There’s an adage that says classic never goes out of style. There is something fascinating about items and objects from the bygone era. People collect classic cars and motorcycles, first edition books, unique rings, old paintings made by the old masters, and anything that has been passed down through many generations. These things are considered significant, valuable, and beautiful. That couldn’t be truer in the world of fashion, particularly in jewelry.
This is why there are hobbyists who are into collecting vintage and antique jewelry. Aside from their intricate and elegant designs, there is something magical about vintage pieces of jewelry. If you’re big into fashion and jewelry collection, then you probably wonder what’s a better investment – vintage or new jewelry?
Vintage vs New Jewelry – What’s a Better Investment
The choice isn’t clear-cut since there are reasons to choose either one. It is also worth noting that each type of jewelry has its own appeal depending on the preference and style of the user. This guide will help you know more about the characteristics of each type and how they differ from each other before you buy them from an online vintage jewelry store.
How they are made
Jewelry has been around for literally thousands of years. Over these years, jewelers have used and developed different techniques of working with gemstones and precious metals to produce different styles and designs. This has a profound effect on the look of the jewelry.
Technology and innovations have made the process faster, smoother, and less expensive. While this paved the way for some of the most remarkable works of art, it also means mass production in largely the same styles has been made easier. Jewelry designs become merely variations of one design and theme. This led to the homogenization of styles, something like a cookie-cutter.
For diamonds, for example, the most popular cut today is called the modern round brilliant cut. More than a quarter of diamonds sold in the market today are modern round brilliant cuts.
Jewelry cutters can produce them with exact precision, and can even produce more stones from a single rough diamond. The textbook proportions of this cut maximize the beauty of what the stone has to offer – great light reflection, extremely bright and polished look. The problem with this cut, however, is they are identical to each other. Meaning, unless you are a professional diamond grader, you will never see the difference in each cut. There is no sense of uniqueness anymore.
Though pre-modern era diamonds were cut using early machines, those machines were largely dependent on the skills and craftsmanship of the jewelers. The hand-driven procedure makes each cut special and unique.
Today, diamonds are graded for their color, clarity, cut, and carat. The Gemological Institute of America or GIA even provides grading and certification of diamonds. However, this independent non-profit organization doesn’t insist on grading antique and vintage diamonds at all. This is because there are no definitive requirements for the clarity, color, and cut of old diamonds.
Subsequently, the setting where the diamond (or any stone sits), whether it’s earrings, rings, necklaces, brooch, etc., would almost always be handcrafted.
There will be imperfections, but that’s part of their charm. While modern jewelry can be perfect, it also means they are exact copies of each other.
One of the most common concerns in buying antique and vintage items is the durability of the jewelry. The reasoning is understandable – older pieces have gone through years of wear and tear and have endured damage throughout their lifetime, making them less durable than their modern counterparts. But is this truly the case?
While it is easy to think that modern jewelry is crafted in a precise and practically imperishable manner, most are not actually made with this idea in mind. Most jewelers of modern pieces of jewelry aren’t interested in the long-term survival of the jewelry. They make dozens, if not hundreds of copies of each style, as fast as possible.
Antique and vintage jewelry, on the other hand, have endured the test of time. This is because each piece is made with an intricate eye for detail. Each piece is also cared for by successive owners through generations and generations; they are treated with reverence, love, and respect. Also, antiques that weren’t constructed to be durable have already disintegrated. Thus, those that still around have indeed stood the test of time.
Modern jewelry may be spotless, but old ones tell a story
Antiques and vintage have stories to tell. Whether it’s as simple as an estate piece from a store, or an heirloom, jewelry will not survive long without a story and history behind it. It requires attention, effort, and love for a piece to stay in good conditions for decades. While you may not know their full stories, you will see a glimpse of their past, along with the mysteries that come with them. That’s not something modern jewelry could offer.