In the age of fast fashion and disposable consumer goods, the allure of vintage jewelry has never been more profound. These pieces don't just serve as beautiful accessories; they are also time capsules, preserving artistry, techniques, and sentiments from eras gone by. However, not all vintage jewelry is created equal. Understanding what is worth keeping can make the difference between owning a priceless (or highly valuable) heirloom and a piece that has done little more than gather dust for another decade.
An engagement or wedding ring passed down through the family is immeasurably precious, both not only in monetary value but even more importantly in sentimental value. You might use this for a personal piece or simply to keep it as a memento. Maybe someone in the family will even give it to their fiance or spouse in the future. However this one gets used, it's not worth selling despite how much it's worth.
Pieces that were handcrafted by family members carry an immense emotional value that cannot be priced. Whether your grandparents were artisans who made and sold jewelry or just made you a beaded bracelet for your birthday, a token item from them can help you honor them every time you wear it.
Art Deco pieces from the 1920s to 1930s are famed for their geometric shapes and bold designs. These items often contain high-quality gemstones and metals. Their timeless design ensures that they never go out of style and generally appreciate in value.
Created to commemorate lost loved ones, Victorian Mourning Jewelry often incorporates strands of the deceased's hair and dark gemstones like onyx. They serve not only as captivating conversation pieces but also as invaluable historical artifacts.
Cameos are carved images often created from shells, ivory, or agate. Their classical designs have been cherished across generations, making them a sound investment as well as a striking fashion statement.
Think on par with Chanel or Miriam Haskell. Though these pieces may not contain precious gems or metals, the craftsmanship and brand association elevate their worth, both monetarily and sentimentally.
Crafted by indigenous artisans, these pieces are more than just beautiful; they carry cultural significance. The turquoise is believed to have protective properties, adding another layer of value.
Bakelite was an early form of plastic that became hugely popular in the 20th century. Bakelite bangles, especially those with unique patterns or inlays, have become highly collectible and are a colorful addition to any outfit.
Pearl necklaces are a staple of elegance and sophistication, effortlessly transcending the boundaries of time and fashion. They can range from simple strands to elaborate designs with diamond accents. Natural or cultured, the quality of the pearls themselves—luster, size, and surface quality—can significantly impact their value.
Gold lockets are personal and sentimental, often holding small photos or mementos. Their timeless appeal and durable material make them heirloom pieces. These lockets are often more than just gold casings; they may feature intricate engravings, small jewels, or even secret compartments. Vintage gold lockets can be particularly valuable, especially those with historical significance or exceptional craftsmanship, making them both a touching keepsake and a potentially lucrative investment.
Large, flashy, and unapologetically bold cocktail rings encapsulate the glamour of past eras. They're perfect for adding a dash of drama to any ensemble. These rings often feature oversized gemstones, intricate settings, or elaborate designs that make them stand out. Because of their eye-catching nature and the high-quality materials often used in vintage versions, they can also serve as a valuable investment.
Elegant and refined, vintage cufflinks are a must-keep. Often made from silver and gold or adorned with small gems, they're an essential item for formal wear. Vintage cufflinks may also feature unique motifs or engravings that give them special significance. From formal events to family gatherings, these small but meaningful pieces can uplift any dress shirt, all while holding or increasing in value over time.
Known for their minimalist and functional designs, Scandinavian silver pieces from designers like Georg Jensen are considered modern classics.
These earrings often feature intricate patterns and delicate craftsmanship. Made usually from silver or gold, their value extends beyond mere monetary worth into the realm of artistry.
Rose gold has a warm, pinkish hue that has recently regained popularity. Vintage items in this material are especially sought after due to their age and unique coloration.
Not strictly jewelry, but Omega watches, particularly those from the mid-20th century, are increasingly coveted by collectors. They are known for their craftsmanship and precision.
The timeless designs from this iconic brand almost always appreciate in value. Whether it's a silver brooch or a diamond-studded piece, Tiffany jewelry is always a good investment.
Introduced in 1969, the Cartier Love bracelet has become an iconic symbol of love and commitment. Its value has consistently appreciated, making it an intelligent investment.
The Serpenti design from Bulgari has been popular since the 1940s, featuring snake motifs often made from gold and encrusted with gemstones. These bracelets not only serve as stunning fashion statements but also as significant investment pieces. Their value has steadily climbed over the years, making them a wise choice for any vintage jewelry collection.
The Alhambra necklace is a signature piece from the high-end jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. Its clover-shaped design has become synonymous with luck and luxury. Vintage versions of these necklaces, particularly those with rare stones or unique variations, can be highly valuable.