Simple Guide to Antique Georgian Jewelry

by Sasha t on Oct 01, 2020

Simple Guide to Antique Georgian Jewelry - Jack Weir & Sons

Simple Guide to Antique Georgian Jewelry

Are you interested in Antique jewelry or would like to expand your collection? Consider learning more about Georgian jewelry. This era is the oldest among popular antique jewelry and finding authentic Georgian pieces can be extremely difficult.

In this blog post you will learn: 

  • Key characteristics 
  • Popular types of jewelry during the Georgian Period
  • Memorial Jewelry

The Georgian period is generally considered be from 1714-1830, named after the reign of the British Kings George I - IV. The term "Georgian Jewelry" is used to describe the time period, rather than the country of origin.

Key characteristics

Every piece of jewelry was handmade due to the lack of technological development at that time. The process was extremely labor intensive. Gold and other metals had to be hand hammered into thin sheets before they could be used for jewelry. 

Stamping jewelry with professional hallmarks wasn't enforced until the 1900's. Therefore it's hard to authenticate the original maker. 

Locating the country of origin can be hard because at that time jewelers melted "out of style" pieces in order to repurpose them into something more current and appropriate to the fashion trends. 

Closed back settings were very popular during the Georgian era which meant that you can't see through the stone as it has metal behind it. However, foil backings were used under the gemstones to enhance their scintillation (the way light is reflected in the stone). Keep in mind, the foil can easily be ruined with water.  

Popular types of jewelry during Georgian Period

Earrings - during this time period earrings of all lengths and types were popular, but the single most prominent were pendeloque earrings. They typically had a marquise shaped top, a bow shaped center, and ended with a dangling drop. Georgian earrings featured colorful gemstones of various shapes and sizes as well as diamonds and pearls.


Rings - Georgian rings were often personalized with engravings, miniature drawings of a loved one, and even hair. In general, jewelry at that time carried a lot of sentimental value. Some rings celebrated marriage, others mourning, and some were set with diamonds and precious color stones of great value.
Cameos - A cameo is a glyptograph (the process of engraving images on stones) usually depicting a scene or portrait, for use in jewelry and decorative arts.They were everywhere; in brooches, rings, pendants, and bracelets. During the Georgian era coral, onyx, agate and even sea shells were used to carve cameos.
Necklaces - When it came to necklaces, dog collars or chokers were popular necklace styles. Also, Riviera necklaces were trendy and featured a strand of gemstones in individual mountings linked together. Diamonds and other fine gemstones were used by jewelers at that time.
Chatelaines - a very unique and iconic piece of jewelry from the Georgian era. This one of a kind accessory was used before the invention of purses and pockets. People carried their valuable items using pins and hooks that were attached to a belt and worn over clothing as an accessory. Beautiful and practical, chatelaines could hold keys, watches, scissors, notebooks and other valuable possessions. Intact chatelaines are extremely hard to find because over the past 300 years people dismantled them and wore them as pendants.

Memorial Jewelry 

During the Georgian era, jewelry often had a lot of sentimental value. Some pieces would have a wedding date engraved on them, or they would depict a beautiful quote or phrase. While others are called "mourning pieces" and would have the date of death, their names, portraits and even their hair depicted inside the jewelry.

The Bottom Line 

Authentic Georgian jewelry is extremely rare and hard to find these days and therefore very valuable. Keep in mind that the jewelry from this era is expertly hand crafted and each piece is truly a work of art. These rare accessories would be the highlight of any collector's collection and can be quite costly, but if you have the money to spare and are eager to acquire an authentic Georgian piece, they are worth every penny. 

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