Heirloom, Antique & Vintage Jewelry
Know Your Vintage Jewelry Periods!
The Byzantine period began in c. 330 AD, and lasted all the way to the mid 1400’s. Their lavish jewelry was very ornamental, abundant with lots of gold and gems. Most of these pieces bore religious insignias, such as crosses, or portraits of saints and emperors engraved into them. Many of the stones set in this jewelry were cabochons, which are a
The Georgian era spanned the early 1700s until about 1830. Named after the four English Kings of that time- Georges I – VI –Georgian jewelry was very ornamental, many pieces featuring floral and ribbon-like motifs. Diamonds were generally rose or table cut, and other gemstones commonly used were garnets, coral, and topaz, as well as more luxurious stones like rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Sterling was mixed right with gold, and gold was usually 18k or higher. Memorial style jewelry was also popular, for example people would get pendants or brooches made with portraits of their loved ones painted on them.
The Victorian era spanned from 1835 – 1890 and was an era when jewelry really started to hit the mass market. Once only reserved for the royal and/or filthy rich, fine jewelry began to become available to the emerging middle class, and these emerging styles coincided with the Victorian Era’s segregated periods- Romantic, Grand, and Aesthetic. This era spurred such a wide amount of creative and colorful jewelry adorned with gorgeous gems like rubies and emeralds, and nature-inspired motifs, such as flowers, leaves, stars, and even snakes. Cameo brooches and lockets were especially popular during this time, as well as mourning jewelry which memorialized lost loved ones, and chatelaines, which were a series of chains often pinned to the lady of the house’s dress and contained many little tools, like keys and thimbles- an early “mobile device” of sorts!
The Edwardian period followed shortly after the Victorian, starting in about 1900. The styles of the period were very feminine and delicate looking, often exhibiting lacey patterns decorated with gemstones, pearls, and diamonds. Brooches continued to be popular, along with long necklaces, called sautoirs, often composed of strands of pearls ending with tassels. Geometric and the French “Belle Epoque” were popular shapes used in designs.
The Art Nouveau years featured romantic and nature-inspired works, many pieces decorated with enamel and pearls. Dragonflies, butterflies, and flowers played a large role in Art Nouveau styles, as well as draping chains, feminine figures, and dangling earrings. Many pieces still carried a heavy Edwardian-influence, yet this period still held its own with its use of free-flowing lines and unmatchable artistry. The iridescent colors, radiantly-hued enamel, and incredibly delicate feminine forms largely dominated the Art Nouveau works.
The Art Deco years of jewelry is often considered to be a continuation of the Edwardian style, as most pieces still featured intricacy and delicateness. Geometric shapes and patterns were widely used, including baguette, square, and round cut stones. Diamonds continued to be extremely popular, and the styles reflected the modern industrial period that the turn of the nineteenth century was. Styles were edgy yet feminine, bold yet minimalist, modern yet classical. Sparkling bracelets and long necklaces were very popular, featuring elegant filigree details and architectural mastery.
Retro refers to jewelry made in the mid 1930’s to the early 1950’s. Bold lines and shapes, big and bright colorful gemstones, and dramatic fabric motifs marked this time of highly engineered works and technological breakthroughs. The use of white and rose gold became trendy, as well as the use of rubies, diamonds, and aquamarines. Numerous pieces were constructed in ribbon and bow shapes. Some could say that the birth of Retro styles marked the end of minimalism, making way for the bigger, bolder and more modern looks that began in the 1960’s and continue today. Cuff bracelets and chunky cocktail rings were highly popular during this time.
The Jewels & Estate jewelry collection includes previously owned, gently worn pieces from a variety of time periods, from vintage estate jewelry to modern designers. Our inventory is always changing, with new items added daily. Jewels & Estate Gallery welcomes you to browse our online gallery of estate jewelry items or visit our store for even more options.