Georgian jewelLEry (1714-1837)
Georgian Jewellery tended to reflect the tastes and attitudes of the people of the period, resulting in rather mixed bag of styles and materials employed. This is not a surprise as the term 'Georgian Jewellery' refers to a period which spans over 120 years and includes the reigns of 4 British monarchs all with the title King George (I-IV). As time has gone by Georgian jewellery has become increasingly rare and in turn can command high prices for very sought after pieces. Often featuring nature-inspired designs such as leaves and birds, Georgian jewelry frequently includes precious stones. Memento Mori jewellery was also popular at the time (meaning 'remember you will die') and was quite morbid, featuring skull motifs and coffins.
Early Victorian, romantic jewelry (1837-1855)
Like jewelry of the Georgian era, early Victorian era jewelry features nature-inspired designs. Frequently, these designs would be delicately and intricately etched into gold. Lockets and brooches were popular everyday jewelry during the early Victorian era whereas colored gemstones and diamonds were worn during the evening.
Mid-Victorian, grand jewelry (1856-1880)
Because the Grand or Mid-Victorian era corresponded with the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, many jewelry pieces have solemn, grave designs. Known as mourning jewelry, the pieces feature heavy, dark stones. Jet, onyx, amethyst, and garnet are frequently found in jewelry from this period. The jewelry also became especially creative during this period. More colorful designs were born featuring shells, mosaics and colorful gemstones.
Late Victorian, aesthetic jewelry (1885-1900)
During the Late Victorian or Aesthetic period, jewelers used diamonds and feminine, bright gemstones such as sapphire, peridot, and spinel. Star and crescent designs as well as elaborate hat pins were also popular. Some scholars believe the aesthetic era began sooner, in 1875, and ended as early as 1890.
Arts and crafts jewelry (1894-1923)
Due to the Industrial Revolution, many jewelry designers rebelled during the Arts and Crafts movement, returning to intricate jewelry designs and handmade craftsmanship. It was common for jewelry of this era to be simple in pattern, made of colorful, uncut stones.
Art Nouveau jewelry (1895-1915)
Designed by Rene Jules Lalique in France and other jewelers in America, Art Nouveau jewelry features natural designs such as flowers and butterflies. Louis Comfort Tiffany made archetypal Art Nouveau pieces, and his pieces are highly sought after today. Art Nouveau was a style popular from roughly 1895 until World War I. The movement actually began around 1875 in Paris and its influence went throughout the Western world. The movement eventually died out by the end of World War I, but has since continued to be revived throughout the contemporary ages. Art Nouveau jewellery follows curves and naturalistic designs, especially depicting long-haired, sensual women sometimes turning into birdlike or flowerlike forms. Overall the Art Nouveau movement was a romantic one, of imaginary dreaminess, with long limbed ethereal beauties. Magnificent floral and botanical forms often worked in enamel were inexpensive and became so popular once mass-produced, that the Art Nouveau style declined. As an art movement today, the style is still admired and followed by new young jewellers. Art Nouveau vintage jewellery is also popular amongst many collectors.
Edwardian jewelry (1901-1915)
The Edwardian period was born when Queen Victoria died and her son Edward became king. During this period, expensive gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies and elaborate designs were the fashion.
Art Deco jewelry (1915-1935)
A stilted, stylized design which was named after the 1925 L’Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris, France. Much of the Art Deco design was a transition from the earlier Art Nouveau, and as with the nouveau epoch, was inspired by the Art of the American Indian, ancient Egyptian, and Greek and Roman architecture. The early 1920s interest in Cubism and Dadaism as a new Art form, greatly influenced the Art Deco period. The King Tut traveling exhibit, in the 1970s, renewed the craze for Egyptian design jewelry. Additionally, the mysteries of the pyramids and a continuing revival of astrological studies, lent itself to Art Deco designs which in turn were incorporated in the Art Moderne period following 1930.
Retro jewelry (1945-1960)
Inspired by Hollywood, Retro jewelry is colorful, bold and elaborate. Commonly worn were large cocktail rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces and charm bracelets.