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Which Jewellery Era are you from?

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Have you ever fallen in love with a vintage or an antique ring, necklace or earrings and wondered when it came from?

Here are some tips to help you decide which era your perfect jewellery comes from.

Georgian: 1714 -1830

Georgian style yellow gold sapphire ring with diamonds

During the reign of four consecutive monarchs named George (I - IV), large luxurious pieces and layering of pendants and bracelets became a thing.

Think, rings on every finger.

A surge in availability of coloured gemstones brought along “Harlequin” brooches and rings, which consisted of several colourful gems.

There was also an increase in popularity of sentimental jewellery with engraved messages and portrait miniatures given to friends and loved ones.

Georgian style amethyst parure jewellery set

Jewellery sets also known as “parure” typically consisted of at least four matching pieces: necklace, earrings, brooch and bracelet.

If you were lucky, it also came with a matching tiara!

Victorian: 1837 - 1901

Victorian style yellow gold snake ring with gemstones

Victorian jewellery lived and breathed nature, incorporating flowers, birds and insects.

Queen Victoria received a snake ring from Prince Albert on their engagement, making serpents (a symbol of rebirth and protection) another favoured theme for jewellery.

Victorian style acrostic ring with gemstones

During this romantic period, receiving jewellery that spelled out secret messages with gemstones was the ultimate token of love and appreciation.

"Acrostic rings" contained gemstones that corresponded to the letters of the alphabet to spell out a name or message.

D - diamond

E - emerald

R - ruby

E - emerald

T - topaz

Victorian style black mourning cameo brooch with beads

After the death of Queen Victoria's husband, Albert, mourning jewellery took over (although it did already exist during the Georgian era).

Black gemstones such as onyx and jet as well as dark garnets complemented morbid motifs of skulls and skeletons, along with the popular cameos and “hair jewellery” (literally, jewellery crafted from human hair!)

Victorian style white gold opal ring

Eventually, the jewellery scene brightened up leaving behind mourning jewellery.

Designs became smaller and lighter and primarily used semi-precious gems such as amethyst and opal, with large diamonds reserved for evening wear.

Edwardian: 1901-1915

Edwardian style bow design brooch with diamonds and gemstones

Oh, La Belle Époque!

Formal and traditional, elaborate but delicate, ornate and refined.

Lighthearted, lacey designs, with ribbons, wreaths, bow knots and tassels. Millegrain and filigree surrounding (mainly) pastel coloured gemstones.

Edwardian style black ribbon dog collar with diamonds

Light and airy brooches and pendants detached from larger pieces and were fastened to ribbon style chokers and diamond “dog collars” (already popular in France since 1860s).

Edwardian style pearl and diamond ring

Hands didn't go unnoticed, stacks of rings adorned each finger up to the knuckle.

Monochromatic look of platinum, diamonds and pearls allowed the combination of different jewellery designs over perfectly matching suites of Georgian era.

Art Nouveau: 1890 - 1910

Princess Hyacinth Art Nouveau paining by Czech painter Alphonse Mucha from 1911

Overlapping Victorian and Edwardian era, Art Nouveau protested against Industrial Revolution and pursued the idea that “art should be a way of life”.

A break away from mass produced jewellery, a fusion of realism and fantasy followed.

Czech painter, Alphonse Mucha created wonderful theatrical posters (personally, I'm a big fan!) and René Lalique brought to life stunning perfume bottle, vases as well as jewellery.

Art Nouveau jewellery by french designer René Lalique

Whimsical celebration of femininity and metamorphosis brought fairies, nymphs and mermaids to jewellery designs as well as other mythological creatures.

Dragonflies, butterflies and beetles were among the favourites and required colourful execution.

Enamel appeared in various vibrant colours, suggesting a move away from colourless diamonds.

Pastel coloured Art Nouveau insect jewellery

Pastel colours added dreamlike quality to the designs with organic gems such as Baroque pearls, coral and amber.

Art Deco: 1915-1935

Geometric Art Deco ruby and diamond earrings in white gold

Imagine magnificent cocktail rings, piles of bracelets and ropes of pearls.

Long elaborate earrings accentuated short bobs, ever so popular with the independent, working women and flapper girls of the Roaring 20s.

Geometric Art Deco white gold ring with diamonds and gemstone

It was time to explore straight lines, geometric shapes and abstract designs.

This experimentation phase also brought along the most popular diamond cut, the Round Brilliant (hooray!) designed by a Belgian engineer, Marcel Tolkowsky, in 1919.

Art Deco Egyptian inspired scarab brooch with blue and yellow gold enamel and gemstones

Then, in 1922, Egypt and its secrets became of great interest after the discovery of tomb of Tutankhamun.

Pharaohs, sphinxes and scarabs all gained popularity among jewellery motifs. India was another source of inspiration with its colourful gemstone combinations winning interest of jewellery lovers.

Have you discovered your favourite era?

Weather you enjoy the big and flashy or subtle and delicate...

... coloured gemstones or diamonds (or both!) I would love to hear about it.

To find a piece that's perfect for you, schedule a complimentary 30 minute connection call with me here

Visit Tsarina Gems Instagram page for more stunning jewellery ideas and styling tips


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