Jewelry Periods


Jewelry has always been defined by time and style in many different forms, reflected throughout the centuries my master craftsmen and jewelers around the world. In order for an easier recognition and understanding of the varying but distinct styles, we have compiled the following chronologically arranged chart.

GEORGIAN PERIOD 1714-1830
EARLY VICTORIAN PERIOD 1837-1860
MID-VICTORIAN PERIOD 1860-1880
LATE VICTORIAN PERIOD 1880-1901
ART NOUVEAU PERIOD 1880-1914
ARTS AND CRAFTS PERIOD 1890-1914
EDWARDIAN PERIOD 1901-1910
ART DECO PERIOD 1920-1935
RETRO PERIOD (WAR YEARS) 1935-1945
MODERN PERIOD 1945-TODAY


Georgian Period 1714-1830


Georgian jewelry production began during the years Great Britain was being ruled by the four Georges, thus the term 'Georgian'. The Georgian period encompassed most of the eighteenth century and the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Jewelry of this period was entirely handmade and consequently individualistic in design. The quality of the jewelry varied owing to the demand of the people at the time.(meaning what ?) The art of the jewelry was refined in this period with settings dewsigned to incorporate rose diamonds and precious stones. The motif of this period consisted greatly of nature, including flowers, leaflets, insects, birds, feathers and ribbons.




Victorian Period 1837-1900


This period was initiated when Victoria became queen of England at the age of eighteen. At this time there was a hope that she would turn the tide.............and this she did ! Victoria loved jewelry, and her influence contributed greatly to the development of many styles that developed during her reign. The Industrial Revolution brought with it the invention and development of new tools and the ability to mine precious gemstones and metals. This industrialization meant great mechanical advances and the result was mass production. The new availability of jewelry for the first time to the middle-classes in turn fuelled the demand and an explosion of personal adornment hit society. Some men have never recovered ! 




Early Victorian or Romantic Period 1837-1860


The dominant styles in jewelry during the 1840's reflected a prominent view of nature. This style featured scrollwork, stylized floral sprays, animal themes and beautiful gold work enhanced with colored gemstones as well as diamonds. Also, the surge of religious feelings aroused the Gothic Revival Movement, bringing about a renewed interest in enamelled jewelry.




Mid-Victorian or Grand Period 1860-1885


The Mid-Victorian period displayed bolder, and brighter jewelry, introducing both day and evening wear. Day jewelry consisted of classical motifs made of mosaics, sea shells, agate, jasper and amethyst. Diamonds and other sparkling colorless faceted gems were the rage for evening wear. The pieces were set in highly detailed Etruscan frames made entirely by hand.




Late Victorian or Aesthetic Period 1885-1900


There was a greater sense of social responsibility and an even more liberated woman emerged during the 1880's. Again, fashions changed and a desire for softer, more feminine colors in jewelry. Fancy colored sapphires became the stone of choice, in addition to peridot and spinel. Diamonds gained greater popularity due to their bright sparkle. This is about the very first time the Suffragettes began the concept of linking wedding ring expenditure to salary.




Arts and Crafts Movement 1894-1923


In this period jewelers rebelled against the mass production brought on by the Industrial Revolution of the late Victorian period. They argued that there had been a tremendous loss in craftsmanship and quality. Art guilds appeared and the 'Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society' was formed in 1888. Each piece of jewelry was handmade by a craftsman using mainly uncut and cabochon stones in bright colors. There was an emphasis on simple functional designs with straight lines and angular forms.




Art Nouveau Period 1890-1915


The end of the nineteenth century indicated a great change. This movement was defined largely in part for the work of Alphonse Mucha. This expressive art can be characterized as having a flowing theme of feminine figurines, stylized flowers, scrolls and insects in beautiful enamels. The style developed into the celebration of the most natural forms favoring such flora as the iris and fauna such as the dragonfly. Rene Jules Lalique led the French in Art Nouveau jewelry, while Louis Comfort Tiffany was the American jeweler best known for his designs. These graceful designs which became influential throughout Europe in the 1900's are now highly desirable, valuable, collectible and not often very easy to find at affordable prices.




Edwardian Period 1901-1910


In 1901 Queen Victoria passed away and her son Edward became the King of England, hence the term 'Edwardian'. High society was in full swing and lavish jewelry became the style. The heavy gold settings of the Victorian period were no longer in vogue leading to the use of platinum to create a lacy therefore delicate appearance. Edwardian designs were influenced by decorative motifs. A popular known influence was Marie Antoinete's jewelry, which featured an array of garlands, wreaths, bows and tassels with an open work design of scalloped edges and millegrain work. Diamonds were the primary interest in Edwardian jewelry, a fabulous rich, encrusted sparkly look, created by mastercraftsmen with high standards. A combination of other gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies were widely used to compliment these rich designs. Pearls were also popular and used frequently throughout this period.




Art Deco Period 1920-1935


Derived from the 1925 'Exposition Internatinale des Arts Decoratif et Industiels Modernes', the term 'Art Deco' manifested itself between the two World Wars. This was a period of design whose 'modernization'caused it to stand apart. Influenced by the Far and Middle East, Greece, the Romans and the Egyptians, Art Deco rose like the Pheonix from the ashes of the first World War. The introduction of cubism in the art world after 1925 brought about strong geometrical patterns strongly associated with this style today. Diamonds and platinum were used disregarding cost. Gemstones were cut into triangles, trapezoids, oblong shapes and emerald cuts. Oriental Jade and Coral were carved in oriental style for pendants, bracelets and earrings. Aquamarines, topaz and citrine are also part of the Art Deco style and widely used to express the fellings of the period. Although the great Depression of the 1930's was a hard time for everyone, the Art Deco style infused the everyday world with elegance and sophistication. Art Deco jewelry was mainly dominated by French designers, Cartier, Bucheron, and Fouquet to name some of the most outstanding.




Retro Modern Period 1940


The flamboyant curves and bows often in large pieces of jewelry make this a very obvious period. Yellow, pink and even green gold were used at this time to in a statement of freedom of __expression. Copper was used widely during the war in the making of gold as nikel was in short supply, used primarily in the in the making of arms. A popular stone of this period was calibre-cut ruby or even synthetic ruby, often channel-set in an __expression of curvature and color. This style is presently highly collectible and can still be purchased very reasonably.............as long as you are registered for Priority Viewing !




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