Diamonds are a girls best friend

14 July 2019

Collecting Antique Jewellery

Marilyn Monroe hit the nail on the head with the words ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ however experience has led me to realise that most girls are happy to include rubies, sapphires, emeralds….the list goes on!

With Christmas on the horizon the gift of an antique or vintage piece of jewellery is the opportunity to give something with history as well as romance and the enduring quality of an antique piece only adds to the beauty of the item itself.

Centuries of style…

Every era has its own language and style that can be identified quite quickly. With a little homework you can soon familiarise yourself with each periods shape, style and form.

Georgian - pieces of this period were highly influenced by the Classical revival during Napoleon's First Empire; the delicate dresses and low necklines of the day were complemented by chandelier earrings, Riviera necklaces and feminine floral spray brooches.

Victorian – Jewels of the later 19th century are encrypted with hidden sentimental messages of love and romance with motifs like hearts, bows and flowers. The language of stones became hugely popular, an example being – Diamond, Emerald, Amethyst, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, Topaz, each first letter being used to spell the word DEAREST.

Art Nouveau - Jewellery is characterized by natural motifs like flowers, butterflies and dragonflies often created from translucent gemstones like moonstones and opals teamed with subtle enamels.

Edwardian – At the start of the 20th Century the trend moved towards white gold and platinum often studded with diamonds and pearls to create delicate pendants, floral garlands or striking crescents.

Art Deco Pieces of this period are instantly recognizable with their streamlined or geometric forms. Show and sophistication were key with large bright diamonds highlighted with rubies or emeralds, think style, glamour and of course Hollywood!

Post War - From the Forties through to the early Sixties, floral forms became the key accent in ladies jewellery with large sprays of stone set flowers. Rings also developed on from the Art Deco style with large dressy cocktail rings in bright gold with dramatic settings of mixed stones.   While periods are key to some collectors others prefer to collect by theme. If you love nature you can soon assemble a stunning collection of jewelled flowers, birds or butterflies.

For those with a romantic nature, jewellery featuring hearts and bows (symbolic of love and marriage) are found throughout nearly all eras. You could also concentrate on a certain technique such as enamelled jewellery or of course the classic cameo.

Birthstones are also key to many as they create a direct link between the piece and the owner.

So next time you think about buying or investing in a new little gem just take a look at what can be found outside your usual comfort zone.

 

Posted in: Auction life

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Alison Snowdon
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