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 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.


  • 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

  • Gemstone Engagement Rings - Which Era Speaks to You?


    In our last blog, we explored beautiful diamond engagement rings from several historical eras.

    Now, let’s take a look at their equally-gorgeous gemstone counterparts.

    Antique gemstone rings are a wonderful way to take your engagement ring to the next level, by leveraging bold color with exceptional eye-catching design.


    Isadoras’ heirloom collection has grown considerably; we have recently added many fantastic vintage and antique pieces that articulate both incredible beauty and rich history. And we are especially excited about all the extraordinary gemstone rings sparkling with the possibility to represent true love.


    Below, we have highlighted an inspiring gemstone engagement ring selection that illustrates the characteristics of several eras, reflecting the design change of engagement rings over time.


    Which gemstone engagement ring calls to you?


    The Victorian Engagement Ring

    From the emerald-studded snake ring Prince Albert gave to Victoria, to the exquisite sapphire halo ring that Charles gave to Diana (and William gave to Kate), British history is famous for its royals proffering glorious gemstone engagement rings. And no rules applied – any gem was fair game. Rubies, emeralds, and sapphires – all accented with diamonds, were some of the favorites.

    victorian-gemstone-engagement-ring A20722 Victorian Sapphire & Diamond Ring


    The Edwardian Engagement Ring

    King Edward was known for an excessive lifestyle that hinged on his love of luxury. Almost overnight, the dark, heavy jewelry characterized by a Queen Victoria in mourning, was replaced with delicate and airy jewelry influenced by Asian motifs, the extravagance of Versailles, and the eighteenth century architecture of Paris.


    In 1910, colored gemstones came into fashion influenced by the Paris performance of Scheherazade by the Ballets Russes.

    edwardian-gemstone-engagement-ring A18665 French Ruby Diamond Ring


    The Art Deco Engagement Ring

    Rings of the Art Deco Era often featured a central cabochon-cut gemstone ornamented with diamonds and other stones.


    The strong desire to present the antithesis of Art Nouveau’s flowing, organic designs was a response to the influence of modern art coupled with industry. Now jewelry featured geometric lines and shapes that were oftentimes described as “Cubist.”


    In the ring below, note the angled planes of the faceted sapphires accenting the central cabochon. 

    art-deco-gemstone-engagement-ring IK0706 Sapphire & Diamond Filigree Ring


    The Retro Era Engagement Ring

    During the Retro Era, jewelry was often the chief decorative motif in women’s fashion.


    Influenced by Hollywood glamour, Retro Era jewelers created massive, bold, three-dimensional designs featuring angles and geometry that reflected a glorification of the machine.


    Designed using uncommon shapes and two-tone metals, the resulting Retro Era rings were wildly unusual, beautiful, and magnificent. 

    retro-gemstone-engagement-ring CE0141 Retro Ruby Diamond Ring


    The Midcentury Engagement Ring

     After World War II, the middle class was rising, and with their economic prosperity came the desire to brandish their wealth with the adulation of gemstones.


    Jewelry motifs from the 1940s still played a strong role, but the style had changed. The heavy-handed industrialist design language of the Retro Era had disappeared. Now, jewelry was lighter, more delicate, and flush with yellow gold.

    midcentury-gemstone-engagement-ring IK0724 Midcentury Yellow Sapphire Ring with Diamonds


    The Classic Engagement Ring

    Post midcentury, the solitaire became popular a popular engagement ring because it showcased the central stone’s brilliance to its best advantage.


    Replace the diamond with a striking gemstone and you have a fantastic salute to color and charisma!

    classic-gemstone-engagement-ring IK0737 Vintage Tourmaline & Diamond Ring


    Which Era Are You?


    Each era brings a unique perspective to engagement ring design, which is always affected by history, art, and fashion. 


    Which era gemstone engagement ring resonates with you?


    The charm of the Victorian sapphire and diamond ring?


    The romantic femininity of the Edwardian ruby halo ring?


    Do you find yourself drawn to the geometric, modernist quality of the deep blue cabochon-cut sapphire Art Deco ring?  


    Maybe the deliberate boldness of the Retro ring, accented with diamonds and rubies?


    Or the midcentury citrine - lovely, yet scintillating?


    Or do you see yourself as someone who truly adores a classic, and would love to show off a large emerald-cut stone? (We would!!)


    Isadoras carries an expansive collection of antique and vintage engagement rings that represent over 100 years of jewelry design and artisanship.


    Visit us in-store, or view online to experience our full gemstone engagement ring collection and fall in love with the ring that resonates with you.


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