Antique Tuesday

Tips - How To Date Earrings

 Adin Fine Antique Jewelry
Circa 1830 - Retail Value $2,564

When dating a pair of vintage or antique earrings, the first clue that you will look at are the earring findings.  These findings can be dated and will indicate when the earrings were made.  

Please note that antique wires can break.  There are many pieces that have been updated/repaired.  The earrings can actually be older than the finding portrays.  If you have a similar situation you will need to refer to the motifs, materials and embellishments to date the piece.  Please look at ear clips below as an example.  The entire earring should be taken into account when dating a piece.
Fish hook or Sheppard Crook earring findings are the earliest type of ear wire.

Circa 1750 - Retail Value $4,799

Kidney wires are very popular today and have been traced back to the 1870's. 

Circa 1880 - Retail Value $296

Lever Back Pierced Earrings date to circa 1880.  This type of finding features a fish hook style wire with a little lever that secures the earring. 

Circa 1880 - Retail Value - $427 

Threaded studs are circa 1890's.  The threaded studs still used today have a smaller diameter and the nut is usually lighter in weight. 
 New Example

Screw backs came on the scene around 1909.  They reached their peak in popularity in the 1950's.  Although they are still used today, it is uncommon to see this type of finding on new pieces. 

 Circa 1950 example

 Ear Clips date back to the 1930's.  The first patient was in 1934. Clips were extremely popular in the 1950's and 1960's.  They are still are used today and come in many styles.  

The set of earrings shown below is a classic example of an antique pair of earrings (circa 1850) that have been altered.  The clip finding  dates to the 1930's.  Therefore, someone has repaired/replaced the fish hooks with ear clips after 1930.  Please take this fact into account when you are dating a piece. 

Circa 1850 - Retail Value $2,169

Adin Fine Antique Jewelry has been kind enough to allow me the use of their photos and information from their web site.  Please be sure to stop by their site.  They have phenomenal antique jewelry.

If you are in need of a great book regarding antique jewelry C. Jeanenne Bell's "Old Jewelry" is the best!

Let me know what you think of "Antique Tuesday".  Is this subject something you would be interested in reading about?  Did you find the information helpful?


  1. A fascinating post. I'm certainly interested in learning more, one of my favourite christmas presents (last year) and an inspired gift was a book on vintage jewellery. I find it a source of wonder and inspiration.

    I'm off to check out your link (and the book) :-) Thanks

  2. Yes, I'd love to read more posts on antique jewelry.

  3. Totally intriguing look at the evolution of design! Thanks for sharing that great post. I would love to learn more about vintage and antique jewelry!
    Enjoy the day, Denise!

  4. Hello - I would love them all:-) Thank you for sharing this interesting information. I am looking forward hearing more about vintage and antique jewelery. Thank you for joining me as a follower, I am really happy about this. Have a nice day, Greetings Inge

  5. Please continue - so very interesting!

  6. I found this information very interesting and I learned from that is a good thing!!! More information on vintage jewelry would be wonderful.

    I, also, wanted to tell you that I love your Bird Houses...they are fabulous!!!

    Cheers, Pam

  7. This is such a helpful article. Maybe you could offer an opinion about a related topic. I have a pair of Victorian earrings, the style is similar to the pair in your photo of 1880s style lever backs, but with lapis stones. The levers are marked RG (I assume for rolled gold), and the wires are marked 14K. Both the levers and wires are separate from the rest of the earring, so I'm widening what metal the rest of the earring would most likely be. Was it common to use rolled gold levers on 14k earrings, or was it common to use 14K wires on rolled gold earrings? Or have the wires been replaced later? I thought it was uncommon to find 14k stamps as early as the 1880s...

    Thank you so much,


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