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 try to buy in a panicked fashion when I needed a bejewelled headband for a ’30s-inspired murder mystery night 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 (’70s, ’80s, ’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 various places for key pieces too. One major destination for the fashion crowd is Susan Caplan: The eponymous brand was launched in 2008, and the retailer now boasts one of the biggest vintage jewellery collection in the UK.
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Pictured: Susan Caplan Chanel necklace
To understand how to shop vintage jewellery better (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 also told me about how to spot a fake. “You have to check the weight. If it feels heavy, it’s most likely real,” advises Susan. Next up, you need to check the stamp, as all real designer pieces will have a brand signature somewhere: “If it doesn’t have that, it’s not a real designer piece.” The only time Susan would accept a piece even if it didn’t have a stamp is if it came as part of a set (for example, earrings with necklace).
Photo:WHO WHAT WEAR
Pictured: Susan Caplan Chanel bracelet
While most of the Susan Caplan collection is currently on my wish list (see the Chanel bangle above), there are other places to shop for vintage jewellery too. One of my favourite inexpensive places is Etsy, which is great for finding oversized original ’80s earrings. One editor I know bought the classic Dior single pearl earring on Vestiare Collective (it verifies all the 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 already mentioned, Susan Caplan has one of the largest collections of vintage jewellery in the UK. Find Chanel earrings, necklaces and brooches, as well as 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. If you go in store, you’ll also find more.
Liberty has a very finely edited range of vintage jewellery. It isn’t cheap, mind you, but it is beautiful.
Vestiare Collective, as you might imagine, has every sort of designer jewellery going. From Tiffany rings to Cartier watches as well as Chanel bracelets and Dior earrings.
Etsy sells pretty much everything, so it’s probably not surprising that it also does vintage jewellery. Type in any sort of piece you’re looking for and you’ll probably find it at a price that won’t make your eyes water.