Ebay has ruined the word Vintage.... lol.
It can actually apply to anything that is typical or popular of a certain age. So a Lava Lamp is Vintage 60's. A Flapper Dress is Vintage 20's and iPads are Vintage 2010. When something typifies an era, it becomes instantly identifiable to that era. But as far as we're concerned here on eBay, Vintage just means something sorta old....
All you jewelry people can jump me if you want - love vintage costume but am not an expert. Read somewhere and slotted it into my brain file - retro jewelry covers the period from the 30s to the early 50s and describes a style of jewelry that tends to big and overdone - usually in faux stones and metals albeit some is of very high quality in design and craftsmanship. The designers at the time were deliberately oversizing and chunking up classic designs of the period or earlier for an in your face deliberately fake look. I always associate it with that art style of the 30s that had those big boned muscled people that in turn makes me think of "vintage" Russian propaganda posters. Does this make any sense? In any case, I think I've scared myself into going to work before giving my brain any more room to wander!
And as the renter of 2 booths in an antique mall - I seldom use the word vintage when writing a ticket or label - nor the word antique. I use the date or era - i.e. 1940s early 50s Wallace China Restaurant Ware. If I have an exact date - that's even better but often rare. Selling on ebay is another whole ball of wax - the buyer has millions of items, originally only has a small thumbnail photo and a 55 letter description to window shop with. Going along with Webster, I consider vintage to mean the time frame - vintage 1970s, vintage 1980s, and yes, vintage 1990s. And I spend time looking thru ebay pulse once or twice a week in the categories I'm selling in. If the buyers are using the word vintage to search for an item like mine - I use the word in the title with a time frame.
Yes Virgina, there is a teenager out there who considers a 1990 tee shirt, Sat. Nite Live mug or piece of electronic equipment vintage! My memory isn't gone yet and I remember being 15 and considering all the items from the year of my birth, 1950, as being quaint, old fashioned and vintage. Between 15 and 21, aged my mom quickly, not by being a wild child but by constantly raiding her closet for "neat vintage stuff" to wear and bringing people home to see the living room furniture - ultra 1950 modern in pinks and blues!
Don't get me wrong - I won't list a brand new purse made in an old style as vintage or a piece of repro pottery copyright 1996 made in china as vintage - but if buyers are using the word to search for a piece of merchandise from the 80s or even the 90s and I have the item - vintage will show up in the title.
On the other hand, Victorian is a term used "of, relating to, or belonging to the period of the reign of Queen Victoria of England" in the 19th Century. This is the era of highly ornamental and embellished decor, and lots of lace. It is my favorite era.
Properly used the word means old, and from that period. However, if you have an item that looks like it's from that time but is not old, I would refer it as Modern Victorian, or of Victorian style, which is what my bedroom is.
Hope the above information is helpful to those of you that may have been confused over the meanings of the two terms.