Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Style of Antique Jewellery

The Style of Antique Jewellery

Antique jewellery is popular with collectors and people looking to wear something unique and stylish.

You can find a great selection of antique jewellery at most antique fairs and there is always a chance to pick up a valuable piece that has been missed by the experts.

Generally, an item is classed as an antique if it is over 100 years old. You can date silver and gold pieces manufactured in Britain by checking out the hallmark.

The style of antique jewellery varies a great deal depending on its age and is characterised by the fashions and trends of the day.

Georgian period 1714-1837
This period produced high quality and individual jewellery with a high level of craftsmanship. Style often draws on natural elements such as birds, leaves, flowers and feathers and often features added embellishments of bows and pear shaped drops. Georgian jewellery tends to be expensive owning to its age and the quality of materials used. Gemstones are popular in this period.

Victorian period 1837-1901
Romanticised natural shapes, personally engraved silver pieces and grisly memorial jewellery such as lockets with the hair of a loved one, typify the Victorian age. The influences of the far-flung empire also gave some jewellery an oriental flavour. This style called Japonaiserie was very popular and was produced in Britain.

Edwardian period 1901-1915
An affluent period for many, platinum was used for the first time in jewellery. Diamonds and pearls had become more readily available in the early 1900s and became popular. In general, Edwardian style jewellery is light and delicate and sometimes draws on Art Nouveau and Japanese inspired designs. Tiffany and Faberge produced high value pieces much sought after today.

Art Nouveau style 1890-1915
Art Nouveau style runs alongside much of the Edwardian period but can be classified as a style of its own.
Both natural and mythical subjects are popular in Art Nouveau jewellery. Butterflies, dragons, dragonflies, insects and sea creatures, stylised women with long flowing hair are typical subjects. The art Nouveau style looked to nature for inspiration and semi precious stones such as pearls were very popular.

Art deco style 1920-1935
Strong angular cubist shapes and bold contrasting colours epitomise the jazz age. High quality jewellery pieces made of platinum and palladium could be decorated with diamonds and contrasted with the new plastic material Bakelite or onyx jet for dramatic effect. Cartier were the leaders in art deco jewellery design

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