It’s Not New, But Which Is It: Antique, Vintage, Retro or Estate?

What Classifies Antique, Vintage, Retro or Estate

You don’t have to go far looking for a not-new piece of jewelry and you quickly realize you’re in a nominal jungle. The terms antique, vintage, retro and estate are often used inconsistently. Since we offer you antique, vintage and fine estate jewelry. Especially specializing in antique and vintage engagement rings in Redlands and Palm Springs, we would love to share some information with you which could dispel the confusion.

Antique engagement ring Redlands


The commonly accepted definition says that antique jewelry must be 100 years old. That means that every year more and more jewelry is categorized as antique. In casual contexts, however, the boundaries are not so firmly set. If we were holding onto the definition, we would say that the Art Nouveau and the Edwardian era jewelry are the “youngest” antique categories, considering the fact that they lasted until 1910 and 1915 respectively. You’ll find, however, that some jewelers include Art Deco jewelry (1920 – 1930) in the antique category. We, at Emerson & Farrar, use the traditional approach, so we would classify Art Deco jewelry as vintage.

Vintage engagement rings Redlands


You’ll see that some jewelers and retailers will classify only items 50 years old or older as vintage. On the other hand, you’ll also see that items that are more than 20 years old also get the label “vintage”. Everyone agrees, however, that vintage definitely describes something from a past era which is between 20 and 100 years old. At Emerson & Farrar, we consider that vintage jewelry is less than 100 years old and we also include in it pre-owned pieces of jewelry that are modern.

Retro jewelry

Retro jewelry is, technically speaking, jewelry made from 1935 to 1950. Retro jewelry was strongly influenced by the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. As you see, retro jewelry is included in the vintage category, but what sets it apart from other members of the group is oversizing and abundance of sparklers.

Estate engagement ring

Estate jewelry

Today, estate jewelry means pre-owned jewelry that some might sell while liquidating an estate. Estate jewelry can refer both to fine jewelry and costume jewelry. In other words, it can denote pieces made of precious metals and gemstones (fine jewelry) as well as less valuable, but also beautiful components (costume jewelry). If something is estate it can be antique, vintage, retro or even contemporary. As we said, the term “estate” only means the piece is not new and it’s most probably, but not definitely, fine jewelry.

Looking for antique or vintage engagement rings in Redlands? Visit us!

If antique and vintage engagement rings and jewelry allure you, you should definitely visit Emerson & Farrar showrooms in Redlands and Palm Springs. Not only can we offer you a vast and varied collection of estate jewelry, but we also boast a boutique selection of vintage-inspired new jewelry. Get a glimpse of our offer through our Facebook and Instagram profiles and stop by our shop!