The Best Vintage Jewelry to Add to Your Collection

There’s a certain kind of romance that comes with investing in a piece of vintage jewelry, like writing new chapters in a well-worn book. And with the fashion industry’s collective shift toward sustainability and secondhand fashion, the best vintage jewelry is an ideal way to mindfully bring new items into your wardrobe.

On top of that, it’s also a nuanced approach to connecting with your personality and sense of style. These pieces of wearable history can imbue your look with a sense of nostalgia or glamour that might otherwise be difficult to achieve with solely contemporary baubles. For instance, a T-shirt-and-jeans combination can be elevated from everyday status to exceptional when accessorized with a pair of Yves Saint Laurent drop earrings circa 1970s. The more history and cultural context the piece has to offer, the better the outfit. Ahead, shop our edit of vintage-jewelry essentials for one-of-a-kind ideas.

Sleek Chokers

Crafted in sleek metals and artful silhouettes, some of the best examples of vintage chokers manifest boldly. Layer over a white T-shirt for an instant lift or with a crisp poplin shirt for a dash of modern minimalism.

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Jean Louis Scherrer rigid pearl choker necklace

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Givenchy pre-owned 1980s hammered crescent choker necklace

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Yves Saint Laurent serpent rigid choker necklace

Chunky Chains

Heavy metal chain links have been a jewelry staple off and on over the decades and translate particularly well in the bracelet category. Wear them stacked above a menswear watch or with delicate thin chains—it’s a layering crown jewel.

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Ellie and Barby vintage multistrand gold chain bracelet

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Christian Dior 1980/1990’s pre-owned chunky chain bracelet

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Gucci pre-owned 1991 chain-link bracelet

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Craft Cocktail Rings

The concept of a cocktail ring feels innately old-school in the sense that it’s reserved for celebratory, formal occasions. Embrace the art of getting dressed up by keeping a vintage option in your jewelry box.

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Yves Saint Laurent pre-owned Cabochon-embellished chunky ring

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Van Cleef & Arpels pre-owned 18-karat yellow gold contemporary floral diamond, emerald, and pink sapphire ring

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Vintage Oscar Heyman emerald diamond sapphire cluster cocktail ring

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Christian Dior 18-karat yellow gold multicoloured gemstone cluster ring

Powerful Pendants

Not for the faint of heart, a bold pendant necklace is a staple find in the vintage-jewelry category, and iconic houses like YSL and Celine are reliable sources for these wearable works of art.

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Vela Victorian Forget-Me-Not Mourning locket

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Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture Berber pendant necklace

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Lanvin necklace

$174$133

VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE

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Celine vintage 1990 massive gold-toned disc pendant necklace

Statement Sparklers

Vintage jewelry isn’t all about the bold brooch or extravagant string of pearls. There are also subtler pieces to discover, like these gold rings accented by gemstones in unique settings and cuts.

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The Bonne Bijouterie antique 18-karat yellow gold and platinum 0.6ct diamond cluster ring

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Ashley Zhang Jewelry diamond star Gypsy band

$1,200

ASHLEY ZHANG JEWELRY

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Boucheron pre-owned 1941-1960 18kt rose gold Toi Et Moi crossover diamond and ruby ring

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Star motif wide vintage diamond ring in 14-karat yellow gold

Multistrand Pearls

Skip the solo strand and head straight for one of these examples of multilayered pearl necklaces and bracelets. This traditional gemstone pairs well with something contemporary, like a gauzy blouse or sheer dress.

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Vintage Christian Dior five row pearl & crystal collar 1980s

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Yves Saint Laurent pearls necklace

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Vintage Karl Lagerfeld 10-row pearl bracelet

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Givenchy vintage faux pearl and crystal necklace

Clip-on Hoops

No vintage-jewelry edit is complete without mention of the clip-on earring—it’s a staple find in the retro-accessory category, and gold-hoop interpretations feel especially relevant at the moment.

Hammered yellow gold clip-on hoop earrings by Rotkel

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18-Karat yellow gold and diamond clip-on earrings

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Fred Leighton mid-20th century 18-karat gold diamond clip earrings

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Resin Cuffs

Make Iris Apfel proud and enliven your wrists with a stack of bold resin cuffs. With examples from iconic designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Cardin, it’s not hard to see the appeal in this splashy statement piece.

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1970’s Yves Saint Laurent brown wood grain resin bangle bracelet

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Miriam Salat translucent and frosted vintage bottle green resin cuff

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Pierre Cardin resin snake bracelet

Charmed, I’m Sure

String together several petite pendants on a chain for a unique-to-you necklace that feels reminiscent of the charm bracelet.

Ole Lynggaard pendant

$200$165

VESTIAIRE COLLECTIVE

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Golden Charm Company vintage gold rings in box charm

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Vintage sterling silver heart charm pendant

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Yellow gold gem Set Stop Go traffic lights charm pendant

Statement Drops

The statement earring is called such because it tends to elicit a “Where’d you get those?” Add a historical talking point to your look by making them a vintage pair from Lanvin or Christian Dior.

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Christian Dior 1990s pre-owned crystal-embellished drop earrings

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Yves Saint Laurent early Rive Gauche earclips

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Austrian emerald crystal earrings

Collectible Jewelry