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Vintage Jewelry

by Julie MIALET 19 Jul 2021

Discover the charm of vintage jewellery…

You’ve probably heard of “vintage”, a very fashionable term used in haute couture, leather goods and furniture, but do you really know vintage jewellery?

Cartier 1984 advertissing

Tout d’abord, pour le replacer dans un contexte chronologique, sachez que l’on considère un bijou vintage, celui qui est produit entre les années 1950 et 1980/1990.

Si l’on continue à remonter le fil historique, on parle de bijoux retros pour ceux créés dans les années 1940/1950, de bijoux Art Deco pour ceux réalisés dans les années 1920/1930 et de bijoux art nouveau pour ceux datant des années 1890/1910….


On englobe donc dans ce terme très générique de « bijoux vintage » tous les styles artistiques autant français qu’étranger, pièces des années 60/70, 80 et même 90.

Même si relativement récentes dans l’histoire de la joaillerie ces créations sont souvent d’une grande originalité, d’une grande dextérité et d’un savoir faire (surtout dans le domaine de l’orfèvrerie) aujourd’hui en voie de disparition.


tour ring circa 1956 in yellow gold and citrines

Those from the 80s and 90s are still very accessible in terms of price and will surely increase in value in the coming decades ….


Chanel gold-plated cuff

In the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, everything was worn as jewelry: necklace, brooch, tiara, ring, bracelet, earrings…

Patterns were matched, as were colours, for a “total look”!

Some photos of Baroness Marie Hélène de Rothschild, always impeccably dressed and jewelled, bear witness to this. She was considered the goddess of social events and lavish parties in the 70s and 80s and ruled Paris until her death in 1996.

Baroness Marie Hélène de Rothschild

Skilful mixtures of coloured, often hard stones and a profusion of gold…. vintage jewellery is characterised by an imposing and unmistakably “did you see me” look!

Boucheron and Van Cleef and Arpels advertising 1978

Vintage jewellery is a joyful mix of glam rock and disco crazy styles, bright colours and exaggerated shapes and the extensive use of yellow gold.

Heavy chains, imposing links, large cuffs, big earrings, dog collars, cufflinks…. And above all the use of hard stones such as malachite, lapis lazuli, coral, tourmaline, dioptase, tiger’s eye, turquoise, rock crystal, onyx, carnelian, aventurine or the use of enamel can be described as so special.

Another characteristic of vintage jewellery is the use of coloured stones in cabochons, the upper surface of which is rounded and polished, not cut into facets. Often the cabochons are set in a closed setting, i.e. a band of gold that surrounds the entire stone.


Tubogas 3 gold watch

Bulgari, Cartier, Fred, Van Cleef and Arpels, Boucheron, Dinh Van, Hermès, Piaget, Chaumet, Mauboussin, all of these houses have made beautiful vintage jewellery, which has become iconic today, such as the Alhambra or Philippine collection by Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier’s Love bracelet, or the mixture of three golds as in the Bulgari tubogas.

Boucheron advertisement 1970/1980

Finally, let us also mention the use of a wild and powerful bestiary (tiger, panther, lion, horse, elephant, insect….) and the attraction for the signs of the zodiac…


Choker necklace from the Heritage Collection in yellow gold set with diamonds and emeralds, 1988


Among the no less well known designers we can mention Jean Vendôme with his marvellous tower ring circa 1956 in yellow gold and citrines, Gilbert Albert with his gold ring with interchangeable beads and his use of raw minerals, fossils, insect shells or Roland Schad and his dioptase ring.


Dioptase and yellow gold ring

Vintage jewellery, especially from the 1970’s to 1990’s, is still very affordable and will surely increase in value in the coming decades….

If you are interested in vintage jewelry, don’t hesitate to discover what Les Pierres de Julie offer in our store…

We are also available for any free expertise of your vintage jewelry, for that you can send an email with your photos to

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

Dalida and her vintage diamond set

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