Plus, What to Ask Before Every Purchase
Vintage jewelry is about so much more than a piece or a brand; antique jewelry often holds stories, rich histories, and sizable worth.
The first thing to know is that most (quality) vintage or antique jewelry pieces are considered an investment. Antique pieces are more than 100 years old, whereas vintage pieces can be from any specific time period. You can usually find trendier or mass-produced jewelry without a problem on sites like eBay or at local garage sales. But if you’re going for a real deal one-of-a-kind antique ring, you may need to invest some serious time and money.
Start by browsing vintage and antique jewelry online, whether with the brands below or on your own, to get a sense of your style. Are you more into colorful and whimsical baubles from the 1980s or is Victorian-era jewelry more your thing? From there, you where to go to purchase your pieces.
These are questions to consider before every jewelry purchase:
Is the seller/brand credible? Start by checking out a seller’s listings and reviews. If they’re offering many of the same pieces, they’re likely fakes or mass-produced copies. Also, check if reviewers have had any subpar interactions with them.
Is the piece authentic? There are a few tell-tale signs to verify jewelry authenticity, the biggest one being wear and tear, of course. It should look old if it’s vintage—and we don’t necessarily mean dirty or worn down. The piece should have “patina” or a loss in sheen or minor dents/markings. If you want to verify that it’s from a company like Givenchy, make sure the purchase is from a “signed” brand; an “unsigned” piece means it’s not traceable and likely inauthentic.
Where is the piece from? A good way to suss out if the piece is legit is to ask where the retailer found it in the first place. Maybe it’s at an estate sale or from local trade. If the retailer is acting shady, that could be a red flag, as a prestigious seller will be open to answering questions about jewelry certifications and tests to confirm the quality.
We get it; it’s not always easy to know what you’re getting without seeing it in your hands. But when shopping at vetted auction houses or online sellers (like the ones below) for jewelry, you can look for high-quality photos, insist on transparency from the brand, and make sure your purchases are insured and easy to ship or return if needed. If you’re able to “test” vintage or antique pieces out, you can also look for loose stones, clasps, or any other markers that need fixing before committing.
Now that you know the basics, here are our favorite online vintage and antique jewelry shops so you can start building your own sustainable jewelry collection!
*Article updated May 2022
Headquarters | Brooklyn, NY
Best For | Cultural vintage jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $15
Etsy is a certified B Corp marketplace that works with small brands and artisans around the globe, including antique and vintage sellers. Whatever you’re in the market for, you can search and narrow down by its helpful filters, including checkboxes for vintage and antique jewelry only. Some of our favorite shops include Vintage WhimZ and The Idol’s Eye; both carry a stunning inventory and are based in the USA. All Etsy shipping is carbon-neutral.
2. Estate Diamond Jewelry
Headquarters | New York City, NY
Best For | Vintage rings & earrings
Pieces Starting At | $750
Estate Diamond Jewelry has been operating in the heart of NYC’s Diamond District for 40+ years. This family-owned business is committed to only selling antique and vintage rings that have been ethically sourced and thoughtfully reviewed. Its vast vintage collection features rings and earrings from the 1880s through the 1970s. The team provides free overnight insured shipping as well as a 14-day return policy, no questions asked.
3. Erica Weiner
Headquarters | Portland, OR
Best For | Victorian & Georgian jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $395
Erica Weiner’s eponymous line is handmade by an all-women team in its local Portland studio. For vintage jewelry, the EW team has scoured the globe from London to rural New England to find the most unique pieces available, including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. We love their eye for Victorian and Georgian goods from as far back as the 17th century; each is individually listed with relevant details and history to consider. Pro tip: Follow the brand on Instagram to see new pieces before they hit the website.
Headquarters | Belleveue, WA
Best For | Estate jewelry, men’s vintage jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $320
The “Era” in EraGem’s name stands for estate, retro, and antique—and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Founded in Seattle back in 2006 and now in downtown Bellevue, this fine jewelry company has sold more than 20,000 pieces to customers worldwide, and the team isn’t slowing down any time soon. We love EraGem’s assortment of estate jewelry—particularly for men, including chains and cufflinks—as well as the unique brooches, pendants, and rings here. Every piece comes with free overnight shipping, a 60-day money back guarantee, and a lifetime warranty.
5. Trumpet & Horn
Headquarters | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Vintage engagement rings
Pieces Starting At | $1,990
Trumpet & Horn describes its team as “jewelry nerds making things happen for couples in love all over the globe.” This sustainable brand offers both new eco-friendly engagement rings as well as vintage styles, backed by over 30 years of experience in the vintage jewelry industry. This collection of about 70 vintage engagement rings includes deep amethysts, bright emeralds, and stunning marquise cut diamonds, with the option to re-size as needed. Financing plans are available.
Headquarters | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Made-to-order vintage gemstone jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $850
AURORO crafts limited edition jewelry in Los Angeles using recycled gold, fair trade metals, and vintage gemstones. Best described as whimsical and colorful, this vintage jewelry is ideal for one-of-a-kind statement and estate sale pieces, hand-selected by the two founders. AURORO delivers worldwide with insured international shipping and offers the option to customize certain pieces.
7. Ruby Lane
Headquarters | San Francisco
Best For | Affordable antique & vintage pieces
Pieces Starting At | $5
Ruby Lane is considered the Etsy of exclusively vintage marketplaces, where sellers and partners can share their own listings all in one place. With jewelry prices starting at five dollars and over 225,000 listings, you can find very affordable pieces for any budget. And while you’re perusing, you can save your favorites, communicate directly with shop owners, browse similar items, and even make your own offer. Ideal for beginner collectors, Ruby Lane has it all.
8. Lang Antiques
Shop Headquarters | San Francisco, CA
Best For | Antique rings & bands
Pieces Starting At | $225
Lang Antiques, a San Francisco-based business since 1969, has become one of the most trusted estate and antique jewelers worldwide. Touting jewelry designs from every era and style, the brand focuses most on vintage engagement rings, including antique styles we’ve never seen elsewhere. The Lang team also carries prestigious affiliates including the Accredited Gemologist Association and the American Gem Trade Association.
9. Doyle & Doyle
Shop Headquarters | New York City, NY
Best For | Art Deco & Edwardian jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $985
Doyle & Doyle was started by two sisters with a lifelong love of jewelry. Today, every engagement ring in its pre-owned collection is hand-selected; there’s a wide range of antique, estate, and vintage jewelry, including for children and gifts under certain price points. Enjoy free standard shipping within the US, financing plans through Affirm, and the option to put a hold on a piece with a 25 percent deposit. (We also appreciate that Doyle & Doyle has a wish list service for dream pieces you’ve always wanted but haven’t been able to find…yet.)
10. Butter Lane Antiques
Shop Headquarters | Manchester, UK
Best For | English antique jewelry
Pieces Starting At | $200
Run by a two-person team in the UK, Butter Lane Antiques specializes in English antique jewelry and offers stunning one-of-a-kind, jeweler-vetted pieces. These range from brooches to statement necklaces to everyday curiosities, which you can filter by era or style. Best of all, the company offers free worldwide shipping, low-cost ring re-sizing, thorough polishes and cleanings before shipping out, and appraisal documents to guarantee authenticity. We love following along with the duo’s 110K+ Instagram followers for new finds and listening to their podcast, Dealing, about the highs and lows of the antique jewelry business.
11. Fox & Bond
Headquarters | Los Angeles, CA
Best For | Antique-style earrings & bracelets
Prices Starting At | $120
Fox & Bond aims to bring “antique jewelry to the modern world.” By offering a curated assortment of rings, charms, and earrings, you can find both F&B vintage-inspired originals as well as antique pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries. Every stone is hand-selected by the two co-founders who are gemologists themselves, and a portion of the proceeds benefits organizations like Planned Parenthood and RAICES. If purchased in the continental US, you’ll receive free insured shipping, so you can rest easy once you’ve hit “order.”
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