Isadoras antique jewelry


Knowing the Difference between Real and Reproduction

When you buy a piece of antique jewelry, a lot of jargon is thrown around, whether shopping in-person or online. So we would like to take a moment to separate fact from fiction.

Antique Jewelry

Webster’s Dictionary defines antique jewelry as 100 years or older. The colloquial definition describes antique jewelry as 50 years or older. We embrace the colloquial definition although many of our pieces date back to the early 1800s. (Next to each piece on our site we write the circa date to let you know its era.)

Circa Date

A circa date gives a twenty year span for a piece of jewelry's creation. Therefore a piece of jewelry, with a 1920 circa date, was created between 1910 and 1930.

Why do we circa date? Unless the piece is hallmarked, or a physical receipt is present, an appraiser uses clues from the cut of the stone, the type of metal used, the style, as well as the construction to determine the age. Using these clues, age can be determined within a specific era, but not within a specific year.

image description Example of Vintage Maker’s Mark

Estate Jewelry

Estate jewelry is jewelry that is previously owned. Many people use the term estate jewelry to refer to antique jewelry, but this
is a very broad definition for a very specific thing. Unlike an antique piece of jewelry, an estate piece of jewelry does not have
to be old - it just has to be used. So while almost all antique jewelry is also estate jewelry, only a portion of estate jewelry is

Clues that a piece of jewelry is not old (words to watch out for):


A reproduction piece is a new piece of jewelry intended to look old. But it is far from the same thing. Beyond the fact that very few jewelers can even begin to replicate the beauty of an old piece of jewelry, reproduction jewelry does not appreciate as well as antique jewelry, since much of the value of an old piece of jewelry lies in its authenticity as well as the craftsmanship of the older decades. (This is also the reason that those who sell jewelry reproductions can often sell their pieces at a much lower cost. They can order their jewelry from a factory. Antique jewelry has to be sought all over the country and often the globe. There is a finite amount of it in the world. This is part of the reason that while the initial cost of an antique piece may be slightly higher it ultimately is a much better value, as the antique piece will appreciate and the reproduction will not.)


Using the word "style" is a tricky way people pass off new, reproduction pieces as old without technically lying. Words like Deco “style” and Edwardian “style” are used to indicate that a piece was made in the style of a particular era without actually being produced during that time period.

How does Isadora’s authenticate its jewelry?

For appraised pieces, an independent appraiser verifies age and value. (We use North American Gemological Laboratory for all our appraisals.) For pieces without an appraisal, Laura Dalesandro and Elizabeth Schoenleber use over 60 years collective experience in the antique jewelry business to determine age and value.