I can only speak for myself, but up until about five years ago, I didn’t wear vintage jewellery. It used to be the kind of thing I’d only buy in a panicked fashion when I needed a bejewelled headband for a ’30s-inspired murder-mystery costume. Ideally, it had to be inexpensive, as it was a one-off, and I’d never wear it again.
Thanks to plenty of trends coming back around (from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s), as well as people being more mindful about shopping sustainably (myself included), the vintage jewellery market is booming. And plenty of fashion editors I know are shopping at various places for key pieces. One major destination for the fashion crowd is Susan Caplan. The eponymous brand was launched in 2008, and it now boasts one of the biggest vintage jewellery collections in the UK.
To understand how to shop vintage jewellery (aka how to find the real stuff), I went down to the Susan Caplan showroom. Not only did I get to try on some of the most amazing vintage Chanel jewellery, but Susan Caplan also told me how to spot a fake. “You have to check the weight. If it feels heavy, it’s most likely real,” Caplan advised. Next up, you need to check the stamp, as all real designer pieces will have a brand signature somewhere. According to Caplan, “If it doesn’t have that, it’s not a real designer piece.” The only time Caplan will accept a piece without a stamp is when it comes as part of a set (for example, earrings and a necklace).
While most of the Susan Caplan collection is currently on my wish list (hello, vintage Chanel pieces), there are other places to shop for vintage jewellery, too. One of my favourite inexpensive places is Etsy, which is great for finding oversized earrings. I also know one editor who bought the classic Dior single pearl earring on Vestiare Collective. (It verifies all its items, so you know what you’re buying is real). But don’t just take my word for it—keep scrolling to take a look at the best places to shop vintage jewellery right now.
As I already mentioned, Susan Caplan has one of the largest collections of vintage jewellery in the UK. Find Chanel earrings, necklaces and brooches, along with Dior, Givenchy and plenty more exciting designer pieces.
You might not realise it, and it’s probably not the first place you’d think of, but John Lewis actually has a great selection of vintage pieces. and if you go to the store rather than shop online, you’ll find even more.
Liberty has a very finely edited range of vintage jewellery. It isn’t cheap, but it is beautiful.
Vestiare Collective, as you might imagine, has every sort of designer jewellery going, from Tiffany rings and Cartier watches to Chanel bracelets and Dior earrings.
Etsy sells pretty much everything, so it’s probably not surprising that it also has plenty of vintage jewellery. Type in any piece you’re looking for, and you’ll probably find it at a price that won’t make your eyes water.
Next up, the biggest autumn/winter 2021 fashion trends to know.