Description of Jewellery Terms

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I get asked lots of questions like, "What is meant by vintage jewellery?", How old is Art Nouveau?", "What do you class as antique?", to name a few!  So, I've put together this guide to help and shed some light!  All the information I've included is what I've learnt over the years and what other people have been kind enough to share with me. I am certainly not an expert and I am still learning.  Generally, this is what I use to categorise and describe items in my shop.  I am always happy to share any information and if you have any questions or comments about what's included here, please let me know so I can include it.

Vintage Jewellery: This term applies to jewellery that was manufactured around 25 years ago up to about 100 years ago. Vintage jewellery has been owned by someone else, no matter what era. More recently, even the mid 1990s is considered vintage. Very often, it is difficult to date a piece exactly, so as a rule of thumb it's easy to say from about the 1940s up to the early/mid 1990s.

Antique Jewellery: This term applies to Victorian jewellery and items that are over 100 years of age.  It will include the periods Georgian, Victorian, Arts & Crafts and just about Art Nouveau.

Vintage Inspired Jewellery (Vintage Style Jewellery):   In the style of vintage or retro style - you may have seen these terms used. The jewellery is brand new and has  aspects or has been designed in a style of many years ago.

Retro Jewellery:   The term retro means "old fashioned" or associated with the past/revived from the past. Used mostly for jewellery from the 1940s and 1950s that has a distinct old fashion - quaint look.

Kitsch Jewellery:   This applies to jewellery that was once popular and has a sentimental appeal. Now the term refers to items with mass appeal that have become highly collectible.  It's a stroll down memory lane and can include - pop-it bead necklaces, love beads, macrame jewellery and dried flowers in resin brooches (to name just a few).

Second Hand, Pre-Owned, Pre-Loved:  This means that items have been pre owned or pre loved and so are not new.

The time frames in jewellery history are:
• Late Georgian (1760-1837), Victorian (1837-1901).
• Art Nouveau (1890-1915), Edwardian (1901-1915).
• Art Deco (1920-1935), and Retro (1935-1950).
• Jewellery before the Late Georgian era is very hard to find.
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