“What is the difference between an antique jewel and a second-hand jewel?”

This is one of the most common questions we are asked.

Antique jewellery, what are its characteristics?

Antique jewellery, dating back to before the 1970s.

Antique jewellery is essentially older than second-hand jewellery. An old piece of jewellery is defined as being one that predates the 1970s.

Antique, unique jewellery.

Another characteristic of precious antique jewellery is its uniqueness. Thus, old jewellery and more particularly those dating back to the 1930s were handmade. Each piece was made to special order or created in small series by the craftsmen of the time. The gemstone cutting techniques were also an important point of uniqueness because each gem was hand-cut by hand and was, by essence, unique.

Many jewellery techniques have now been lost and only a few talented workshops are still able to carry out work such as engravings for heraldic jewellery, intaglio on stone, hot enamel…

Antique jewellery, a heritage value.

Another interesting point is the heritage value of an old jewel. Indeed, these jewels tend to become rare. Thus a quality antique jewel will not lose value over time but may gain value. Choosing an antique piece of jewellery also means investing in a property that can be valued year after year, an investment that is quite comparable to an art or collector’s item.

Ancient jewellery, the transmission of a story.

Finally, we cannot talk about antique jewellery without talking about the history that goes with it. Whether it is the antique ring, the antique bracelet or the simple antique chain with its antique medallion, each antique jewel has its own history. Full of emotion, the old jewelry conveys the memories of generations and has a soul of its own. It bears the traces of these lived periods such as the patina or the old cut stones that give it an undeniable charm.

You will have understood it our heart leans in favour of the old jewel, its charm, its uniqueness and its historical imprint that we do not find on modern jewelry.

Second-hand jewellery

Second-hand jewellery is also very interesting.

If it were to be defined, second-hand jewellery would be a serial piece of jewellery, made in several thousand copies. The second-hand jewel is a jewel that can still be found in the windows of jewelry stores. The advantage of a used jewel is that it is possible to acquire a precious jewel with current lines and at a much more affordable price than a new one, so the price of a used diamond ring compared to a new diamond ring can vary by as much as twice as much!

A second-hand jewel proposed by a serious house will be restored in new condition. Often not worn much, these jewels usually require a simple polishing, a check of the stones and settings and sometimes a rhodium plating for used rings.

Sold with invoice and certificate, a second-hand gold jewel will have the same guarantees as a new one.

You have understood it old jewel and used jewel have nothing in common. And the two are not incompatible!

History of jewellery


The use of body ornaments dates back to very ancient times. A true manifestation of the symbolic revolution, it is believed that their first presence dates back to the time of the first graphics. The oldest jewels identified are pierced shells that are believed to date back about 75,000 years. These shells, discovered in South Africa, had perforations and wear and tear, which attempts to prove that they were well worn.

At the European level, Yvette Taborin’s work is a reference. Thanks to the analysis carried out on different sets of jewellery, it seems that two types can be distinguished:

  • The ornaments resulting from the collection (Human intervention is limited to the provision of suspension systems)
  • Invented ornaments (Man’s intervention drastically modifies the original material)

At that time, the ornaments were mainly made from shells and animal teeth. With regard to these animal teeth, some studies have found a difference in the correlation between the fauna used and their natural living environment, which could indicate exchanges between peoples. As for shellfish, specialists note that they come from living species, but also from fossil deposits.

In prehistoric times, the most commonly used materials for the design of ornaments were bone, antlers, ivory, or antlers. And it is only in the Neolithic period that the first uses of pearls appeared. However, this did not correspond to our current conception of pearls in the sense that they were shaped in many materials such as shells or bones. In addition, there is a diversification of ornamental objects assembled in a multitude of forms.

The antiquity

The first real revolution in the jewellery industry took place at the beginning of antiquity, which was marked by the appearance of metal. With the discovery of gold, many goldsmith techniques such as watermarking, granulation and stamping quickly developed. This will make it possible to develop a new type of very high quality ornaments.

As a result, a large number of jewellers will emerge in the Mediterranean basin and then migrate to other trading posts to increase trade. On the strength of their experience, they bring with them know-how and techniques that will be improved as they travel.

From antiquity to today

In Europe, it was the Celts who were the first to be recognized for the quality of their jewellery and ornaments. Well present in the collective unconscious, the pre-Columbian peoples were culturally attached to jewellery made of gold.

Historians have found that jewellery fashion has remained relatively unchanged for several centuries, often reserved for codified uses. Before the First World War in France, jewellers used to select stones for jewellery and ornaments according to the rank of the future buyer. And it is thanks to the industrial revolution that jewellery was truly democratized. Indeed, it is mass production that will make them accessible to all.

Turning in the history of jewellery, gold was given to governments to participate in the war effort and craftsmen were requisitioned in the arms industry. There is a change in the materials used to create jewellery, which is then made of less noble metals such as iron, copper or aluminium. Moreover, it is also with the development of women in society that new and more stylized trends will emerge. The combination of new and old materials gives birth to costume jewellery, now considered as creations in their own right.

The Second World War also had a strong impact on the jewellery industry, during which there was once again an upsurge in simple jewellery. Fortunately, the jewellery will quickly return to its place with the end of this period of history.

Since the middle of the 20th century, three sectors have differentiated themselves:

  • Jewellery that produces precious metal parts in limited series
  • Fashion jewellery, which produces many parts in series, often using innovative materials such as plastic.
  • The artisanal jewellery store that produces unique pieces in limited series