Small jewelry brands are jumping on the vintage jewelry craze – JCK

When Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Ariel Gordon launched Heritage, a collection of over 175 vintage and estate pieces she had collected and hand-bought in late 2019, the idea of ​​a independent fine jewelry brand selling vintage alongside seemed fresh – and was clearly a savvy game to capture a slice of the booming vintage market.

Two years later, the opportunity for the brand’s founders to capitalize on the popularity of estate and vintage jewelry still exists; Retail analytics firm Market Research Intellect found in a 2020 study that the global vintage rings market is “growing at a faster rate with substantial growth rates over the past few years”, and is expected to grow “significantly” between 2020 and 2027.

And several smaller brands have followed Gordon’s lead. Jewelry designer Ashley Zhang sells a lovely collection of vintage jewelry — mostly engagement and cocktail rings, heavy with diamonds and opals — alongside her namesake collection on her website. Current prices for vintage pieces range from just under $1,000 for single bands to almost $20,000 for an Edwardian-era platinum ring with a 2.01 ct. diamond center stone.

Los Angeles-based fine jewelry brand Kinn, founded by Jennie Yoon, takes the concept one step further. The brand started selling vintage jewelry online this year, alongside Yoon’s (new) collections, and also order vintage and period jewelers from a collection drawn from its clientele.

Last week, Kinn dropped its Vintage 6.0 collection of curated retro pieces, which included art deco-era jewelry and sapphire jewelry (most styles are under $1,000).

“Through Kinn Vintage, the brand aims to support a circular economy where guests can register with Kinn to sell vintage and pre-loved jewelry and consumers can purchase second-hand pieces,” the brand said in a recent press release prepared. Yoon’s pre-owned looks are young in price and style; there are trendy dome rings and classic 14k yellow gold hoops ($860).

Building a collection of vintage and estate pieces is a (relatively) quick and easy way for a small brand to diversify its offerings. But does this affect in any way the perception that the consumer has of this brand?

This is an important question, and I don’t have an answer (if you do, drop me a comment below!). But I feel like it’s important to silo used goods into its own separate collection, like Ariel Gordon did with his Heritage line. Keep both sides separate – by name, landing page, branding, etc. – seems like an ideal way to protect the main brand from any potential dilution.

Above: Old vintage and antique pieces from Ariel Gordon’s Heritage collection (photo courtesy of Ariel Gordon)

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