Antique Jewelry - Estate Jewelry

The Way We Were features over one thousand pieces of antique jewelry and estate jewelry. We specialize in antique engagement rings and wedding bands, and also have an extensive collection of watches, brooches, vintage charms, cameos, pendants, bracelets, cufflinks and rings. Our inventory includes pieces from the Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro periods.

Our items can be ordered online via our secure server, or by calling us at 609-654-0343. We ship via UPS, fully-insured, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. Please click here to read some of our customer comments.

We hope you enjoy exploring the beauty and romance of antique jewelry. The pleasure of owning a one-of-a-kind piece, showcasing the superior artistry and craftsmanship of yesteryear, is truly unparalleled!


Engagement Rings
Wedding Bands
Diamond Rings
Gemstone Rings
Cameo Rings
Signet Rings
Mens Wedding Bands
Mens Rings
Pocket Watches
Brooches and Pins
Pendants, Necklaces and Lavalieres
Bracelets and Bangles
Religious Medals and Crosses


The Fifth "C":
How to Choose an Antique Engagement Ring

Everything you need to know to select the perfect ring...
Elegant Watches
Glamorous feminine style ala Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly... They'll take you from office to cocktails to evening.
Stackable Wedding Bands
Elaborately-carved and beautifully-detailed! Wear them in multiples, stacked on the same finger (no need to be married!).
Simply Charming!
Vintage charms, worn to chronicle the wearer's life: a time capsule of her loves, her interests, her travels and experiences.


LATE GEORGIAN (c. 1760-1837)
A Revival of the Classical style during Napoleon's First Empire inspired delicately draped dresses with high waists. Chandelier and pendeloque earrings complemented the fashion for upswept hair, while short necklaces like the riviere (a row of graduated diamonds) flattered low necklines. Diamond brooches in floral sprays and feather motifs were popular, as were memorial pieces and miniature portraits.

VICTORIAN (c. 1837-1901)
Fashions were quite voluminous, with the silhouette shaped by full skirts, hoops, bustles and trains. Sentimental and nature themes like hearts, birds, flowers and bows adorned the jewelry of the times. Many pieces featured semi-precious stones like amethyst, turquoise and garnet. Rings, earrings and pendants set with sparkling diamonds became particularly desirable with the advent of electric lighting in the 1880s.

ART NOUVEAU (c. 1890-1915)
Art nouveau jewelry often features beautiful enamel work, as the Arts and Crafts movement emphasized craftsmanship and artistry. Nature motifs like flowers, dragonflies and butterflies were popular for brooches. Delicate lavaliere necklaces with a gemstone and dangling pearl are characteristic of the era.

EDWARDIAN (c. 1901-1915)
Clothing of delicate fabrics and light colors were accessorized with platinum and diamond jewelry. Saw-piereced filigree settings complemented the ethereal, lacy fashions of the era. Earrings and necklaces took the shape of flower garlands, bows and ribbons. Bar pins, circle brooches, and diamond-set stars and crescents were part of every fashionable lady's wardrobe.

ART DECO (c. 1920-1935)
Platinum, diamonds and precious gemstones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds were de rigeur during the Roaring Twenties. Jewelry incorporating geometric shapes, as well as baguette, shield and calibre cut stones, were inspired by the popularity of Cubism. Many Art Deco pieces feature Egyptian, Far Eastern and automobile motifs, reflecting the cultural interests of the times. Other popular items included diamond "strip" bracelets, dress clips and pearl sautoirs.

RETRO (c. 1935-1950)
Hollywood glamour was the single greatest influence on Thirties and Forties fashion. Women favored jewelry with a dramatic flair, like large cocktail rings, bold bracelets, elegant watches and charm bracelets. Romantic motifs, combinations of yellow and rose gold, and large semi-precious stones like citrine and aquamarine were characteristic of the era. Engagement rings often featured elaborately carved, square shaped center mountings called illusion settings.

Please visit our Guide to Collecting Antique Jewelry!


Garnet, the birthstone of January, is said to be the gem of faith and constancy; according to Christian beliefs, it was used to illuminate Noah's Ark. Legends have long associated amethyst, the gem of those born in February, with royalty; it is said to protect travelers and bring victory to its wearer. March's stone, aquamarine, means "seawater," and is believed to symbolize purification and everlasting youth. The jewel for April is diamond; its name means "unconquerable," and it has been associated with power, wealth, love and marriage throughout history. Emerald is the stone for those celebrating birthdays in May. It is considered the gem of immortality and faith; legend has it that Christ used an emerald bowl at the Last Supper. June's pearls symbolize femininity, purity and wisdom; they were bridal gems in the 1920s, and legends say they are God's first creation.

July's birthstone, ruby, has been long associated with passion and power; it is said that the wearer of a ruby enjoys great success and fortune, and is lucky in love. Peridot, the stone of August, was highly regarded in ancient Egypt and a favorite gem of the Pharoahs; they are believed to promote courage. September's sapphire is said to reflect the tranquility of the heavens; it is also considered the gem of love, sincerity and fidelity. The ancients believed opals, the October gemstone, fell to earth in flashes of lightning; they equated them with hope, purity and prevention of disease. Topaz, representing November, was considered by the ancients to be the stone of the Sun; it was thought to bring strength and imperial favor to its wearer. December's jewel, blue zircon, was popular in Victorian times, and again in the 1930s-40s; it is believed to afford its wearer wisdom and riches.


Jewelry lovers can learn more about diamonds and gemstones by visiting the Gemological Institute of America and The estate and vintage jewelry listings of online auction sites like Sotheby's, Christie's, Antiquorum and eBay are an enjoyable, and educational, resource. Tiffany and Cartier are venerable companies with long histories of jewelry design and manufacture. If you love the 1940s and 1950s designs of Eames, Saarinen and Nelson, take a look at our collection of mid-century modern wedding bands. After you've purchased your engagement ring or wedding bands, visit Allegra Violins for music for your ceremony. Search the web with Google or visit our links page for more websites of interest.

Please visit our partner site, circa1930s, if you are interested in antique style engagement rings, wedding bands, filigree necklaces and earrings in white gold and platinum!