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Why Vintage Isn't "Less Than" Antique

Do you think that sometimes vintage jewellery can sometimes be perceived as 'less than' it's antique counterparts? I personally believe that, yes, it can be perceived as less desirable. But here is why I...

Do you think that sometimes vintage jewellery can sometimes be perceived as 'less than' it's antique counterparts?

Less well made, less attractive, less intriguing?

I personally believe that, yes, it can be perceived as less desirable. But here is why I think this is understandable but misguided.

First, let's turn back the clock to the 1800s...

15 ct albertina chain

Many factors, not least the mechanisation of jewellery and the gold rush, meant that that 1800s was full of new jewellery. The newly affluent were able to buy fine jewellery, and jewellers catalogues brimmed with the treasures of the time.

A huge volume of this jewellery was hand made or hand finished, and that which remains today is of generally good quality - it's made it this far, after all.

To quote the Lorax, business is business and business must grow! This mass production roared on into the 1900s to present day, and with even more pieces to choose from, the range of quality of craftsmanship widened. 

So, when I am out sourcing new stock, it is true that pieces which fit into the vintage category (less than 100 years old) do have a much broader range of build quality.

To clarify: when I’m looking at 100 antique rings and 100 vintage rings, the 100 antique are going to be generally higher quality.

But vintage jewellery has a huge space in my heart, and I’ll tell you why.

green five stone ring and ruby and pearl vintage harem ring

In the 1800s, times moved slowly. Queen Victoria mourned Prince Albert for 40 years! Cripes!

Themes such as Mizpah rings, buckle and garter motifs, architectural revivals, and celestial jewellery reigned supreme for literal decades.

Which is grand, because we love all of these things, don't we?

But then Queen Victoria died, society was ready for a change, and boy, did they change fast. The fresh Edwardian, Art Nouveau, and Deco themes came decade by decade.

And post World War 2? When women learned they could both make jewellery and design and wear things they liked and enjoyed?

Every decade is full of joys, changes, and celebrations of materials, gemstones, techniques and the exploration of themes.

1950s opal trilogy ring

Watching these themes evolve over the past 100 years is endlessly fascinating. 

So in summary, the most important consideration in purchasing jewellery is the story it tells and what it means to you.

Which is not dictated by its age alone.

Here at The Piece London you will only ever find pieces of substance and intrigue, and whether they are antique, vintage, modern or a conversion, you can be assured that you will enjoy them for decades.

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