Georgian Period To Retro Jewelry Design

Georgian Period: 1714-1830- The Georgian period used naturalistic designs of leaves, birds, ribbons, feathers, flowers and insects in engraved gemstones. Intaglio was employed in gemstone design. Cameo brooches were once again featured and earrings saw a rise in popularity with semi-precious stones embellishing these designs. Amethyst, turquoise, garnets and coveted pearls were seen in Georgian pieces.

Early Victorian Period: 1837-1860- The Gothic Revival Movement featured religious sentiment and enameled jewelry reflected these ideals. Floral sprays, animal themes and multicolored metal work came into prominence.

Mid-Victorian(Grand) Period: 1860-1885- Etruscan frame designs were employed in setting elaborate multi-colored stone jewelry. Rosettes, seashells, mosaics and fringes became extremely popular. In 1861, Prince Albert’s death spawned the omnipresence of jet, a hard, black semi-precious stone able to be polished to a high sheen, in response and in mourning of the Prince’s passing. Lockets, chains, brooches and cuff bracelets were in vogue in the 1880’s.

Late Victorian (Aesthetic) Period: 1885-1900- This was the age of the diamond. Authentic birds, claws and scarabs were used and set in gold, bronze or silver, changing the symbolism of these time-honored ornamentations. Exquisite pendants with pearls and varicolored stones were used in the late 1880’s.

Arts and Crafts Movement: 1894-1923- The Arts and Crafts Exhibitions Society was formed in 1888 in opposition to the mass-production ideals of the Industrial Revolution, preferring instead to keep their workmanship generalized. These craftsmen utilized brilliantly colored uncut stones and created metalwork of silver.

Art Nouveau Period: 1890-1915- Frenchman Rene Jules Lalique and American Louis Comfort Tiffany were the leading Art Nouveau jewelry makers of the time. Art Nouveau was fantastical and stylized, using many flowing and feminine elements of vines, leaves, birds, scrolls, serpents, insects and flowers in its design. A transparent enamel, Plique-a-jour, was often employed without a metal backing for light dispersion. Scrolling gold work, pearls and cabochon gemstones were used in very elaborate and romantic period.

Edwardian Period: 1901-1910- Extremely feminine and lacy jewelry with motifs of ribbons, stars, crescents, bows and wreaths of petite flowers gave the Edwardian jewelry its delicate impression. Many pieces of jewelry of this period have an all-white look, due to inclusion of platinum gold, diamonds, pearls and moonstones. Large colored gemstones were also center pieces in jewelry design.

Art Deco Period: 1920-1935- 1925’s Cubism movement highly influenced this period of jewelry design with geometrical patterns and angular forms. Diamonds, platinum and gemstones cut into pentagons, trapezoids and triangles figured prominently. Cardinal gemstones (rubies, sapphires, emeralds) and onyx were set against diamonds for stark contrast. Far East jade and coral and Indian Cardinal stones influenced the design of earrings, bracelets and pendants. Leading designers were Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Maubousiin, Bucheron, Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston came to prominence.

Retro Period: 1935-1949- During this pre and post war period, much of the precious metals were melted down for war funds. White metals were surpassed by yellow, pink and green golds, often mixed together in jewelry pieces. A patriotic look was developed using rubies, sapphires and diamonds, sometimes synthesized and jewelry fell out of favor once the US entered the war in 1941. Three dimensional, sculptural ribbon, bows and folds of metal became popular.

Eric Hartwell is involved in The World’s Best Home Page [] (please visit to read and share opinions) and Jewels To Love []

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Author: Uzumaki Naruto

"I want to see this market as a sharing market. Where merchants and customers sincerely support one another."

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