A historical look at jewelry design

Victorian (1836 – 1901)victorian-earings

This period follows the reign of Queen Victoria. She loved opals. Jewelry motifs were flowers, hearts, bows, birds and serpents. 10K rose gold was common as well as garnets, amethyst, turquoise, pearls. Diamonds were discovered in South Africa in 1867 and became popular during this time.   more


Art Nouveau
(1890-1919)
Jewelry design reflected nature and art above all else. Tart-nouveau-dragonflyhe feminine form was celebrated with jewelry reflecting soft curves and delicate lines. Natural motifs included dragonflies, butterflies, peacocks, flowers and leaves. Craftsmanship and design became more important than materials. Gems such as amber, opals, moonstones, citrines were used. more

 

Edwardian (1901 – 1920)
Light and airy designs were the hallmark of this period. The choker became popular. Pearls and jewels for the hair combined with dangling earrings edwardian-earringsreigned. Platinum and diamonds took on the appearance of bows, lace and garlands. The jewelry of this period left the earthy artistry of the Art Nouveau period and radiated elegance and sophistication. Rings were crafted with a platinum setting, pearl center tone, surrounded by sparkling diamonds. more

 

Art Deco (1920-1935)
This was the era of jazz and flappers. art-deco-earringsA strong Egyptian influence brought about sphinx and falcon motifs. Long earrings became popular. The gems of choice were emeralds, sapphires and rubies. Art Deco design is very streamlined and clean with geometric shapes, hard edges, ziggurats and chevrons.  Emeralds, rubies and sapphires accented diamonds. more


Retro
(1935 – 1950)
The depression set the stage for retro jewelry. Platinum, nickel and white gold were named strategic military metals and became scarce in jewelry craftsmanship. retro-earringsThere was a rise of popularity in rose gold which implemented low karat gold with copper alloys.  Gemstones from this period included rhinestones, glass and crystals. Jewelry during this time has a distinct American style because of WWII and the depression.

Modern
(1950 – contemporary)modern-earrings
1950’s era jewelry in particular is filled with very luxurious and showy jewelry from high end designers like Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany, and Cartier.  Larger pieces feature clusters of uniquely cut gemstones in the shapes of animals, flowers, and other unusual patterns. more
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