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 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.


  • Baroque Engagement


    The Baroque Art Movement thrived on exaggerated movement and complex details to provide an emotional experience. 


    Baroque fashion has taken cues from the lush, lavish opulence epitomized by the eighteenth century French queen Marie Antoinette – overflowing florals, exquisitely detailed fabrics, and stunning antique ornamental jewels - all combined to create an extravagant effect.


    baroque-bride-dressSince antique jewelry organically mimics both artistic and fashion influences of an era, we pulled together some of the most gorgeous baroque pieces from Isadoras’ heirloom collection to celebrate the Baroque Bride’s engagement.



    The Baroque Bride...


    She shimmers, adorned with antique diamonds hand-cut to catch candlelight, set in luxuriant gold. For added affect, she might choose gemstones, foiled to add depth and shine, fringed by tiny dollops of seed pearls.




    She adores the grace of an antique French gold chain or golden glow of a citrine drop necklace – pieces that will warm the curve of her neck, and delicately frame her décolletage.




    She treasures a statement pendant. She gravitates toward the stately and dramatic – intricate, yet sumptuous. Not only does a Victorian Era pendant command attention, it accentuates the gorgeous glamour she radiates.




    She does not forget the earrings. With her hair swept up, drop earrings are a must. The frothy filigree lace of her gown holds a delicate blush of color – a subdued canvas that brandishes her earrings to great advantage.


    Isadoras carries authentic antique and vintage pieces in styles from many different eras. Whether you are planning a baroque engagement, or simply want to add a stunning piece to your own heirloom collection, we would love to assist you.

    Visit Isadoras in the Pike Place Market, or explore our collection online.

  • 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

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