Hey all! I’m back with the another installment regarding identifying your inherited pieces of jewelry or your flea market finds. The first installment focused on the Georgian through the Victorian period. I’m going to start today with the year 1890 and stop just short of the Art Deco era, i.e. circa 1920. There were three main periods during this timeframe, and the dates overlap:
- Art Nouveau: 1895 – 1915
- Edwardian (English name) or Belle Epoch (French Name): 1901- 1915
- Arts and Crafts Movement: 1890 – 1914
All three of these periods, while overlapping, had very different styles.
One of the most important discoveries was the ability to use platinum in jewelry as a white metal, instead of sterling silver. Because platinum is such a strong metal, designs got lighter and more airy. The designer was able to incorporate garlands, swags, foliate motifs, lace, bows, etc. into their work. Think feminine and you’ll get the picture. Diamonds were very popular, as were amethysts, unheated aquamarines, demantoid garnets (green in color), peridot, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. These colored stones were often set with different shaped diamonds.
Below is an example of an Edwardian turquoise pin. Note the lightness of the design and the swirls, giving the appearance of movement:
This sapphire and diamond pin is an example of later Edwardian piece, as noted by the filigree. This later period (circa 1910-1915) is sometimes called the Transitional Period, because soon enough, the Art Deco age would be upon us, bringing with it a geometric style:
The Art Nouveau Movement overlapped the Edwardian period. In Art Nouveau pieces, diamonds are used sparingly, with emphasis on translucent enameling technique , colored stones and nature. Think ‘early hippie’. Serpents, bats, flowers, leaves, and the female form were popular motifs. Baroque pearls were used as accents, often dangling from the bottom of a pendant. Glass stones were also used instead of gemstones. Yellow gold was used, rather than the popular platinum of Edwardian jewelry . Note the use of both nature and the baroque pearl in this beautiful pendant:
This whimsical frog ring also uses elements of nature and adds a large glass stone I spoke of earlier. The way the frogs hug the glass to serve as prongs is an example of quality craftsmanship:
This floral pin with a baroque pearl center is an excellent example of the delicate enameling done during the Art Nouveau Period:
The Arts and Crafts Movement differed from the Edwardian and Art Nouveau Movement in that opulence was rejected. Handcrafted jewelry was favored. When gemstones were used, they were cabochon-cut (domed), rather than faceted, and they were bezel-set in sterling silver. Brass and copper were also used. Turquoise, Peridot, Malachite, Opal, Moonstone, Ivory, Aventurine and Carnelian were popular stones. During this period, blister pearls made an appearance.
Once seen, blister pearls are unforgettable, as per the example below:
Note the simplicity of this Aventurine pin. This simplicity of design is characteristic of the Arts and Crafts period. Note the cabochon, or domed shape of the Aventurine stones:
This concludes Part 2 folks, as I don’t want to overwhelm! Part 3 will move us forward into the Art Deco age, encompassing the roaring 20s and 30s. Big changes in style are in the air! Don’t miss it!