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What actually constitutes Vintage? 

We’ve already established that Antique jewellery has to be over 100 years old to be truly considered an antique for evaluation purposes- but where do the terms vintage and retro come into play?

It is quite tricky for the average or inexpert buyer to understand or properly identify these questions. Why? This is because as time inexorably marches on, the dates and allocations of retro, vintage and antique shift. So in 50 years time what was once retro will now be an antique piece. But currently, there is an a fairly standard definition of what constitutes vintage. 

Vintage Tiffany Diamond Brooch, $4,530.00

Vintage, much like a fine wine is best left to the experts. Trying to self-date and evaluate your vintage, retro or antique pieces can prove to be a very tricky business. So why not leave it to an expert like Gerard McCabe? Here we explain the meaning and definition of vintage, separate to antique and retro jewellery.

If Antique is defined as being over 100 years old and retro roughly dates around 1945-1960, where does that leave vintage in the equation? 

Vintage does not fetch as much money as an antique piece could, but that does not make it any less desirable or collectable. It can be such an interesting period, as from the 1940s onward there was a worldwide surge in mass manufacturing and this can be seen to have a direct effect on the types and quality of the jewellery produced at the time.

There are two rough definitions of vintage, and they are used interchangeably upon occasion (somewhat incorrectly). The first being that of anything that is second hand, or used before is regarded as vintage. This is not necessarily accurate.

We prefer to stick to the strictest sense of definition, which is anything that is aged, but not necessarily of antique age. Therefore, vintage can be defined as anything created after 1920, which technically includes Retro jewellery under this aegis.


Vintage Jady & Ruby Necklace and Bracelet Set, $39,950.00

It’s important to note here, the differences between fine jewellery and costume jewellery. Regardless of age or vintage, fine jewellery will generally attract a larger price due to the nature of its makeup. That is, of course, materials such as gold, silver, diamond, real pearls and other precious gemstones. However, even vintage costume jewellery has its own charm and attraction.

Gerard is always on the hunt for beautiful antique, vintage and retro period jewellery. Not only is it highly collectable, it is also valuable for sentimental reasons. It has a wide appeal because of its uniqueness, and is special because no two pieces are alike. We endeavour to ensure that all our antique, retro and vintage and period jewellery that we sell has been maintained to a high standard.


Vintage Platinum Diamond Spray Brooch, $24,500.00


At Gerard McCabe Jewellers, our Adelaide and Melbourne boutiques feature an amazing and carefully curated selection of antique, vintage and retro jewellery. 

Gerard himself personally inspects each piece and runs an appraisal on it, to ensure that you are getting the real deal. Gerard has a real passion for antique jewellery and has cultivated a keen eye, meaning that you can find some of the best antique jewellery in Adelaide.

If you’d like to make an appointment to view some of our online store pieces, get in contact today.


Contact our Adelaide Arcade Boutique  

Gerard McCabe Jewellers are diamond experts, based in Adelaide and Melbourne. We specialise in engagement ring jewellery design. Including diamond rings, cluster engagement rings and classic engagement rings.

Pop into one of our jewellery stores in Adelaide Arcade, Rundle Mall or Little Collins Street for a personal consultation.