All About Estate Jewelry

What is Estate Jewelry?

Estate jewelry is a term used to describe previously owned jewelry. Previously owned jewelry is usually acquired from estates, hence the name estate jewelry. Jewelry that has been sold is often antique or vintage in nature. Antique jewelry is jewelry that is 100 years old or older, while the term “vintage” includes many decades or eras.

Myths Around Estate Jewelry

A lot of people come into the store with the perception that estate jewelry is cheaper. This can be far from the truth as some pieces are made of heavy gold and contain over 3 carats of gemstone or diamond. Also, the age of the piece adds value.

Some people believe that estate jewelry comes with bad luck from the previous owner of the jewelry. A lot of the estate jewelry Malak Jewelers has is bought from shows or other customers. We only put out the best looking and best styled pieces. We never sell any jewelry that is ruined in any way. A lot of people sell their old jewelry because the style no longer works for them. Customers trade in a piece in order to offset the cost of a new purchase that better suits their current style.


Some jewelry brands are timeless and never lose value. Malak Jewelers has a unique collection of pieces from the following big name brands:

1. David Yurman

2. Bulgari

3. Tiffany & Co

4. Marco Bicego


Estate jewelry can be sorted by age. How old the piece is may reflect the style of the time period and thus add more value or create the vintage look you are aiming for.

1. Art Nouveau

As the 20th century was approaching, an original style of jewelry-making burst forth from the vibrant arts scene. Art Nouveau, which literally means “New Art”, lasted from 1890 to 1910. This overlapped with the Edwardian and Victorian eras and was relatively brief, though it made a lasting contribution to jewelry design.

The mood of Art Nouveau jewelry is soft, mystical, and romantic. Pale colors and flowing, undulating curves helped to establish a soothing aura. Orchids, irises, lilies, ferns, snakes, dragonflies, and butterflies were all prevalent motifs in this jewelry era. The emphasis is more on setting than anything else.

2. Edwardian Era

Between 1901 to 1920, light, graceful, and elegant designs filled with filigree techniques were characteristic of this time. By applying threads of gold, platinum, and other precious metals to the surface of settings, Edwardian jewelers gave their jewelry a wonderfully lacy look. Roman, Ancient Greek, Napoleonic, and French Baroque influences were all evident in Edwardian jewelry styles. Tassels, bows, laurel wreaths, garlands of flowers, and scrolls were also prevalent motifs that illustrated the refined yet energetic sensibility of the era.

3. Art Deco Era

The Art Deco era, running roughly from 1920 to 1935, was a high-spirited era and the Prohibition heightened the urge to cast aside Victorian restraints. Art Deco jewelry is stylish and fun. Styles became bolder, sharper, and more masculine than in previous periods.

A signature characteristic of Art Deco jewelry is the use of futuristic motifs and geometric forms, reflecting the confident and free-thinking spirit of the times. The soaring Empire State Building and Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso perfectly embodied the new design choices of the Art Deco era. Advancements in cutting techniques, including the advent of the modern round brilliant cut style, allowed for diamonds to become more dazzling and scintillating than ever before.

4. Retro

Retro jewelry, sometimes called “cocktail jewelry,” refers to the style of jewelry that became popular beginning in the mid-1930s and continuing through the end of the 1940s. Jewelry from the era was bigger, bolder, and more exciting than ever. Retro jewelry was dazzling, almost larger-than-life. Cocktail rings, bracelets, and necklaces tended to be oversized, lending the jewelry a playful and whimsical dimension. However, larger did not mean less feminine. Retro jewelry is characterized by curved designs and feminine motifs such as bows, ribbons, ruffles, and flowers—but almost always on a grand, Retro-era scale.


5. Modern

Modern jewelry, circa 1950s to present, is light and textural. Designers have the ability to work with advanced tools and technology which created evolved designs based on pivotal fashion statements of past eras. We have estate and non-estate modern era designs.

If you are looking to sell your vintage and antique jewelry, please come into Malak Jewelers! While you are here, browse our large selection of estate jewelry. Let Malak Jewelers make special moments unfrogettable with the perfect piece of estate jewelry!

Malak Jewelers is Charlotte, North Carolina’s premier direct diamond importer, supplier of loose diamonds, and custom design jewelry. When you buy from Malak you receive 100 Day Price Protection and a Lifetime Upgrade Promise. Be sure to check out our wide variety of diamond engagement rings both in our online catalogue and at our store in Charlotte, North Carolina's Arboretum Shopping Center.