Five Reasons to Buy Antique and Vintage Jewellery
It’s no secret that at Farringdons, we love antique and vintage jewellery!
The Difference Between ‘Antique’ and ‘Vintage’
The terms ‘antique’ and ‘vintage’ are often used more interchangeably than they should be. So, what’s the difference between antique and vintage jewellery?
Technically, a piece has to be at least a hundred years old in order to be considered an antique. However it’s not uncommon for both collectors and dealers to refer to pieces that are slightly newer than that as ‘antique’.
This is particularly common with Art Deco era pieces, like the 1920s era sapphire and diamond brooch pictured to the right, which is on the cusp of being an antique, but is not quite technically there.
In order to be considered as ‘vintage’ a piece generally has to be at least twenty years old.
Five Reasons to Buy Antique and Vintage Jewellery
With that in mind, here are five great reasons to buy antique and vintage jewellery:
1) Outstanding Value
Did you know that antique, vintage and secondhand jewellery are VAT-exempt? That instantly makes these pieces 20% less expensive than a comparable piece of brand new jewellery!
In general, an antique or vintage piece will cost less than its modern counterpart because there are no manufacturing costs involved and because the stones are cheaper. Modern stones like round brilliant cut diamonds are more desirable to diamond dealers than antique old cut diamonds, which can result in significant savings. However, old cut stones are in no way inferior to modern stones, in fact, they’re highly desirable and collectable.
Antique and vintage jewellery consistently offers a better value than brand new jewellery, so in choosing a piece from the past such as this Edwardian era three stone diamond engagement ring, you’ll get more for your money.
2) Better Quality
People often lament, ‘they don’t make things like they used to’. This is true of many things, including jewellery.
While most modern jewellery is cast, antique jewellery is always handmade and vintage jewellery is sometimes handmade or at the very least hand-finished.
Antique and vintage jewellery is often imitated but rarely duplicated. Even in high-end bespoke modern pieces, it’s nearly impossible to find the same level of quality and workmanship as we commonly see in antique and vintage jewellery. The Edwardian era diamond and emerald bow ring that is pictured to the right is an excellent example of this.
Antique and vintage jewels were made by highly-skilled craftsmen who took their time, often creating intricate and unique pieces on a bespoke basis, rather than for the mass market. This is evident in the high standard of workmanship we see in antique and vintage jewellery, which is more delicate and refined than most of the pieces that are produced today.
3) It’s an Investment
If you’ve ever tried to sell a piece of secondhand jewellery, you were probably shocked at how little you were offered for it. That’s because modern jewellery is valued based upon how much the metal and gemstones are worth separately on the wholesale market.
Antique and vintage jewellery is worth more than the sum of its parts because each piece is unique and it cannot be duplicated using modern production methods. Generally speaking, antique and vintage jewellery costs less than new jewellery and yet it’s worth more!
It’s like buying a car. A new car loses a significant amount of its value as soon as you drive it off of the lot, but there will always be a demand and buyers for beautiful antique and vintage cars.
4) It’s Unique and Romantic
When you buy a piece of antique or vintage jewellery, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever come across another piece exactly like it. Older pieces were created with an emphasis on design and craftsmanship, whereas many modern pieces are primarily focused on the size of the stone(s).
Even prolific styles like diamond solitaire engagement rings were unique in years past because they were often bespoke and handmade with beautiful flourishes like pierced openwork galleries, carved shanks, hand-done millegrain work, and calibré cut accent stones, which are rarely seen in modern jewellery due to the expense.
The video below shows a stunning example of calibré cut sapphires set within an Art Deco era cocktail ring.
There’s an intangible element of romance that’s inherent in wearing a piece with history. Did your Art Deco earrings once belong to a flapper? Was a suffragette the first one to wear your Edwardian era engagement ring?
Antique jewellery tells the story of another time and place and it can be fun to imagine who wore it in the past, where it’s been and its story.
5) It’s Ethical and Environmentally Friendly
Many people are drawn to antique and vintage jewellery for ethical or environmental reasons.
The ethical issues associated with diamond and metal mining are well known and are understandably cause for concern. Jewellery that is made from ethically-sourced materials is available, but it commands a premium price and even with the best of intentions, you can never be 100% certain of its impact. Choosing antique or vintage jewellery is one way to know for sure that you aren’t contributing to these ongoing issues, and it won’t cost you a cent more.
It takes a significant amount of water and energy to mine gemstones and precious metals, this means that new jewellery cannot be produced in an environmentally friendly way. When you choose a beautiful piece of antique or vintage jewellery, you choose to be a conservator rather than a consumer.
When you buy a piece of jewellery with history, you’re supporting a local business instead of a big corporation. At the same time, you’re lessening your impact on the environment.
If you love the look, romance and history of older pieces, there are many compelling reasons to buy antique and vintage jewellery.
Jewellery makes a very personal statement about the person wearing it, so the most important consideration should always be whether or not you love the piece. What does it say about you? How does it make you feel?
Whatever your personal style, we invite you to stop by our shop in Hatton Garden to look through our hundreds of antique, vintage and modern jewels. And if nothing catches your eye, we also offer a bespoke service, so you can have exactly what you want.