By Arwa Lodhi
Vintage jewellery is certainly having a moment. Once the mainstay of sentimental treasure hunters or hardcore vintage collectors, 50s cocktail rings, 20s enamel brooches, 70s disco earrings and much more have hit the mainstream shops.
The first to pick up on the demand for vintage gems was probably Liberty of London, which features them both in their iconic store and their online shop. Annina Vogel’s gold charm finds have proven to be especially popular–these rare finds include quirky items like a champagne bottle in a bucket, as well as signs of times gone by, like typewriter and grandfather clock charms. Such individuality and rarity mean they also make the perfect gift.
These are usually by big-name brands, including Dior, Paco Rabanne and Versace, and following Yoox’s vintage standards, they must be over 20 years old to qualify as ‘vintage’. Expect chunky, colourful earrings, conversation-piece cocktail rings and futuristic 60s necklaces from this retailer.
But the entry of John Lewis into the vintage jewellery market really indicated a turning point: the well-established high street store has always represented middle-class Britain to a T, and for them to carry such a broad range of vintage jewels is a clear indicator of increased demand and acceptance of pre-loved jewellery to the mainstream market.
Their collection is truly eclectic, and ranges in time from the 1920s to 1980s. Not only can you find something no one else has here, but you can feel you’re wearing a bit of history.
We laud the decision of mainstream shops choosing to sell vintage jewellery (and in the case of Yoox, clothing), and hope this could spark the dawn of a new era in retail, whereby new, fast fashion collections are shunned in favour of the curation of existing pieces, giving designs from the past a new life for the present, exemplifying the best of classic and contemporary fashion.
Main image: Henry Clarke for Vogue, 1960