New, Antique or Vintage?

The question I get asked the most is, “Do you only collect vintage jewelry?”  The simple answer is, ‘No I don’t.’  But it really is a much deeper question.  The connotation of the question, what they are really asking is, if I prefer antique or vintage jewelry over newer, designer pieces.  Again, the simple answer is, ‘No.’

There are many designers that I collect and whose pieces I love.  Some of which I am even fortunate enough to have in my personal collection.  Designers like Marla Aaron, Laurie Kaiser, Judi Powers, Margery Hirschey and more are just a few that have a place in my collection or on my Jewelry Bucket List.

A favorite from my personal collection by designer, Laurie Kaiser.  This boulder opal with inset diamond  in yellow gold surround on an oxidized  sterling silver chain is one of my favorite designer pieces.  I have several pieces from Laurie & absolutely love them all!

But deep down I am also a complete history nerd and it is a love of those histories and stories that initially drew me to collect antique and vintage jewelry.  It was this immense desire to protect the history and story behind each of the amazing pieces that I have been able to add to my personal collection.  I simply love the idea of protecting the history of a piece for future generations so that they can, one day, add their story to its.

Some of the pieces are antique, meaning they are more than 100 years old and they have a history all their own.  Some are mourning pieces created after someone’s death such as the Boyes ring.  Others may even be simple little baubles worn daily from an era long since passed.

The Boyes Ring - This antique Georgian gold & enamel band has been well-loved over the years.  The enamel is almost completely rubbed away leaving only traces of the cobalt blue around the edges & a little bit of the white & green inlay left.  The inscription inside the ring reads, "Lois Boyes died 24 July, 1820 Aged 47."  When you think about it, that means that Lois was most likely born in 1773 - almost 241 years ago!  For more about the life of Lois Boyes, click the link in the paragraph above to find out her proximity to Jack the Ripper!

These pieces are often passed from generation to generation before finding themselves homeless and that is when they cross my path.  I become their guardian for the next generation(s).  Sometimes I clean, restore or repurpose them so they can see the sunlight again before being passed on to their next caretaker.

Other pieces are vintage in nature, meaning they are 99 years or younger.  They are wedding bands from the 1930s engraved with sweet messages from groom to bride or pieces from the 1960s or later that may have been gifts commemorating a special event or life milestone.  

This is a 1960s ruby & diamond ballerina ring in platinum that converts into a pendant.  I've been fascinated by ballerina rings for years & this is the  one which started off my collection.  I'm still on the hunt for the perfect pieces with a pear shaped center diamond as well as round or oval version in sapphire.

Whether antique or vintage, these bits of jeweled history get mixed into my daily rotation amongst new one of kind or designer pieces.  They make me smile when I glance at my hands and see them sitting prominently nestled next to a one-off.  I hope to one day pass them on to my niece or step-sons in the hopes that they will again be passed on further. 

So to further answer the question, ‘No.  I don’t prefer one type of jewel over another.  I feel a kinship to newer pieces for their own style evolution and the beginning of their journey to becoming an heirloom but I feel a need to protect to jeweled storytellers of our collective past as well.”

The top ring is an antique Victorian diamond floral cluster ring, circa 1860s paired with a vintage 1980s rope-twisted band.  The Victorian ring is comprised of eight old mine cut diamonds in yellow gold.  It required some restoration to its shank but is now in a regular rotation with my other jewels.

Some of my favorites – both for their stories as well as the sentimentality that they currently hold for me – are below.  Be sure to read the captions for the history or story behind each piece.

The top ring, a 1930-40s white gold engagement ring with sapphire accents did have a much smaller old mine cut diamond in its center but it just didn't seem to fit.  I happened to have a much larger old mine cut diamond that I replaced it with.  I think the final result is both stunning & period appropriate.  One day, it will be passed on to some one who will love it as much as I do.

This Art Deco platinum & diamond Moi et Toi ring that I was fortunate enough to acquire from Jewels by Grace is one of the favorites from my personal collection now.  I love the story of Moi et Toi ring, which stands for "you & me."  Pretty romantic, don't you think?

This diamond & white gold Art Deco earrings were a special purchase from Lilliane's Jewelry for my wedding & have become not only sentimental but a true favorite in my collection.

Emerald & diamond palladium trellis ring.  This ring was one of the very first vintage pieces that I
ever purchased.  I don't know anything about its history but I have always loved the cage like effect of the trellis along the side.

This turquoise & amethyst halo ring was something unlike I had ever seen in its rosy gold color.  The color combination is what got my attention right off the bat.  It was missing one little cabochon turquoise & needed some minor repairs but it has become a staple in jewelry box.

This pre-ban ivory cherub brooch came into my life during a very stressful time & reminds me to have faith.   Although brooches aren't currently as popular as they once were, it's all about trying to find new & innovative ways to wear these old favorites.  I have curly hair & I wear brooches in my messy buns on a regular basis.

This Spanish portrait ring has a silver top & rose cut diamond surround.  In the back the ring is a small compartment that holds a bit of hair.  This ring is also a piece of mourning jewelry.  I have always loved human faces & couldn't resist this piece when I first saw it.

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  1. Your blog has very amazing antique and vintage jewellery. I am a jewellery lover and antique rings are my life. I love to shop jewellery from Vintage Times.


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