A History of Antique Jewelry
Jewelry has been revered, worshipped and worn by people since ancient times of civilization. The earliest settlers on earth wore necklaces made of bones and animal teeth. Jewelry made of more precious materials such as silver and gold were worn by the ancient Egyptians more than 3,000 years ago. The Egyptians were the forerunners to utilize precious stones, such as gemstones, lapis lazuli, turquoise and amethyst, in their jewelry. They also used the technique of enameling to enhance their jewelry. Archeologists on digs have unearthed many sketches of Egyptians which show them wearing tow bracelets on each arm, one above the elbow and one on the wrist.
There are six periods that define the historical significance of antique jewelry. The are:
Late Georgian 1760-1837
Art Nouveau 1890-1915
Art Deco 1920-1935
Late Georgian 1760-1837
The art of jewelry-making was refined during the Georgian and Victorian periods in Europe. The Georgian period was a time of social and political upheaval, during which the American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars were fought. A classical revival during Napoleon's first empire changed fashion dramatically. Jewelry styles favored smaller, lighter forms, often draped chains and classical motifs.
The Victorian period encompassed the time when Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837, ruling Great Britain until her death in 1901. Her reign was one of peace and prosperity. The Industrial Revolution furthered rapid social and economic change. The emerging middle class created a new demand for jewelry which for the first time began to be made in large quantities for the mass market. Pieces such as cameos and lockets began making their appearance, and platinum came onto the scene at the turn of the 20th century.
Art Nouveau 1890-1915
The Art Nouveau design movement emerged in force in Pairs during the final years of Victoria's reign and was showcased at an event in Paris in 1900, the Paris Exposition Universelle. Art Nouveau was based on a return to craftsmanship and an emphasis on design over material. Art Nouveau jewelry bears more relation to the architecture, furniture and textile design, rather than to the clothing, of the period.
The Edwardian period started when Edward VII ascended the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria, in 1901. This was a time when elegance and fashion became society's predominant values. The movie industry, automobile and airline dynasties were born and new wealth flourished among the middle and upper classes. Demand for jewelry styles as light as the delicate fabrics, lace and feathers used for clothing fashion ensued.
Art Deco 1920-1935
The period known as the Roaring Twenties saw a huge demand for jewelry and a new style, know as Art Deco, made its appearance at an event in Paris. This period was known as a fun-loving, decadent era which encompassed gangsters, speakeasies, bootleg liquor and dancing the Charleston. The jewelry of this period featured abstract geometric forms and shapes using such diverse designs as those created by the Aztecs and Egyptians, and combined them with modern art.
By the 1930's still another design was introduced, called "Retro Modern". The Thirties were a decade of depression for both the U.S. and Europe. The American public looked to the movies as an escape from everyday struggles. The jewelry of this period featured flamboyant curves and bows and was bolder, larger and more whimsical. Yellow, pink and even green gold was used in this jewelry, along with unusual mixtures of colored gemstones. Today's consumers look upon this style as garish.
World War II created a shortage of platinum because it was diverted to help produce strategic materials. Most jewelry was made of silver and gold, but platinum made a huge comeback in the early 1990's. Pieces such as the diamond solitare pendant and the tennis bracelet made their debuts during the latter part of the 20th century, and designer jewelry became popular during this period also.
Links of Interest
Absolutely Vintage - Specializing in vintage, designer and collectible costume jewelry for over 29 years. Representing all periods, styles and prices.
Adin - Belgium dealer in vintage French jewelry.
Adorable Vintage Costume Jewelry - Signed and unsigned vintage costume jewelry.
Agha Designs International - Estate and custom jewelry.
Albion Reproductions - Museum quality reproductions of historical jewelry and collectible artifacts.
Annie Sherman Vintage Jewelry - Offers costume, vintage rhinestone and estate antique jewelry sales.
Another Facet - Jewelry, art, and antique sales, purchases, appraisals and restorations. Tag sales and cleanouts arranged. Internet auction services.
Antique and Estate Jewelry - Elegant turn-of-the-century filigree rings, necklaces, watches and brooches designed in gold and platinum. One-of-a-kind engagement rings.
Antique Gems - Birmingham England jeweler with a selection of vintage jewelry.
Antique Jewelry Exchange - Large collection of unusual antique and estate jewelry.
Antique Jewelry for Sale - Offers rare and antique collection of semi-precious stones, engagement rings, diamond necklace, brooches, bracelets, earrings, watches, estate, vintage and platinum jewelry.
Antique Jewelry Mall - Estate & antique jewelry.
Antique Jewels - Amsterdam seller of antique and estate jewellery.
Antique Reflections - Collections of authentic antique and estate jewelry, Victorian replicas, sterling silver marcasite jewelry, and Southwest silver.
Antiquitus - Antique and period jewelry chosen and checked by a Graduate Gemologist/trained jewelry appraiser. .
Anton Ltd Jewelers - Antique, estate and modern jewelry.
Art Decoratif - Large selection of bakelite jewelry and vintage designer costume jewelry like Trifari, Coro and Eisenberg.
Aurista Coin Classics - Featuring fine collectible silver coin jewelry accented with 24kt gold.
Barker's Antique Jewelry, Inc. - Baton Rouge, La. dealer in antique jewelry. Shows samples of jewelry in their store.
Bonds of London - Fine antique jewellery from the Georgian,Victorian and Edwardian period
Bonnies Antiques - Vintage jewelry including gold, silver, beads, rhinestone, bakelite, and designer. Offers porcelain, dolls, and vintage clothing.
A Cache Of Jewels - Antique and vintage costume jewelry.
Cameo Collection - Cameo jewelry, including pins and pendants.
The Cameo Collection - Specializing in heirloom quality artisan carved cameo pins, pendants, and earrings set in 14k gold.
Cameo, Inc. - Collection of estate and designer jewelry, Victorian, art Nouveau, Edwardian and Art Deco fine jewelry.
Cameoheaven - Antique costume ,silver and Victorian jewelry.
Caroline's Jewelry - Catalog of antique and estate jewelry and watches from the 19th and 20th centuries.
D.H. Edmonds, Ltd. - Jewelry and antique jewelry from Georgian, Edwardian, belle epoch, retro, art deco, art moderne, and Victorian periods.
Diamond and Estate Jewelry - Estate and high fashion jewelry including Art Deco, Retro, Period and Antique styles. Also offering modern designs, from engagement rings and diamond studs to necklaces, bracelets and earrings, signed pieces and loose diamonds.
Diamond Jewelry Rings - Diamond Jewelry, Diamond Rings Only available at MySolitaire.com
Earthly Adornments - Collection of antique and collectible jewelry and accessories.
Easy Costume Jewelry - Collectible costume jewelry for the advanced and beginning collector.
Eclectica Vintage Jewelry - Collectible vintage and estate jewelry from the Victorian era through the 1960's.
Efiligree - Filigree jewelry with an online catalog of products.
eNavrang Jewelry - Offers a wide selection of precious stones, diamond pendents, gold bracelets, wedding bands, engagement rings and designer jewelry.
Estate Sales - Antique and vintage gold, platinum, diamond and gemstone jewelry in Art Deco, Victorian and Edwardian styles.
Fabulous Facets - Antique, vintage & collectible costume jewelry from the 19th & 20th centuries. History of American Jewelry manufacturers, eras, materials.
The Family Jools - Selection of vintage costume designs, purses and original beadwork.
Fay Cullen - Antique and estate jewelry, including Victorian, Georgian, art nouveau, art déco, art crafts, rétro, and signed pieces.
For Your Ears Only - Offers a selection of vintage jewelry ranging from costume and rhinestones to fine estate jewelry including designer signed, sterling, 60s, crown jewelry, and specializing in earrings.
Forever Fabulous - Previously treasured vintage costume jewelry and purses. Designer signed, Trifari, Coro, Hobe, Whiting and Davis, Hobe. Also lucite, copper, celluloid and sterling silver.
Forgotten Romance - Vintage and collectible costume jewelry.
Garden Party - Offers antique, vintage and old costume and estate jewelry specializing in signed designers.
GemsEtc - Antique and collectible jewerly, gemstones, manuals, gemological instruments from a Master Gemologist Appraiser, Graduate Gemologist GIA.
Gershon Jewelers - Antique and contemporary jewelry. Includes a wish list feature.
The Glamorous Woman - Genuine austrian crystal jewelry and accessories.
The Glitter Box - Vintage designer costume jewelry specializing in Haskell, Schiaparelli, Trifari, Boucher, DeMario, Hagler, Coro Sterling, Eisenberg and Hobe.
Glitz and Glitter Boutique - vintage, antique, costume and designer items.
Grandma's Jewellery Box - Antique and vintage jewelry, costume and collectible jewelry, watches, and accessories.
Granny's Jewelry Box - A blend of previously loved jewelry from diamonds to rhinestones, vintage to contemporary, inexpensive to not so inexpensive.
hawkantiques - Italian dealer of antique jewelry-Pre Victorian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco/Noveau, and Retro.
Hawstead Hall Antiques - Antique and estate jewelry.
Headdress Jewelry and Accessories - Antique and estate art deco, art nouveau, Edwardian and Victorian diamond rings, bracelets and earrings set in gold and platinum.
Hillary's Antique Jewelry Store - Antique and collectible jewelry -- Victorian, art deco, nouveau, and other vintage/retro jewelry.
Ian St. Gielar - Classic collectable costume jewelry creations by the chief designer for Stanley Hagler. All designs are signed limited editions.
Illusion Jewels - Vintage costume, antique, and designer jewelry. Includes a resource list of jewelry designers and companies, including dates and marks.
Isabel's Jewelry Box - Specializing in women's designer retro and costume jewelry including rhinestones, pearls, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, broaches, pins, and accessories.
Jackie Abraham & Co. Inc. - Antique and estate jewelry, diamond rings, watches and earrings.
Janeliunas Jewelry - Collection of antique, Victorian, vintage, collectible and estate jewelry from around New England.
J'antiques and Collectibles - Antique and vintage jewelry, including Georgian, Victorian, nouveau, and art deco.
Jarrett's Jade Jewelry and Small Antiques - Collectible and vintage jewelry and accessories. Also, a good selection of ephemera items.
The Jewel Case Inc. - Jewelry store specializing in estate jewelry, diamonds, gold and out-of-pawn items.
A Jewel of a Time - Offers fine antique and vintage jewelry including sentimental hair jewelry and estate pieces.
Jewelbiz - Cartier, Tiffany, antique and estate jewelry for sale.
The Jewelry Box - Specializing in designer, signed, antique, collectible and vintage costume jewelry, Victorian and estate jewelry.
Joan Good Antique Jewelry - Antique jewelry, cameos, amber, lockets, hearts, Chinese ceramics, excavated Asian antiquties, online shopping.
Joden World Resources - Collection of Georgian, Early Victorian, Victorian, Edwardian, Carlo Giuliano, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Natural Yellow Diamonds, and Original Works.
Joint Venture Estate Jewelers - Estate and consignment jewelry store in Cary, North Carolina, offering fine jewelry, appraisal, design, repair, and restoration.
A Jool Fool - Victorian, antique and vintage costume jewelery, and designer jewelry.
Kim Klosterman Jewelry - Antique 20th century jewelry.
Lee Ryan Antiques and Jewelry - Estate, antique jewelry, sterling silver, diamonds, gemstones bought and sold by Lee Ryan.
Lippincott Estate Buyer - Estate Buyer of wrist watches, diamonds, jewelry, sterling silver, coins and other related items. Sellers may view values of their items using Lippincott's database and receive Lippincott's quote to purchase.
LoveJoy Fine Estate Jewelry - Previously owned and cherished jewelry.
M and M TreasureNet - Carries vintage costume jewelry and handbags, vanity items, vintage jewelry boxes and other collectibles. Also a line of contemporary Austrian crystal jewelry.
Marcia's Putting On The Glitz - Catalog of vintage costume jewelry including sterling silver, rhinestones, deco and Bakelite, also vintage hats, purses, and compacts.
Marie E. Betteley - Fine antique and estate jewelry, jewelry from Imperial Russia and antique Russian works of art including items by Carl Fabergé.
Michelle's Vintage Jewelry - Vintage costume, antique and estate jewelry.
Music Jewelry in a Class of its Own - Musette has 150 models for musicians, singers, orchestras, choirs, divers, sailors, surfers, football and tennis players, and a wide range of animal models.
Now and Then - Vintage costume jewelry from the Victorian era to the 1950s and beyond, as well as vintage linens for home decor.
One of a Kind Estate Jewelry - Antique, vintage and designer jewelry from all periods. Tiffany, Georg Jensen, Cartier and Webb. Platinum, sterling, 18k gold, Mexican silver pieces from Taxco by William Spratling and Felipe Martinez.
Orpheus, Inc. - Reproduction pieces.
Paulenes - All types of antique, Victorian, estate and collectible costume jewelry plus hatpins, hair ornaments and purses.
Pommeraie Antiques - A specialized antique cameos store.
Red Robin Antiques - Antique jewelry, specializing in art nouveau, Victorian, silver, gold and enameled jewelry.
Regal Antique Jewellery - Antique jewelry company specialising in Edwardian and Victorian jewelry.
Renaissance Jewelers - Offers estate and antique jewelry, fine jewelry, cameos, and collectibles.
Rhinestone Rainbow - Vintage costume jewelry, 1930s to 1960s. Trifari, Mazer, Coro, Weiss, bakelite, Lucite, "unsigneds".
Rhumba - Collection of over 400 pieces of vintage costume jewelry including bakelite and sterling silver.
RussianArts - RussianArts is buying, selling and collecting russian cloisonné enamels
Saettele Jewelers, Inc. - Bridal and diamond jewelry.
Sassy Classics - Antique and estate jewelry, signed and unsigned.
S.E. Davis Co. - A selection of jewelry, unique collectibles, and vintage musical instruments.
Seahorse Jewels - Offering a variety of pins, necklaces, and rings.
Soul Heirs - Vintage jewelry and keepsakes of yesteryear find new souls to carry on their psychic and spiritual connection.
Sparkles Vintage Costume Jewelry - Including rhinestone jewelry, Victorian, cufflinks, watch fobs, fraternity and sorority jewelry, patriotic and military jewelry, art deco and art nouveau.
Susannah's Antique Combs - Art nouveau and art deco hair combs and antique jewelry from the 1880s to the 1920s.
Topazery - Antique, vintage and estate rings and other jewelry in platinum, gold, and silver with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other precious and semi-precious stones.
A Unique Shop - Collectable, vintage, estate, costume and antique Jewelry.
Valentina's - Antique, vintage and estate jewelry. Platinum diamond eternity bands, Victorian garnets, wedding rings and Tahitian pearls.
Valerie B. Gedziun - Vintage costume jewelry including a Trifari, Haskell, Eisenberg, Boucher, Iradj Moini, David Mandel, Larry Vrba, and Robert Sorrel.
Valstar Vintage Jewelry Collection - An online catalog of vintage collectible jewelry including, costume, contemporary, signed, figurals, womens accessories, unsigned, vanity items and accessories.
The Victorian Lady - Vintage and Victorian jewelry and other antique collectibles, plus tips and anecdotes for the collector.
Victorias Jewels - Estate and collectible jewelry plus a collection of artist made and handcrafted pieces.
Vienna Jewelry and Estate Buyers - Offering a selection of fine estate jewelry and diamonds.
Vintage Treasures Costume Jewelry - Specializing in signed and unsigned jewelry, Czechoslovakian and Bohemian glass necklaces and Christmas tree pins.
VintageFraternityPins.com - Vintage fraternity and sorority pins for sale.
The Way We Were - Estate jewelry including engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, cameos, bracelets, brooches, charms and pendants.
WithLoveFromLimeStreet - Collectible jewelry for sale-mostly rhinestone.
Yesterjewels - Collectible jewelry from the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's, with a few pieces from the 1960's and later.
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