Isadoras antique jewelry


  • The Floral Motif in Antique Jewelry - A Language of Love



    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 Isadoras 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.


  • August Birthstones: Peridot & Sardonyx


    The two August birthstones – grassy green peridot and earthy sardonyx – represent August as a month luxuriating in the bloom of summer, yet waiting on bated breath for fall’s first frost.


    If you were born in August, you are lucky to celebrate your birthday in one of the loveliest transitional months of the year.


    Peridot, or what the Egyptians called the “gem of the sun,” is a yellow-greenish transparent gemstone formed within the cooling magma of active volcanoes. 

    For Hawaiians, peridot is the manifestation of the tears of Pele, the jealous and powerful goddess whose domain encompasses all volcanic activity on the Big Island of Hawaii.


    Peridot, beautiful and affordable, comes in a range of sizes and cuts; it is the perfect stone to partner with other gems. The majority of stones are yellow-greenish; higher-quality stones have a more intense green hue.



    Peridot as a UFO?!

    In 2005, peridot was discovered in comet dust retrieved by the Stardust space probe. Peridot crystals have also been found in meteorites; some of these crystals have been large enough to cut into faceted gemstones (FYI, this makes the Star Trek nerd in each of us very happy).


    While peridot is known to project an aura of stellar mystery, sardonyx is a down-to-earth form of banded agate that has been used for centuries to depict the profiles of gods, royalty, and the everyday man and woman.


    Sard is a form of onyx (onyx has parallel bands, while agate has curved bands) with a reddish-brown base and an upper white layer.


    This pair of Victorian intaglio sardonyx earrings is a perfect example of the contrast between light and dark, foreground and background.


    Cameos are fascinating and the sardonyx Blancas Cameo, circa 14, is no exception. This cameo depicts the Roman Emperor Augustus shortly after his death. Augustus is always depicted as a young man – quite an idealized version compared to reality. (The royal diadem he wears around his head may be an addition from medieval times.) Notice the medusa head on his shield.



    Sardonyx was believed to promote mental acuity, optimism, oratory skills, and robust health. It was said to attract friends and bring lasting happiness to partnerships.


    Both sardonyx and peridot are intriguing gems that we are happy to offer in our heirloom collection at Isadoras.


    Below are some of our favorite August birthstone pieces.


    Upper Left:  Fine Estate Peridot Diamond Ring

    Upper Right:  Peridot & Seed Pearl Necklace

    Bottom:  Edwardian 9KT Gold & Peridot Bracelet



    Upper Left:  Sardonyx Intaglio 18KT Ring

    Upper Right:  Antique French Sardonyx Ring

    Lower Left:  Victorian Shield-Shaped Sardonyx Ring

    Lower Right:  Vintage Sardonyx 9KT Ring

    If you have any questions, you can reach our knowledgeable staff at 206.441.7711, or e-mail Isadoras Antique Jewelry at

  • July's Birthstone: The Ruby



    July’s birthstone has enchanted us for decades, from the first red gemstones mined in Burma to Dorothy’s scarlet slippers. The ruby is one-of-kind; glamorous, adventurous, and truly spectacular.


    Happy Birthday to those of you who were lucky to be born in the lovely month of July!!


    The ruby’s history is rich and romantic – this claret-colored stone has long been a symbol for love and protection. It has been said that the ruby’s warm glow comes from an internal flame that cannot be extinguished, making this stone a symbol of everlasting devotion -  the perfect engagement gem!



    Isadoras heirloom collection is home to a wide variety of amazing vintage and antique ruby jewelry. Rubies make a wonderful choice for a non-traditional engagement ring or wedding ring.

    Stack ruby anniversary rings with ruby-accented rings for a radiant effect.



    Valued for durability, luster, and rarity, large translucent rubies are even more precious than diamonds. Rubies can elicit the highest price per carat of any colored gemstone, which makes them one of the most important stones in the colored gem market.


    A ruby’s value is determined by its hue - the darker the stone, the higher the price.


    However, it should be noted that a ruby is actually pinker than a garnet. If a ruby does not meet the minimum for color saturation, the stone is classified as a pink sapphire.


    The value of a ruby is also determined by clarity; similar to diamonds, clear stones with no inclusions are worth more.


    The ruby earrings below sparkle with diamond halos. While luxurious and decadent, rubies are incredibly hard (only diamonds are harder) and therefore an easy stone to wear every day.


    Ruby jewelry should be cleaned using a soft toothbrush and warm soapy water or Windex. Dry with a very soft, clean cloth.


    For fun, we listed several ruby rings that garnered millions at auction.

    The Jubilee Ruby (upper left), a 15.99 carat Burmese ruby sold for over $14 million at auction.

    The world’s most expensive ruby, the 25.59 carat Sunrise Ruby (upper right) sold for $30.3 million at auction.

    Elizabeth Taylor’s 8.24 ruby ring (lower right) was given to her by Richard Burton as a Christmas present. Burton claimed it was “the perfect ruby.”  And indeed, this lovely ring fetched a pretty price at auction - the ring was estimated to be worth $1 to $1.5 million, but was sold for over $4 million.

    The Hope Ruby (lower left), a 32.08 carat Burmese ruby and diamond ring by Chaumet, sold for $6.7 million. All the proceeds went to charitable institutions.

    most expensive ruby rings

    Rubies are stunning, fantastic and never fail to astound us with their sheer beauty. 

    Enjoy our heirloom collection online, or visit us in-store. 

    In the meantime, we have highlighted a few of our favorite ruby pieces below.



    Upper Left: Edwardian Necklace

    Upper Right:  Edwardian Ring

    Lower Left:  Edwardian Ring

    Lower Right:  Vintage Engagement Ring



    Upper Left:  French Ring

    Upper Right:  Vintage Eternity Band

    Lower Left:  1940s Wedding Band

    Lower Right:  Victorian Ring


    If you have any questions, you can reach our knowledgeable staff at 206.441.7711, or e-mail Isadoras Antique Jewelry at

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