While many purveyors of antique jewelry carry both authentic and reproduced pieces, Isadoras has consistently maintained a steadfast loyalty to jewelry that is exclusively vintage and antique. To offer you an informed shopping experience, we would like to shed light on some of the industry's common terminology.
Webster’s Dictionary defines antique jewelry as 100 years or older, while the colloquial definition describes antique jewelry as 50 years or older. We embrace the Webster's definition; over half of the pieces in our heirloom collection date from the 1800s and are easily over 100 years old.
Some sources refer to vintage jewelry as 20 to 30 years old. At Isadoras, true vintage jewelry is defined as 50 years or older.
The circa date estimates a twenty-year span in which a piece of jewelry was created. For example, a diamond ring with a 1920 circa date, was crafted approximately between 1910 and 1930.
Unless jewelry is hallmarked, or a physical receipt is present, an appraiser determines the circa date of an antique piece by examining the stone's cut, the metal used, the style, and the construction.
Estate jewelry is simply jewelry that was previously owned. Many equate the term "estate jewelry" with "antique jewelry." However, unlike antique jewelry, estate jewelry does not have to be old - it just has to be used. So, while almost all antique jewelry is also estate jewelry, only a portion of estate jewelry is actually antique.
Isadoras uses an independent appraiser (North American Gemological Laboratory) to verify the age and value of pieces over a specific price point. For jewelry not evaluated by North American Gemological Laboratory (NAGL), Laura Dalesandro and Elizabeth Schoenleber use over 60 years of collective experience in the antique jewelry business to determine the piece's age and value.
When you purchase an appraised piece from Isadoras, we provide the NAGL appraisal and request an appraisal reprint for insurance purposes that includes your name. We are happy to provide an in-house appraisal for any pieces that are not sent to North American Gemological Laboratory.
Words to Watch Out For - Clues That a Piece of Jewelry is Not Old
A reproduction is a piece of new jewelry intended to look old. However, it is impossible to replicate antique jewelry's innate beauty, which is deeply embodied in its authenticity, craftsmanship, and rarity. Antique and vintage jewelry will always be investment-worthy purchases, as these one-of-a-kind pieces will continue to appreciate in value, while mass-produced reproductions will not.
Using the word style is a tricky way to pass off new, reproduced pieces as vintage or antique without "technically" lying. Words like Deco Style and Edwardian Style are terms used to indicate that a piece was produced with the stylistic elements of a particular era, but was not actually made during that time period.