1920-1935. Most pieces from the Art Deco era were made from white gold or platinum as the popularity of yellow gold declined. These special pieces feature distinct geometric designs and filigree details commonly seen in the movie The Great Gatsby.
  • Retro Jewelry: Circa 1940-1950. Retro jewelry pieces were designed during a period of transition, namely World War II. These events inspired the design of these jewelry pieces, such as wartime restrictions on platinum. Most retro pieces were fashioned from yellow or rose gold. The retro period also saw brooches become a popular addition to women’s fashion.
  • Modern Jewelry: Circa 1950’s-present. Advances in technology have enabled jewelers to create pieces using a variety of different materials that were previously unconventional and/or unpliable. Many pieces often still feature traditional designs but with unique details and exquisite gems, particularly the diamond.

There are several factors to be considered when determining the value of your vintage fine jewelry including:

  • Condition
  • Rarity
  • History
  • Period significance
  • Demand

Fine jewelry is masterfully designed to withstand the tests of time. Just because a piece has been previously owned and worn does not mean that it hold any less value or quality. With proper cleaning and care, we can make your vintage jewelry look as good as new! Collect the top price in San Diego for your vintage jewelry at Leo Hamel Jewelry Buyers & Gold Buyers and let us find your timeless treasures a new home!

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