Flowers are one of the most common motifs in jewelry, which is not surprising. It is our natural desire to replicate nature’s ephemeral beauty in enduring works of art.
Each piece of lovely, floral-themed jewelry from the antique heirloom collection at Isdaoras is special – reflecting the spirit of the era in which it was created.
Fashionable flower motifs were common in the late Georgian Era, but jewelry designs became more realistic during the early Victorian Era.
These lovely 15KT gold Victorian pietra dura earrings utilized inlays of highly polished stone to create the flowers and leaves.
This sweet, seed pearl flower ring is saturated with sentiment. In the Victorian Era, lovers were obsessed with secret languages assigned to love tokens. Flowers were assigned specific meanings. For example, a daisy meant innocence, while a sunflower indicated adoration.
In the Art Nouveau Era, stylized flowers were once again popular; designs were curvaceous and whimsical. Flowers never used in jewelry before became the norm – water lilies, fuchsias, and poppies.
Simultaneously in the Edwardian Era, flower designs were used decoratively in garland necklaces.
Art Deco design decried flowing lines and adopted cubism. However, many motifs of the time still included flowers. Egyptian motif jewelry was popular and included figurative representations of lotus blossoms. Flowers were often carved in gemstones.
These striking pieces personify the geometry, symmetry, and boldness of Deco design, which is reflected even further in the carved, stylized flowers.
In the Retro Era, floral motifs flourished – but with a difference. Jewelers now incorporated movement. Big, chunky jewelry often featured articulated petals and leaves – though bolder and less realistic.
Movement was especially important, as embodied in the sway of the dangle earrings, and the lift of the watch’s articulated cover.
After WWII, fashion returned to femininity. Midcentury jewelry was open, airy, and textural. Flowers were a popular motif often emphasized by gemstones.
This beautiful midcentury necklace features three quartz flowers accented with sapphire pistils. Flower representation in jewelry during the mid-twentieth century evolved from the large, articulated Retro Era flowers to a more natural and realistic depiction.
All of these lovely pieces come from the heirloom collection at Isadoras. Please stop by and visit us in-store or online to see more of our amazing antique jewelry.
This entry was posted in Jewelry History, Inspiration and tagged flowers, carved, movement, festoon necklace, works of art, language of love, florals, floral motif, Georgian, Isadoras, Earrings, Victorian, Retro, Isadoras Antique Jewelry, Art Deco on February 3, 2017 by Jill Schoenleber.
The Georgian Era spanned revolutions, the Rococo movement, and the Romantic era of art, literature, music, and intellectual thought. Marie Antoinette literally lost her head, Mozart was born and later died at the age of 35, George Washington became the first United States president, and Catherine the Great ruled Russia.
This era was a multi-faceted backdrop for travel, exploration, and the changing role of women in society. And as fashions changed, jewelry did too, transforming with the times and reflecting history.
The Georgian Era is considered to date from 1714-1835 and was aptly identified for the four English kings that ruled during this time, all named George. But when we think of the Georgian Era, we include what was happening across the globe - not only in Britain.
At Isadoras we are appreciative of each Georgian Era piece that we add to our curated antique collection, for we believe that the beauty and wonder of Georgian Era jewelry is truly special. These hard-to-find pieces are wonderful investment-worthy additions to your own heirloom collection.
A portrait of Marie Antoinette below, circa 1775, portrays the young queen at age twenty. On the right, just a few of Marie’s elegantly adorned shoes.
Jewelry during this era was painstakingly handcrafted using labor-intensive processes. Gold alloys were 18 karats and higher and had to be hammered into thin sheets before they could be used to make jewelry. It is no wonder that Georgian Era jewelry is famous for painstaking metal work that could only be executed by hand.
Most gemstones were placed in closed-back settings with a delicate foil background meant to enhance the gemstone’s brilliance in candlelight. For example, Madame Pompadour’s diamond parure was foiled with pale pink, green, and yellow, to tint the diamonds with a gentle hue. This is quintessential Georgian technology. And, because the foil is so delicate, these pieces are extremely fragile.
We caution our customers who wish to purchase Georgian foil-backed rings, that these antique pieces need a little extra care, and must be removed before hand washing or performing any strenuous activity that might harm the ring.
Common jewelry motifs at the time included flowers, ribbons, bows, and leaves.
But history dictated the jewelry design of the moment. From 1706 to 1814, Pompeii was under excavation and Neoclassical Roman and Greek motifs became popular, bringing the cameo back into fashion. After Halley’s Comet was seen in 1758, stylized comets became a popular motif.
Brooch design influenced by Halley’s Comet, circa 1835.
Jewelry styles were made for the time of day at which they should be worn.
During the day, women wore necklaces, chatelaines (attachment of a watch or keys to the wearer’s belt), a cameo or lace pin, small colored stone rings, and matching bracelets worn in pairs. Earrings could be any length.
One example of a daytime piece is the lovely 10KT gold Georgian Era quartz intaglio ring below.
Colored gems were usually considered appropriate for daytime wear – this included moss agate, moonstone, and the ever-popular garnet. It is interesting to note that gems had a much less refined appearance than they do today for the simple reason that the machinery used to create faceted stones had not yet been invented.
Trendsetter Empress Josephine, circa 1820. And below, a Georgian Era zircon and diamond ring. The accent diamonds on the shoulders of the ring are bead-set in platinum to highlight their sparkle.
Trade cards (business cards) were quite elaborate and detailed an artisan’s area of expertise.
Jewelry was expensive and time-consuming to make, so pieces were often designed to be convertible. For example, a necklace would become two bracelets. Post earrings worn during the day transformed to night-appropriate with the addition of a jeweled drop.
The magnificently piled-high hairstyles of the elite required jeweled adornments. Tiaras, coronets, bandeaus, and diadems were made in every motif, with a variety of colored gems and diamonds.
No matter what style or which jewelry piece was worn, it was of the utmost importance that the jewelry glitter and glisten in the warm candlelight. For this reason, iron and cut steel were popular materials; rose- and mine-cut diamonds were all the rage for evening wear. Silver was used to set highly-coveted diamonds off to their best advantage – these settings would often be augmented with gold for strength.
Georgian jewelry is very hard to find today. During this era, the parts of a ring were deemed more valuable than the entire piece, so it was common for a ring’s metal to be melted down and the stones removed to create a completely new piece.
Much of the jewelry surviving from this era is made from less expensive stones and therefore remains intact rather than being broken down for parts.
It is important to note that no hard line of demarcation separates one jewelry era from the next. Georgian Era jewelry elements and themes continued well into the Victorian Era. And like today, fads dictated change. The wealthy would often take their out-of-date jewelry pieces and have them redesigned to represent the latest fashion.
Voila! What is old, has become new again.
Enjoy our entire collection of Georgian jewelry online, or visit us in-store.
Below, are some of our favorite pieces from the Georgian Era.
Upper Left: Rare Georgian Diamond Ring
Upper Right: Antique Georgian Topaz Ring
Lower Left: Georgian Garnet Seed Pearl Ring
Lower Right: c. 1800 Enamel Seed Pearl Ring
Upper Left: Georgian Mourning Ring
Upper Right: Rare Georgian Mourning Ring
Lower Left: Georgian Rock Crystal Mourning Ring
Lower Right: Georgian Cut Steel Earrings
If you have any questions, you can reach our knowledgeable staff at 206.441.7711, or e-mail Isadoras Antique Jewelry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This entry was posted in Gemstones, Jewelry History, Inspiration and tagged empress josephine, marie antoinette, candlelight, heirloom collection, mourning, seed pearl, Georgian, antique jewelry, Victorian, Isadoras Antique Jewelry, Diamonds on July 15, 2016 by Jill Schoenleber.
We are looking forward to an amazing new year full of hopeful transformation and renewed beginnings!
Join us at Isadoras in celebrating January's birthstone, the vibrant garnet, which according to legend, has been regarded for centuries as a stone that ensures success and health, peace and tranquility.
Throughout the year, we receive many requests for heirloom garnet pieces. Our clients love the deep, vivid depths of this fiery scarlet gem, which pairs stunningly with gold or silver. The brilliance and warmth that infuses such revered beauty into each and every stone is absolutely captivating.
Garnets have been used in jewelry since the Bronze Age. Egyptians used garnets to craft beads and bracelets as early as 3100 BC. And in Greece between the reign of Alexander the Great and the conquest of Rome, garnets were used to make cameos.
The word garnet is derived from the Latin word granum, meaning “seed.” Garnet stones are often compared to the plump red seeds of the pomegranate – pomum granatum. Images of the ripe, bursting fruit always remind us of the beautiful cluster garnet necklaces of the late Victorian era.
At Isadoras, our current collection of exquisite heirloom jewelry features red garnet pieces from many different eras; each piece reflects the splendor and sophistication of the time period in which it was crafted.
C. 1870 Garnet Enamel Necklace
Top Left: Victorian Garnet Diamond Ring
Top Right: Victorian Austro-Hungarian Earrings
Bottom Left: Vintage Garnet Scorpion Pin
Bottom Right: Georgian Garnet Seed Pearl Ring
Top: Antique Garnet Necklace
Bottom Left: Georgian Garnet Diamond Ring
Bottom Right: Early Victorian Garnet Brooch
This entry was posted in Our Thoughts, Gemstones, Jewelry History, Inspiration and tagged beauty, Georgian, scarlet, fiery, garnet, collection, pieces, heirloom, brooch, necklace, ring, Victorian, Cameo on January 4, 2016 by Jill Schoenleber.
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