Looking to buy some vintage jewellery? Taking some time to understand the history of the jewellery will give you a greater appreciation of its value. Here is our short guide to the main vintage style eras to help you find the perfect timeless piece.
Georgian Era (1714-1835)
This era covered the reign of four English kings including–King George I, II, III, and IV. Jewellery of this period was generally inspired by French 17th century design. The designs were grand and regal and included coloured gems and large jewels. The jewellery was typically handmade using 18 cartat gold or silver.
Victorian Era (1835-1900)
Named after Queen Victoria of England , this style was influenced by the Queen’s own enjoyment of fashion and jewellery . Her style choices influenced the jewellery trends of the day. During this period fine jewellery became more readily available to the middle classes.
The first half of the Victorian are covered the period before King Alberts death. Jewellery was romantic and sentimental in style with symbolic themes and floral details seen in the necklaces, brooches and bracelets. The use of colourful gems such as rubies and emeralds, citrines, and amethyst were a key feature as were pearls. After his death the colour black featured heavily in Victorian jewellery, creating a strong bold look
The main style features of this era were elegance and sophistication. Diamond and platinum were widely used and popular with the high society of the time. Long necklaces called sautoirs (strings of pearls ending with tassels) were in style as were brooches.
Above: Beautiful vintage amethyst and sterling silver drop necklace, part of the art deco collection at Modern Vintage Style
Art Deco (1915-1935)
After 1920 when women received the right to vote, a whole new attitude evolved and this was reflected in the jewellery of the day. Styles were feminine yet edgy, and had a modern, geometric and minimalist look. Women often wore long strand of pearls, long straight earrings and wrists were adorned with stacks of bracelets . Art deco themes are still popular and are often seen in modern vintage style type jewellery .
Retro (Circa 1935-1950)
Jewellery design experienced a resurgence in the late 1930’s. It was influenced by the fame , glamour, and elegance of Hollywood. Retro style jewellery was dominated by dramatic bold jewellery , including flowers, sunburst designs, bows, moonstones, ballerinas and horse motifs to name a few.