Antique and vintage rings at O'Reilly's

Why buy vintage jewellery?

09/11/2022     General News

As a culture, we are fascinated by objects that belong to the past. Classic cars, first edition books, Old Master paintings, stately homes, vintage designer clothing passed down through the generations are all considered to be significant, beautiful, and valuable.

Jewellery is no exception. Aside from the beauty and elegance of vintage and antique jewellery, there is something magical about a piece of jewellery with a past.

  1. They are unique

Unlike modern rings that are mass – produced, vintage rings were very often hand-made by skilled craftsmen with extraordinary attention to detail. It is hard to find the same level of craftsmanship even in bespoke modern pieces, the subtle sparkle and old-world techniques are unparalleled by modern design. No two items will be the same.


  1. It is excellent value

Buying antique, vintage and second-hand jewellery is VAT-exempt, which means you will automatically pay less than the equivalent piece made new. You are buying the same quality gemstones and materials without paying the manufacturing costs and mark – up of a jeweller, just the auctioneer’s commission of 22% of the hammer price


… and it will retain that value

Just as when buying a new car, you pay a ‘new’ price for new, modern jewellery. That purchase value then drops as soon as you buy it simply because it is no longer new. With antique and vintage jewellery the piece has already gone from ‘new’ to ‘old’ before you buy it so its purchase value remains the same.

  1. It’s more sustainable

It takes significant resources to mine gemstones and precious metals which makes it hard to produce jewellery in a truly environmentally friendly way. Buying antique and vintage jewellery makes you a conservator rather than a consumer. Conflict diamonds (also known as “blood diamonds”) only came into existence in the 1980s with civil war in Africa, so diamonds before this time are naturally conflict free.


  1. It has a story

There is something very romantic about jewellery from another era, with a story to tell.  With a piece of antique or vintage jewellery, we become the next chapter of its sparkling history.

  1. It’s exciting

Buying a vintage piece of jewellery has a thrill attached to it, especially if you are winning against another bidder at auction, it feels like a steal, like you have found a treasure


My favourite pieces in our upcoming auction:


Lot 377 - A VINTAGE DIAMOND SOLITAIRE RING, stepped diamond shoulders, set with old cut diamonds, mounted in platinum, French hallmark. Estimated: weight of centre stone: 0.90 ct, colour and clarity: I, SI. Size: M Estimate: €3200- 3800



Lot 368 - AN ANTIQUE EMERALD AND DIAMOND PLAQUE RING, the centre old cut diamond to a calibré emerald surround and further diamond surround. French assay marks for platinum. Estimated: weight of centre diamond: 0.85 ct, colour and clarity: H/I, SI, size K. Estimate: €7500 – 8500



Lot 100 - AN ANTIQUE DIAMOND FIVE STONE RING, the old cut diamonds mounted in yellow gold. Estimated: weight of diamonds: 0.62 ct., size L – M. Estimate: €450 – 500



Lot 375 - A VINTAGE DIAMOND CLUSTER RING, bombé form, set with old and rose cut diamonds, mounted in platinum, size Q – R. Estimate: €1600 – 1800



Lot 35 - AN ANTIQUE AMETHYST AND PEARL RING, the large amethyst oval to pearl surround, mounted in yellow gold, size P €275 - 350

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