A Guide To Antique Jewellery Periods
Styles of antique jewellery can be defined by several periods. Each period has its own distinct influences, use of gemstones and materials. The following guide details these periods. To discover antique jewellery for yourself, go to Libertons – the antique jewellery marketplace.
The Georgian period lasted from approximately 1714 – 1837. This period spans the reigns of four Kings of England; George I, II, III and IV. During this period styles were grand and elegant and heavily influenced by nature, with jewellery often being crafted into the shapes of leaves, insects and birds. Jewellery of this time tends to be handcrafted, completely bespoke and crafted to an extremely high standard.
The Victorian period lasted from approximately 1836 – 1901. This period of jewellery follows the reign of Queen Victoria of England. Her love of her family inspired jewellery that had a romantic outlook. Flowers, hearts, bows and birds were a common focus for items from this period. Gemstones were often used in jewellery from this period and the Queen was an admirer of Opals, which became fashionable. Diamonds were discovered in South Africa in 1867, and thereafter became very popular.
The Art Nouveau period lasted from approximately 1890 – 1919. This period generally represents the turning of the twentieth century and the coming of a more modern style. The celebration of the female form is present in many Art Nouveau pieces as well as the prevailing representations of nature. Free flowing asymmetrical lines were important and emphasized the art of the jewellery. Design and craftsmanship were of utmost important, and generally materials and gemstones were secondary and so varied greatly during the period.
The Edwardian period lasted from approximately 1895 – 1914. This period follows Edward VII reign as King. Along with his Danish bride he brought a cosmopolitan aspect to jewellery. Platinum and diamonds were rife, being used to create intricate and complex filigree patterns. Light designs became the trademark of this period. This period marked a high in terms of elegance and craftsmanship throughout jewellery periods.
The Art Deco period lasted from approximately 1920 – 1935. This period marked a distinct change from recent previous periods, with a shift to bright colours and sharp straight lines. Emeralds, sapphires and rubies became the gemstones of the day. This was a period of liberation, and the jewellery reflected the flamboyance of Jazz and other elements of popular culture from the period.
The Retro period lasted from approximately 1935 – 1950. This period marks the time of the Depression and World War II. Yellow gold became the metal of choice as platinum was not available during the war. Synthetic rubies and sapphires were popular, reflecting the financial troubles of the time. The style of jewellery became chunky, square and large, and the style of metals gay the illusion of much larger stones in pieces. Such pieces were popular among more frugal women of the day.
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