Many of us have silver which has been handed down from family members. We automatically think of it as an antique. However, our silver heirlooms may not be as old, or as valuable as we may think they are. Below is an explanation of the differences between antique and vintage. It will help give you some clarity, and maybe work out if your family silver is worth a lot of money or not.
One of the significant problems with antiques and vintage items is that there are no clear definitions of either, although there are commonly accepted ones. It is worth bearing this in mind when you are purchasing silver as well, especially from unknown sources online. Many reputable antique dealers agree on the basic definitions of antique and vintage, which you can see below.
The Commonly Accepted Definition Of Antique
Most reputable antique silver dealers agree that if an item is to be antique, it must be at least 100 years old. Jewellery of this age offers both historical and artistic importance and can give us a glimpse of the past. Antique silver jewellery can become damaged over time, but it is possible to repair it. However, the item must not be more than 50% restored as it may no longer be considered an antique.
The Commonly Accepted Definition Of Vintage
The definition of vintage is even looser than that of antique, and there are a couple of commonly accepted explanations. The most common one is something that is a vintage item is a predominant style from a specific period. An excellent example of this would be the futuristic designs of the 1950’s or the iconic fashion statements first made in the 1960’s. So if something is to be classed as vintage, it would be the most popular style from the era from which it came. It is also commonly accepted that a vintage item is less than one hundred years old.
Are Antiques More Valuable Than Vintage Items?
There is also no clear answer to this question, but as a general rule of thumb, antiques would probably be considered more valuable than vintage items. However, that does not take into account fashion and demand. If a particular style of vintage jewellery becomes fashionable again, then this could become more valuable than a similar antique one. When it comes to valuing your antiques, there are two different types of valuations, which can be confusing.
The Different Valuations
There are two main types of valuations when it comes to jewellery, and the first would be the insurance value. If something should happen to the item and it is covered under your insurance, this is the value attributed to it that the insurance company will pay to reimburse you. The second valuation takes into account the scrap value of the materials that make up the piece, such as gold, diamonds, silver, and so on. It is vital to realize that this value is a lot less than the insurance value, and if you were to sell the piece instead, you might be able to get more than the scrap value for your jewellery if there is a demand for it.