Periods in the Study of Antique and Period Jewelry...a Talk by Margaret Gronberg, GG, ISA

GEORGIAN 1790-1830 Simple gold rings, chains. Stones are rare. Some enamel. Stones are rose or table cut, many foil back, rub over settings. Silver on gold. Gold rolled and repoussé (hammered into relief from the reverse side). Pinchbeck (an alloy of copper and zinc resembling gold, used in watchmaking and costume jewelry).

EARLY VICTORIAN 1835-1850 Scroll work, all over engraving. Prongs first appear but with bezels. Knots, tassels, plants and flowers. Stones are Persian turquoise, coral, half pearls, garnets. Larger stones appear.

MID VICTORIAN 1850-1870 Gold with high Karat finish electroplate, or chemical
plating. Granulation, wirework, mesh chain, prong work, die struck elements. Jet, onyx for mourning jewelry, intaglios, cameo, mosaics. Gold fringe, bangles. Roman and Etruscan influences.

LATE VICTORIAN 1870-1900 Gold over silver. Platinum in its infancy. Platinum over gold and then all platinum pieces. Diamonds more common than before, opal, pearls, jet. Enamel. Natural influences: flowers, animal motifs, insects. Manufacturing techniques lighter. Beginnings of high prong settings.

ART NOUVEAU 1890-1910 Flowing lines, very stylized female figures, plant forms, mythological figures. Strong use of enamels. Design much more important than stones; stones used to decorate pieces. Horn, ivory, opals, moonstone.

EDWARDIAN OR BELLE EPOCH 1890-1915 Platinum comes into great favor. Light looking lacy techniques. Fine filigree work. Dog collar and garland styles. Rings set only with diamonds become strong influence. First strong use of die-struck technique goes hand in hand with discovery of diamonds in South Africa. Sapphires, diamonds, pearls, peridot, demantoid garnets. Tiaras, lorgnettes (pronounced /lôrnˈyet/...a pair of glasses or opera glasses held in front of a person's eyes by a long handle at one side), wristwatches (for ladies), hatpins, stickpins. First use of white gold.

ARTS AND CRAFTS 1890-1910 Common metals often used. Silver, Copper, Pewter, Brass. Linear design, hammered. Stones cut mostly in cabochon: turquoise, mother of pearl, moonstone, agates. Abstract forms, some natural forms.

ART DECO 1915-1935 Linear design, mostly two dimensional. Heavy use of pave' and channel setting of round and baguette diamonds; unusual cuts of stones (trapeze, kite, calf head). Scenes and designs created with diamonds and colored stones in geometric shapes, enameling. Clip-brooch, heavy bracelets, rings, bandeaux, brooches, platinum charm bracelets. Wristwatches first appear for men as direct result of World War I.

RETRO 1935-1950 War causes shortage of platinum. Strong use of gold, particularly in rose color, set with rubies, synthetic rubies, aquamarines; amethyst and citrine. Geometric, architectural, draping, chunky, massive and asymmetrical. Later in period, more feminine with bows, flowers, lacework, animal motifs. Large cuff bracelets, bib necklaces, cocktail rings, large single stone rings.

*These descriptions compiled with some information previously published by Gail Brett Levine, Graduate Gemologist.

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