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Styles & Eras of Jewelry (Circa 1800 - present)
Below is an overview of the some of the dates and eras of antique and estate jewelry from the 18th century to the
1980s, and a few contemporary pieces.
Others terms are derived from a variety of sources. Information and dates provided are only a guide, there is no
precise date when one jewelry fashion period ended. Jewelry thru today is one of the most sought after fashion
statements to be worn by everyone.
Georgian Jewelry (Circa 1714 - 1835)
The Georgian period was a period of grand and elegant jewelry. Originating from the skilled and accomplished regal
designs of France. Foiled set gems were in closed backed metal. Most were handmade. The backs of the jewelry
were sculptural. Often jewelry were composed of bow motifs as well as the teardrop shapes. A girandole, a piece of
jewelry that has 3 dangling pear shaped pendants, were suspended from a central bow motif. This design was
popular and enjoyed for over a hundred years spanning from the 17th century into the 18th century.
Victorian Jewelry (Circa 1837 - 1901)
1837-1860 Early Victorian (Romantic) PeriodVictorian Period flourished over several decades 1837 – 1901. Romantic jewelry with floral motifs and symbolic
1861-1879 Mid Victorian (Grand) Period
1880-1901 Late Victorian (Aesthetic) Period
themes flourished. It was at this time that gilded metal, rolled gold and manufactured gold plated techniques were
perfected. Because the mid-victorian era corresponded with the death of Prince Albert, the Queen went into a long
period of mourning…resulting in solemn pieces known as mourning jewelry. Pieces featured heavy jet or onyx. And
gold jewelry were often decorated with black enamel.
Art Nouveau Jewelry (Circa 1895 - 1915)
Although Art Nouveau Jewelry often became a term for a number of varied styles and movements; it is one of the most
common names. It was also a surge toward hand made, rather than machine made workmanship.
Art Nouveau is portrayed in forms of feminine beauty, fairies, mermaids, or enchanted nymphs, while other jewelry
was depicted of florals, butterflies, orchids, irises, poppies, birds, snakes and many more. The jewelry was colorful;
the most important material used during the Art Nouveau period was enamel.
Edwardian Jewelry (Circa 1900 - 1915)
The Edwardian era denoted exquisite designs and extensive artistic filigree techniques; some with simple classic
motifs. Influenced from many designs and design periods were tassels, bows, wreath, floral garlands and scrolls to
convey graciousness and decorum.
Wealth flourishes with the finest antique Edwardian jewelry. Edwardian rings and jewelry were uniquely composed of
the white-on-white look of diamonds, pearls, and platinum.
Art Deco Jewelry (Circa 1920 - 1935)
The Art Deco period is one of the most enduring design periods in jewelry’s history, making some of the most popular
pieces sought after. Art Deco jewelry of this period displays strong linear lines, geometrical forms, circles, triangles,
squares and rectangles, often woven together to create its forms. Diamonds were used prolifically, and their choice of
metal was platinum. Diamonds were used prolifically throughout the jewelry pieces, much of the metal of choice was
During this era the baguette diamonds were introduced, and Old European diamonds are at their height. The use of
black onyx in contrast with white diamonds and rock crystal is a defining style of the period. Although the Art Deco
period covers 1920s through 1935, its influence extends through the 1960s and enjoyed today.
Retro Jewelry (Circa 1935 - 1950)
Retro jewelry originated in France with designs by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Styles of this period in estate and vintage jewelry are characterized by the bold, oversized and three dimensional
components. Bold earrings, wide bold bracelets, dress clips, earrings, brooches, necklaces. But rather than the use
of the most expensive of stones, more often they were brightly colored, less costly gemstones. Diamonds were often
used as small accent stones.
Art Modern period (1945 to 1980)
The Art Modern jewelry designs became more traditional, while the big bold styles went out. Lavish bracelets,
necklaces, rings, brooches and earrings ranged from gems to rhinestones. Poodle pins, Christmas jewelry, and
other costume jewelry were made in mass production; reflecting ever changing styles and individuality.
Our contemporary is less than 25 years old.
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