What is antique jewellery?

There are many different categories for jewellery and it can be difficult at times to understand what the requirements for each category are. 

What distinguishes antique jewellery from vintage jewellery and other categories, is that antique jewellery can only be classed as such if it is over 100 years old. 

Now that we know that, here is our guide to understanding the different types of antique gold jewellery, the many benefits of antique jewellery and how you can get your antique jewellery both authentically checked and valued. 


Colours of antique jewellery 

As stated previously, antique jewellery must be at least 100 years old. This means that any authentic gold antique jewellery wil date back to at least 1922.

Just like modern gold jewellery, antique gold jewellery comes in varying colours including; yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold. However, when comparing the antique colours and the modern colours, there are noticeable differences. This is largely because today there is a standardised procedure for creating the different gold colours, whereas during the Victorian era, and other historical eras, there weren’t such procedures. 



Hallmarks are a great way to identify the year and authenticity of antique jewellery. However, just because your jewellery piece doesn’t have a hallmark, doesn’t mean that it isn’t genuine. 

While British jewellery hallmarking is a 700 year old practise, it wasn’t officially a legal requirement until 1973. This means that some jewellers may not have chosen to hallmark their pieces. This has lead to almost 90% of jewellery produced during the Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco period does not have hallmarks on it. 

Additionally, during the 18th to early 20th century, jewellery hallmarking was expensive., As a result, many jewellers felt that it wasn’t worth it - especially if they were working on a purely commission basis. 


Types of gold antique jewellery

Gold Filled
Gold filled jewellery is pieces crafted from a layer of solid gold mechanically bonded to a based of sterling silver or another base metal. The solid gold layer usually amounts to 5% of the jewellery’s total weight. 

Gold filled jewellery is very wearable which is why it’s so appealing. This is because it is 5 to 10 times thicker than gold plated jewellery. 

Gold Plated
Gold plated jewellery is where a thin layer of gold is deposited over the surface of another metal through electrochemical plating (usually either copper or silver). 

First created in 1840, and still a process used today, gold plates are much thinner and thus less durable than gold filled jewellery. 

Rolled Gold
Rolled Gold is an almost exclusive antique jewellery definition for a style of gold plating that was first invented in Birmingham in 1785 and then patented in England in 1817. Rolled gold allows jewellers to craft a variety of different designs without the high price tag, which makes it far more accessible to larger groups of people.

Gold Cased
Similar to rolled gold, gold cased jewellery was very popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. It was mostly used for small charms, watches and keys. 

Gold cased jewellery is a long-lasting form of gold plating and usually done on a silver base. This can give you confidence that the jewellery won’t tarnish. 

Antique jewellery vs. modern jewellery

Both antique jewellery and modern jewellery can be equally beautiful and unique. However, there is something very special about antique jewellery. Antique jewellery pieces have a story, have character and have a uniqueness that cannot be replicated by modern jewellery. 

There is great value in antique jewellery, however it is important to make sure you get your jewellery pieces checked out by a professional so you know it is authentic. 


Here at Cuttings 

Here at Cuttings we are a family run business who are experts in jewellery. Three generations of jewellers and pawnbrokers have carried on the family tradition, and we are proud to continue the traditional, old-fashioned approach to business - service, quality and value, combined with friendly, and expert advice.

You can get in contact with us here if you wish to speak to any of our experts and ask for any advice. Alternatively, you can visit our 2 shops in Ramsgate and Margate if you wish to see the products in person.

If you want to browse our vast range of stunning antique jewellery, you can do so here.  

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