Estate and Vintage are the most coveted accessories to own right now. Thanks to the interest in PBS’s Edwardian television drama Downton Abbey, Baz Lurhman’s Jazz Age adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and even the mainstreaming interests in retro-aesthetics like Steampunk and Neo-Victorianism, famous jewelers like Tiffany & Co., fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, and fashion chains like Anthropologie and Forever 21 are producing special lines featuring reproduction as well as reimagined vintage pieces from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Even so, there is nothing like the real thing, and bona fide vintage jewelry is in demand on both online auction houses and wholesalers like Ebay and Overstock.com, as well as local jewelers such as Noe’s Jewelry in Raymore, Missouri.
But with modern companies doing new vintage designs, why should one seek out estate jewelry? The answer is simple: estate jewelry comes from an era when pieces were not mass-manufactured as today’s accessories, and were custom designed for its wearer. Every estate piece, from an Edwardian hatpin to an Art Deco pearl necklace, is unique. They also feature design elements no longer present in today’s jewelry making, such as longer clasps and prongs, old-fashioned and discontinued modes of cut gems, and mixed fine materials such as silver pieces reinforced with white gold. They are also a good investment, as they are more often than not made of top-quality materials and will retain as well as gain more value as they further age. But, with the market being flooded with both old and new pieces, it is important to understand what these jewelry terms truly mean.
The word “estate” connotes pieces excavated from estate sales or auctions being held as a result of bankruptcy or demise, but really the term applies to any pieces that have been owned by other people before making it to the vendor. These pieces do not necessarily have to be old or rare, and include costume jewelry from the distant as well as far-reaching past. Because estate jewelry could refer to anything as young as last season’s throwaways, or last century’s forgotten treasure, the term is also often used as an umbrella term for “antique jewelry” and “vintage jewelry,” terms that both refer to the age of the piece. However, these terms are not interchangeable. An antique ring can be an estate piece, but a pair of “estate earrings” are not necessarily antique ones.
Antique jewelry are pieces that are at least over a hundred years old and include periods such as the Georgian and Victorian eras. Many committed antique jewelry collectors won’t consider anything younger than 1920. Vintage refers not to a carbon date period, but rather features a certain epoch’s designs featuring the patterns, materials, and tropes unique to certain eras like Art Deco, which is the style and time most popular now thanks to a rising interest in the Edwardian, WWI, and the Roaring Twenties eras. But beware, just because a vintage piece references the past, it may not necessarily be as valuable as the antique heirloom that inspired it. If you are in the market for the heirloom you never inherited, or want to start your own family legacy, Noe’s Jewelry has a wide and exclusive assortment of beautiful estate jewelry.
Noe’s Jewelry in Raymore, Missouri has been in the fine jewelry, diamond, and engagement ring business since 1999. Over the years, we’ve earned a reputation for our honesty, integrity, and service. Our staff and bench jewelers are available Tuesday through Saturday to answer your questions about wedding bands, diamonds, and timepieces. You can call Noe’s Jewelry at (816) 322-7227or click here to visit the Contact page on our website.