Vintage jewelry is a dream area of collecting and my very favorite.
With hundreds of years, styles and materials, there is something for everyone.
The most frequently seen vintage and antique jewelry pieces come from about 1875 to the 1980's. There were thousands of companies making jewelry even in the 1800's.
Late 1800's Victorian Jewelry
Commonly referred to as the Edwardian and Victorian period. Royalty helped push the style and queen Victoria's that had much to do with the styles of the time. For beginning collectors, gold filled jewelry of that period is gorgeous and reasonably priced. It has a wonderful real look to it and has just enough gold in it to not turn but not enough gold for it to hold value on it's own. Garnets and seed pearls were popular. Mourning jewelry also a big portion of the era because Queen Victoria was in mourning. Jewelry was black and made of unique materials. Its conservative on many levels but makes a statement.
The mid 1920s brought with it the Art Deco era. Modernist, simple sleek designs adapted and revolved from France. It's almost like Victorian transformed into the floral art nouveau style to then to the sleek angular Art Deco style with geometric shapes. Gold, sterling, platinum and chrome were big components in jewelry of the Art Deco period.
1940's Retro to 1960s
Retro and bold into the 1940s along with a patriotic flare. In the early 1940s Bakelite was being used to make bracelets earrings and other trinkets. Bakelite is an old plastic not being used today. 1940's wartime brought a shortage of metals and jobs for designers of fine jewelry. This period was when it was proven fakes can look just as good as the real fine jewelry and designers went to the costume jewelry companies to design and keep working. Magnificent pieces were created for and by companies like Trifari, Weiss, Hobe, Joseph of Hollywood, Miriam Haskell, Boucher and many more.
Pieces made during this period if kept clean and dry can look like when they were made. Quality materials were used and care was taken.
1970's - 1990's
The glamour and Hollywood gave way to a freer time. Boho chic into 80's with Madonna's black rubber bangle bracelets and Memphis style to grunge. Matte gold and BOLD. Designer names still matter. Givenchy, Dior, Missoni, Monet, Chanel, Bottega Veneta.