Tell Vintage Jewellery from Antique Jewellery by the hingeBy
Hinges are most often found on brooches rather than any other form of jewellery. By just looking at the hinge it is often possible to date a brooch broadly into the 1800s ( Georgian and Victorian) vs the 1900s ( Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, onwards). There are two important types of hinge to consider on vintage and antique brooches;
The Tube Hinge ( Antique Brooches):
This is broader than the later type and often hand made. There are two tubes of metal either , the pin of the brooch is T shaped with the arms of the T fitting one through each side of the tube. This type of hinge was used throughout the Georgian era and Victorian era. Towards the end of the Victorian era it was starting to be replaced by the narrow hinge.
The narrow hinge ( vintage brooches)
As you can see in the picture above the sides of the hinge are much narrower than that of the tube hinge. This type of hinge dated from the late Victorian era and becomes the most frequently seen once we get to 1910.
Hinge combined with clasp
There is also the combined hinge and clasp. I have seen it suggested in some books that if you find one of these you have a 20th century craft piece however I quite regularly come across Victorian brooches with tube hinges and integrated clasps. This occurs where is is not simple to attach small hinges to a non metallic piece. The 1st example is a Victorian Jet brooch, the second is a modern poole pottery dolphin brooch. So with the combined hinge and clasp you still need to look at the hinge and the clasp separately to guide you towards the correct date.