Vintage jewelry is a collector's dream and my personal favorite.
There is something for everyone with hundreds of years, styles, and materials.
The most common vintage and antique jewelry pieces date from around 1875 to the 1980s.
Even in the 1800s, there were thousands of companies producing jewelry.
Late 1800's Victorian Jewelry
Known colloquially as the Edwardian and Victorian eras. Royalty pushed the style, and Queen Victoria's had a lot to do with the fashions of the time. Gold filled jewelry from that era is beautiful and reasonably priced for beginning collectors. It has a wonderful authentic appearance and just enough gold in it to not turn but not enough gold to hold value on its own. Garnets and seed pearls were popular gemstones. Mourning jewelry was also popular during the period because Queen Victoria was in mourning. The jewelry was black and made from unusual materials. On many levels, it is conservative, yet makes a statement.
The Art Deco era began in the mid 1920s. Modernist, sleek designs that were adapted and revolved around France. It's almost as if Victorian style gave way to floral art nouveau style, which gave way to the sleek angular Art Deco style with geometric shapes. Gold, sterling silver, platinum, and chrome were popular materials in Art Deco jewelry.
1940's Retro to 1960s
Retro and daring into the 1940s, with a patriotic twist. Bakelite was used to make bracelets, earrings, and other trinkets. Bakelite is an old plastic that is no longer in use. The 1940s saw a shortage of metals and jobs for fine jewelry designers. This was the period when it was proven that fakes could look just as good as real fine jewelry, and designers turned to costume jewelry companies to design and keep working. Beautiful pieces were designed for and by companies such as Trifari, Weiss, Hobe, Joseph of Hollywood, Miriam Haskell, Boucher, and many others.
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.