Since its creation, Castafiore's mission has been to offer a second life to vintage, old and second-hand jewelry. But what is vintage, anyway? An overused term par excellence, the name “vintage” often changes meaning depending on its field of application, between fashion, automobiles and jewelry.

Through this article, we help you see more clearly about vintage jewelry, from its definition to its authentication. Follow the guide to understand the differences between vintage, old and second hand and choose your future favorite necklace or bracelet in the best conditions.

What is vintage?

Originally, the word “vintage” was exclusively related to the field of oenology, as a derivative of “harvest”. It in fact designates the vintage of a wine, that is to say the year of harvest of the grapes used in the production of this same wine. We then say indifferently that a year is an excellent vintage or an excellent vintage. By extension, a good vintage also characterizes a fruitful year for a company, an artist, etc.

It is in the English language that the term “vintage” acquires a new meaning and a pronunciation that certainly betrays its origins. It now makes it possible to name everything that is considered old in English, thus becoming one of the synonyms for “old”. Since the 1980s, the new meaning of the word “vintage” has also been used in the French language, in which it is sometimes considered the exact equivalent of the term “retro”.

In French-speaking countries, we speak of “vintage” to refer to objects dating from a bygone era , in the broad sense. Clothing, accessories, furniture, cars, various appliances: everything can be described as vintage as long as the period of production of these objects is not contemporary with the subject. In jewelry, vintage, however, comes with a more precise definition, since we make the difference between vintage jewelry and antique jewelry.

Note also that, in the world of fashion in particular, retro mainly represents a style imitating vintage. In other words, a retro sweater is, for example, a vintage-inspired piece of clothing. This therefore does not mean that his production dates from an earlier period, but rather that he takes up the aesthetic codes of a past decade. Vintage jewelry indeed refers to so-called “period” jewelry.

What period does vintage jewelry belong to?

While all vintage jewelry is antique pieces , not all antique jewelry is vintage creations. These two types of jewelry are actually distinguished by their time of manufacture, to the extent that vintage is more recent than old. On a timeline, vintage rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches and earrings then come after their antique counterparts.

On the one hand, antique jewelry consists of all jewelry created before around 1960. However, some jewelers consider an antique piece of jewelry to be one that is 100 years old or more. However, this definition leaves out a good number of creations, to the extent that vintage jewelry is based on more recent pieces.

On the other hand, vintage is embodied in pieces designed between the 1960s and the end of the 20th century in jewelry. Here again, not all professionals agree on the question: some in fact believe that vintage jewelry symbolizes all jewelry created more than 20 years ago without exception. We can nevertheless affirm that a vintage piece of jewelry is an object dated from a past decade, of which it brilliantly reflects the trends, standards or creativity.

Vintage brooch and necklace

Can all jewelry be vintage?

In essence, saying that a piece of jewelry is vintage necessarily implies a bias of subjectivity. We thus judge the vintage or old character of an object in relation to its own era , which is why a gem from the 1990s is a vintage creation in the 2020s, but will become an antique piece within a few decades.

All jewelry is therefore likely to become vintage over time. This notably contradicts the widespread idea that vintage and old correspond more to a style than to a time marker in jewelry. Currently, the aesthetic codes specific to Art Nouveau, Art Deco or the tank style make it possible, for example, to identify old pieces. In a few years, styles considered more modern in our time will also belong to vintage or antique jewelry, depending, in short, on their vintage.

How to ensure the authenticity of a vintage piece of jewelry?

Resolutely trendy in our modern societies, vintage is part of a sustainable and eco-responsible approach, in total harmony with the environmental issues of today and tomorrow. Promoting “period” jewelry effectively means favoring jewels already produced and therefore opposing a very contemporary logic of overproduction. However, it can seem difficult to navigate between authentic vintage pieces and vintage-inspired retro creations.

At Castafiore, jewelry experts rigorously and meticulously authenticate all the jewelry put on sale through our online catalog. Thus, the vintage rings , bracelets, necklaces , brooches and earrings featured on our site have all passed through the hands of our specialists. Whether signed or unsigned, our vintage, old or second-hand pieces must meet all our requirements for quality, durability and aesthetics to join our collection of beautiful jewelry.

Some of our vintage jewelry is also second-hand, perfectly meeting the criteria of life jewelry, jewelry steeped in history, which stands out as a privileged witness to the moments in the life of its owners. Trust our expertise and find an exceptional ring or earrings among our thousand and one references to wear, exchange, offer and transform without any moderation.

The biggest jewelry houses are also represented on our online store. Succumb, for example, to the timeless charm of a Hermès bracelet or Boucheron earrings . Also bet on a vintage necklace without signature , according to your favorites and in accordance with your budget.