Isadoras antique jewelry

Jewelry History

  • 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 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.


  • The Vienna Secession


    The Vienna Secession was a school of cross-disciplinary artists and thinkers passionate about creating an aesthetic and philosophical vocabulary in response to the rapid industrialization of 1890s Europe.



    Inspired by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement in England, and the Nouveau movement in France, there was great emphasis placed on creating handmade art.



    Unlike most design movements, the Vienna Secession does not have a distinct defining characteristic, since its members were mainly concerned with pushing the boundaries of art.



    That being said, many of the jewelry pieces produced were textural, with asymmetrical elements, intersected by a strong use of moving line. 

    vienna-secession-jewelry-pieces Vienna Secession Jewelry


    The term Gesamtkunstwerk meaning “a total work of art” was considered a core aspect of the Vienna Secession’s philosophy, integrating all arts into a way of life.



    Japanese design can be seen as an influence in this work, as well as in many golden age movements at the turn of the 19th century. Of its famous members were artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

    egon-schiele Painting by Egon Schiele

    This time period was a hotbed of revolutionary thinking, as progressive ideologies rebelled against the conservatism of the past.



    The turn of the 19th century brought a sense of modernism that has yet to abate today, and the Vienna Secession was no different. This interesting historical juxtaposition was developed as a reaction to industrialization, yet encapsulated modern thinking.



    Ultimately their goal was to create a life immersed in all aspects of their aesthetic philosophy be that architecture, art, or adornment.



    Vienna Secession jewelry reminds us of that historical leap into futurism, albeit in the most creative and bohemian way.



    Jewelry of this movement is extremely hard to find, and is a delightfully rare addition to any collection. Often we see designs that are textural yet asymmetrical, challenging the eye to experience something new. Each piece is made with love and imagination, encapsulating a precious moment of innovation in history.



    Seen below wearing Vienna Secession jewelry is Emilie Floge, the partner and muse to Klimt, yet a talented couturier in her own right.

    emilie-floge Emilie Floge

  • A Timeless Treasure - The Vintage Halo Ring



    While the halo engagement ring is SO now, it is also SO then.

    So, what is it about the halo-style ring that has allowed it to withstand the test of time?

    Simple. The focus is the center stone.


    The halo concept was created to accentuate the central diamond by encircling it with smaller stones all of the same size. Often you will see that the halo is physically separated from the central stone by a sliver of space.

    art-deco-halo-ring-instagram Circa 1920s Diamond Halo Ring, IK0688


    In this way, the halo ring embodies the ideology that we cannot have light without the dark, or dark without the light – for it is the dark space between the halo and the center diamond that defines the stone’s light and allows it to brilliantly shine.


    In the Victorian ring below, the dark is literally defined by a ring of black onyx. This demarcation allows for the central stone to shine, and intensifies the brilliance of the halo diamonds

    halo-ring-with-onyx Diamond Cluster Ring with Onyx Halo, IK0651


    Each antique raw diamond held a unique opportunity, and was approached thoughtfully by talented artisans.

    The stone was most likely cut by a human hand and reflects the artist who created the facets and decided upon the setting – because of this, antique and vintage diamonds are not cookie-cutter perfect – and this is the very reason why they are undeniably special and exhibit a one-of-a-kind character and personality.

    cluster-ring-instagram Victorian Diamond Cluster Ring, A21638


    The consummate halo-style ring was originally introduced in the 1920s. Over previous decades, jewelers had handed their knowledge down from generation to generation, and by the Art Deco Era had established a high level of workmanship that produced deliberate, finely crafted details.


    The negative inner space around the halo immediately draws your eye to the center diamond of the below Art Deco Era ring.

    IK0687-halo-ring-on-hand Art Deco Diamond Halo Ring, IK0687


    Contemporary halo-style engagement rings almost always surround the center diamond with the typical wreath of pave-set diamonds, and there are no individualistic details that allow these pieces to stand out in a crowd.


    So, let’s take a look at antique and vintage halo-style rings through the ages, pieces that exhibit both the beautiful craftsmanship and the exquisite detailing lacking in modern rings.


    Victorian Era

    In the Victorian Era, diamond cluster rings were popular and these pieces typically featured a central diamond encircled by a tight cluster of smaller, or similarly-sized diamonds, in yellow gold, rose gold, or silver-topped gold settings. Diamond cluster rings were much more modest in price than the classic diamond solitaire (the solitaire fork-mount was introduced in 1886 by Charles Louis Tiffany).

    victorian-cluster-ring Victorian Diamond Cluster Ring, A21638


    Edwardian Era

    This Edwardian ring has moved toward the traditional halo style – the design is more airy and light, conjuring the feeling of delicacy that was prevalent in jewelry of this era.

    edwardian-halo-ring Circa 1910 Diamond Halo Ring, IK0660


    Art Deco Era

    The Art Deco Era is the birthplace of the halo-style ring. Diamonds became popular for use as a center stone. Platinum or white gold settings promoted the brilliance of the diamonds. New diamonds cuts were introduced – the baguette was one, and offered a geometric look that characterized Art Deco design.

    art-deco-halo-ring Art Deco Diamond Halo Ring, IK0687


    Retro & Midcentury Eras

    Retro and Midcentury Eras saw a resurgence in the popularity of the diamond halo ring and large diamond cluster rings.

    The halo engagement ring resurfaced in popularity in the 1980s, then again just decades later.

    midcentury-halo-ring Midcentury Platinum & Diamond Halo Ring, IK0654


    Today, modern halo-style rings have saturated the engagement ring market, and some of the pieces are even labeled with the unconvincing moniker “vintage style.”


    Authentic vintage and antique halo rings exhibit a character and artistry that will accent your personality in a unique way in which contemporary pieces cannot begin to compare.


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

Items 1 to 3 of 70 total

page 1 of 24