Vintage Jewelry Trends of 2016: Opals, Rose Gold, Baby Rings - Oh, My!

As vintage jewelry dealers, we always try to keep on top of what’s trending in the market! So far for 2016, we have observed some hot sellers, top searches, and repeated customer requests made within our shop. We have also closely tuned in to social media, publications, and our fellow vintage jewelry dealers’ shops for market research. Some of the biggest trends we have noted for vintage jewelry in 2016 are: opal jewelry, rose gold pieces, baby rings, antique conversion pins / brooches, alternative engagement rings, animal (figural) jewelry, and signet rings.


Vintage opal jewelry has been one of our top sellers and one of the most frequent search terms made in our online Etsy store. Whether it’s retro opal earrings, a Victorian opal ring, or an Art Deco opal pendant, they don’t seem to last in our shop long. Opal gemstones have appeal of flashing play-of-color, caused by diffraction of light. Becky, from Diamonds in the Library, finds opals equally captivating. "Opals are so magical. The fiery play of color, they way they seem to change from every direction..."


Antique jewelry conversion pieces have also been quite popular. Stick pins and brooches are being converted into easy to wear pieces such as rings and pendants. We have been converting antique stick pins to rings by wrapping around the original stem of the pin into the shank / band of the ring. Since stick pins aren’t as commonly worn as rings are today, this gives the piece a new life, in a modernized way!


Rose gold has been extremely popular in vintage and modern jewelry. Rose gold has many individuals who are shopping for jewelry “thinking pink!” The touch of pink hue adds a warm and romantic feel to the jewelry. Rose gold is sometimes also referred to as pink, blush, or Russian gold. Rose gold is an alloy of yellow gold mixed with copper and sometimes silver.


Antique baby rings have been another widespread vintage jewelry sensation.  These adorable small-sized pieces are being fashioned by some as midi or knuckle rings, worn at the top half of the finger. Baby rings are also popular for baptism gifts, or for young children to wear for photoshoots or special events (of course, under close supervision). These tiny little antique bands can be extremely small, even under a size 1!


Another popular trend in the jewelry industry is alternative engagement rings, which veer away from the traditional diamond solitaire. Sapphires, rubies, and other diamond alternatives are being worn often instead of the traditional diamond ring. We have noted an increasing amount of brides seeking an engagement ring which is truly unique. As Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip wrote, “Antique jewelry caters to all those wishes by being something that not everyone has.”


We have seen a surge in popularity of jewelry featuring figural or animal motifs. Snakes, dogs, cats, and other cute little critters have been in very high demand. These pieces can be quite whimsical, artistic, and unique! They can be found from across the eras and made from many different mediums, including precious metals, more affordable costume jewelry, and even adorned with gemstones! It is especially precious when a customer purchases a piece of figural jewelry from us which depicts the kind of pet they have.


Lastly, signet rings have been another type of sought-after antique jewelry. The personal nature of these pieces adds a special appeal. For example, when I found an antique Victorian signet ring with my boyfriend’s exact initials, I just couldn’t pass it up! Signet rings can feature a family crest, initial(s), a monogram, or even a coat of arms.

Opal jewelry, rose gold pieces, baby rings, antique conversion pieces, alternative engagement rings, animal (figural) jewelry, and signet rings have been some of the top vintage jewelry trends we have noticed so far in 2016! When we are acquiring inventory for our shop, these in-demand heirlooms are typically at the top of our “to buy” list. If you are a fellow antique dealer, you may find these trends are a fairly fast turn over and can command a decent price, depending on their quality and materials.

What antique jewelry trends are you noticing?

Vintage Love,
Laura Mae & Amanda Jean

Danielle Miele, Graduate Gemologist,



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