Estate Blog

History, Rarity, and Craftsmanship in Every Piece

Estate jewelry is not only beautiful, but it magically transports us to a different time and place. There’s something so romantic about wearing a piece of jewelry that carries years of history and a unique story. With their old-world craftsmanship and hand-forged metal work, vintage pieces definitely stand out among today’s mass-produced jewelry. Typically cut by hand with their own dust, antique diamonds give a warm, romantic glow. Hand-cut stones are often sought after for their diffused light reflecting properties and unique facet patterns.

Vintage jewelry falls into several eras with distinct styles emerging in each. Jewelry from the Victorian era expressed serenity and romance. Hearts, bows, flowers, and birds were common motifs, as were enameled serpents. Metals were hammered into intricate designs and patterns. Art Nouveau jewelers, influenced by Japanese art, looked to the natural world for inspiration. Ferns, snakes, dragonflies, and butterflies were common motifs during this period. Popular stones were moonstone, amethyst, opal, and pearl. Edwardian jewelry is known for its elegant, lacy settings and feminine themes. Tassels, bows, garlands, and scrolls were the common Edwardian motifs. Art Deco pieces, typical of the 1920’s, are known for their bright colors and geometric patterns. Pieces from this era are bold and masculine in style, with platinum and yellow gold popular metal choices. The 1930’s to 1950’s brought Retro cocktail jewelry, known for its glamorous Hollywood aesthetic. Semi-precious stones such as aquamarine, citrine, and topaz were popular in Retro jewelry. Styles were oversized and feminine, often depicting ribbons and flowers on a grand scale.

Come by the Carats Fine Jewelry and Watches showroom to find your favorite era! You’ll find Edwardian diamond pendants, Art Deco dinner rings, and signed estate pieces by some of the greatest jewelry houses from the previous century - Bulgari, Chopard, Graff, Harry Winston, Van Cleef Arpels, Seaman Schepps, Cartier, Oscar Heyman, and David Webb. And rest assured that an investment in these exceptional pieces is a sound one – renowned designer vintage pieces only appreciate with time.
And we’re always looking for special pieces to add to our estate collection! If you’d like to part with heirloom or personal jewelry, our GIA-trained professionals make the process seamless, transparent, and relaxed. Our gemologists have nearly 80 years of industry expertise. They carefully factor age, condition, material, designer, signature, and provenance when appraising each piece. The result is a no-pressure, accurate valuation process that guarantees top dollar for your jewelry in the current market conditions. And clients can opt to either sell or trade their items for jewelry in the Carats showroom. Every piece tells a story, and we’d love to hear yours!