Antique Edwardian jewelry
The era of Edwardian jewelry was relatively brief, lasting only 10 years during the rule of King Edward VII of England.
This jewelry period saw the emergence of various designs and styles. Although it lasted only for a short while, Edwardian jewelry surprisingly is the most common antique jewellery form today.
Jewelry was easier to manufacture and create during the time of King Edward VII as new technologies became available. As a result, jewellery pieces became affordable making them accessible to a lot of people. The Edwardian period also saw the development of other jewelry style movements such as the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau.
Materials that were widely used for making jewelry during this era included amethysts, diamonds, opals, rubies, pearls, sapphires, silver and white gold. Platinum was not favoured as it is considered as a difficult medium to work with.
The development of new technologies during this time made it much practical and easier to come up with jewellery designs. To reflect the times, many Edwardian jewelry pieces were made to match highly popular fabrics during this era such as silk and lace.
Settings that became available during this time were the Millegrain and Invisible. These settings together with new techniques in gem stone cutting expanded the design choices and options of jewelers. The Millegrain style of setting was used to fix stones with ridges to surrounding beads. Metal edges on the other hand were used to create a particular gold design called knife edges and to also make openwork platinum designs.
There were various design styles for necklaces that were developed during the Edwardian era as well. One example is the negligee, which features two pendants that are of unequal length or a necklace with looped ends. Another is the Sautoir, which is a necklace that is made using beads. It is designed to drop below the waist and has a tassel on the end. Lavaliere is another prominent Edwardian design that features a lone pendant on a relatively thick chain.
Other common jewelry pieces during this period are filigree rings and engagement rings made of white gold and diamonds. Engraved signet rings were also high in demand during this time, usually made of 10 or 14 carat gold, and also birthstone rings.
Many Edwardian jewelry pieces also feature monochromatic themes similar to those found in Victorian jewelry. This is not to say that jewelry pieces from this period were dull or bland. In fact Edwardian jewelry is actually heavily inspired by Rococo, which is characterized by wreaths, tassels, and bows, which collectively is called the garland style. Cartier was known to use this technique in a lot of their designs, as well as Faberge, which became known for their machine-made hand-enamelled decorations.
Popular styles and motifs
Motifs that were common in Edwardian era jewelry pieces included stars, serpents, insects, and crescent moons.
Styles that were popular during this period were chain bracelets, bangle bracelets, spring bracelets, pearl sautoirs, bar brooches, and dog collar necklaces.