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Introducing The Most Iconic Vintage Jewellery Eras of All Time

So many breathtaking pieces of vintage jewellery continue to circulate today, with the most iconic eras producing timeless jewellery that continue to meet the demands of modern consumers. So, let’s introduce the most iconic vintage jewellery eras of all time and what makes each era so iconic! 

Georgian Era (1714-1835) 

A Demi Parure Of Late Georgian Moss Agate Jewellery Circa 1810
A Demi Parure Of Late Georgian Moss Agate Jewellery Circa 1810. Sold for £3,200 at Dreweatts, July 2022.

The first iconic jewellery era we are going to introduce is the Geogian era, which was named after the four Hanoverian King Georges. The jewellery created between 1714 and 1835 was handcrafted, featuring intricate metal work and complex designs that makes some of these pieces exceptional. Predominantly gold pieces of jewellery with diamonds set in silver were most common.

Pieces of Georgian jewellery are largely feminine in design, with the most popular motifs including flowers, hearts, birds and bugs. The advancements in skill from previous eras made the materials and methods embody excellence, although as the era fell awkwardly around the Industrial revolution, they were not quite as advanced as what was seen in the Victorian era. As a result, it is rare to see very fine pieces of jewellery from this era, as only the highest members of society were able to afford such luxury and extravagance. 

Whilst not many exceptional pieces are still circulating from this era, the ones that are still available are breathtaking. 

Victorian Era (1835-1900)

Moving onto the Victorian era, Queen Victoria was an influential figure who established the different trends for Victorian jewellery, with the finest pieces of jewellery still predominantly being exclusive to the upper classes.

A Ruby Diamond and Pearl Pendant Brooch circa 1870
A Ruby Diamond and Pearl Pendant Brooch circa 1870. Sold for £9,500 at Tennants Auctioneers, November 2005.

 

Throughout the Victorian era, jewellers were using a much wider variety of gem materials, with diamonds, sapphires and rubies all being discovered and hand crafted to create an entirely new level of jewellery, especially towards the end of the 19th century. Although all gemstones were still being handcrafted, the Industrial revolution was complete and jewellery from the Victorian era was able to take full advantage of this. 

With parts of jewellery creation beginning to involve mass production, the accessibility of fine jewellery expanded slightly to other classes. The innovation at the time, including electroplating thin layers of metals and metalwork stamping, made production quicker and easier, although some elements of handcrafting were still used, helping to create a unique blend of high quality pieces and a specialist finish that has helped these exceptional pieces of jewellery stand the test of time. 

Art Deco Era (1915-1935)

The majority of the Art Deco era fell after World War I, social change was on the horizon and this heavily influenced jewellery production. Art Deco design represented modernism and fashion, with luxury items on the rise and an anti-traditional elegance was taking over. Wealth and sophistication took over like never before, the innovations in industry and art influenced jewellery, with geometric shapes, streamlined designs and bright gemstones being the predominant features of jewellery from this era.

Cartier A Pair Of Art Deco Ruby And Diamond Earclips Circa 1930
Cartier A Pair Of Art Deco Ruby And Diamond Earclips Circa 1930. Sold for £20,000 at Bonhams, April 2022.

Platinum, a much more durable material, was discovered and favoured across the 20 years of the Art Deco era, where not much gold at all was seen. Large geometric shaped gemstones were set into the platinum, predominantly diamonds, which created bright and beautiful sparkling jewellery that has an undeniable character that is still in high demand today. Jewellery had gone from being a status symbol to pieces of art that continue to defy the passage of time. 

Retro Era (1935-1950)

Moving onto our final iconic era, which is Retro, between 1935 and 1950. As with the Art Deco era, Retro jewellery was strongly influenced by the societal changes that came with the end of World War II. This sparked a new era for all European countries, as economies were growing stronger and the middle class strengthened, again expanding the demand for jewellery. 

One thing that was commonly seen in the Retro era was convertible jewellery, like necklaces that could be turned into a bracelet with matching earrings. Bold, colourful and extravagant designs were common, but always with intricate details that made this jewellery highly recognisable but also highly technical. 

As platinum was in short supply following World War II, as it was reserved for military use, gold was preserved by using an alloy with high percentage copper, creating the iconic yellow gold that the Retro era was famous for. 

Final Thoughts

The quality of materials and craftsmanship that went into creating vintage jewellery is simply unparalleled in the times of mass production, which has helped these fantastic pieces to stay in impeccable quality for over 300 years. 

The fact that vintage jewellery continues to be in such high demand speaks volume about the quality and timelessness of these eras.

Related
Vintage Jewellery at https://www.berganza.com/

Article by by Daisy Moss

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