Simple Guide To Antique Jewelry

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.

SIMPLE GUIDE TO VICTORIAN JEWELRY

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

IN THIS BLOG POST YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Key characteristics 
  • Favorable stone cuts
  • Popular types of jewelry during the Victorian Period

Named after Queen Victoria, this era lasted through her reign in 1837-1900. Many events and revolutionary changes happened during that time. Industrial development, transportation, fashion, society, and jewelry all have been affected and improved. Just within 60 years, Europeans moved from riding horse carriages to driving automobiles and using electricity. Moreover, the middle class emerged and jewelry became more affordable, yet remained just as elaborate and beautiful. 

KEY CHARACTERISTICS

The arrival of the Industrial Revolution affected many industries, including jewelry. Opposite from the Georgian era, where everything was handmade, Victorian jewelers mostly used machinery to craft jewelry and to stamp the creator's hallmarks. 

Popular motifs included all kinds of animals, sporting symbols, stars, hearts, dragons, luck charms, Japanese, Egyptian, Roman, and Moorish motifs. No matter what your style is, Victorian jewelry has it all. Also, women became more independent and active, so they couldn’t wear heavy, extravagant jewelry anymore. Delicate, dainty rings, bracelets, and pins came of style instead. 

Popular gemstones at the time were: diamond, emerald, amethyst, amber, chrysoberyl, malachite, garnet, turquoise, pearls, coral, and quartz.

FAVORABLE STONE CUTS WERE: 

  • Cabochon: polished, round top, flat bottom. 
  • Rose Cut: oval or round shape with a domed top and flat bottom.
  • Old European Cut: a shape that was popular before the technological development and precision cutting, and the Round Brilliant Cut. Old Euros feature large facets and open culets.

POPULAR TYPES OF JEWELRY DURING THE VICTORIAN PERIOD

Sentimental jewelry - became popular because of the courtship and the love story of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Young lovers and marriages were cherished, along with sentimental friendships and children, to always remember and be reminded of.

 

 

 

Acrostic Jewelry - the unique arrangement of gemstones in the setting, where the first letter of each gemstone spelled out a graceful word.

 

 

Slide and Long Guard Chains - both are decorative chains usually considerably long and made of gold. The slide chains are often accompanied by a slide accessory that features gemstones, cameos, or unique metalwork.

Mizpah and AEI Jewelry - Mizpah jewelry have the Hebrew word Mizpah emblazoned on them, which means “the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.” Similarly, AEI on jewelry meant Amity, Eternity, Infinity, which means - the love that I have for you will last through all eternity and into infinity. For now and forever.

THE BOTTOM LINE 

Queen Victoria passed away on January 22, 1901, yet her legacy lives on through the Victorian jewelry created during her 64-year reign. Her son, King Edward VII ascended the throne upon her death and reigned until he died in 1910. This era is considered “Edwardian'' in the jewelry industry. Authentic Victorian jewelry is extremely rare and hard to find these days and therefore very valuable. Keep in mind that the jewelry from this era is very sentimental and depicts love for a partner, a friend, a child, or a lost soul. These rare accessories would be the highlight of any collector's collection.

Edwardian jewelry is known for representing femininity while incorporating a lot of the color white. Think diamonds, pearls and white metals like platinum and white gold. Diamonds often had an Old Mine or European cut and sapphires were a popular choice for a pop of color.

The Belle Époque (1890-1915) encompassed three jewelry design periods: Art Nouveau, the Arts and Crafts movement, and Edwardian. Think of chokers, feminine motifs and all things aristocratic.