This timeline is a result of the generous contribution of Christie Romero and Barbara Talbott of their 'Collectors Timeline' to the AJU. The content of this timeline is subject to their copyright.


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Prehistory and Ancient History

Year General History Discoveries & Jewelry History
Circa 110.000 BC
  • Archaeological finds in Morocco tell us that shell beads were used as decorative objects; the oldest jewelry known to man. They may have served as amulets
Circa 98.000 BC
  • Purposely drilled shells from Israel and Algeria
Circa 73.000 BC
  • Purposely drilled shells from South Africa
Circa 38.000 BC
  • Animal teeth and bone beads found in France
Circa 28.000 BC
  • Fossil shell and ivory beads found in Czech Republic region (East Gravettian culture)
Circa 4400 BC
  • Badarian culture in Egypt (c. 4500BC to 3250BC). Domestication of animals. Sedentary settlements. Social differentiation by burying prominent people in different areas of cemeteries.
  • invention of the wheel (circa 5000BC), presumably first for pottery purposes
  • The ancient Thracian civilization produces the oldest worked-gold objects. They were discovered at a burial site in Varna, Bulgaria.
Circa 4000 BC
  • Uruk Period in Sumer (4100BC-2900BC)
Alluvial gold a.k.a.jpg
  • Badarian Culture in Egypt starts using alluvial gold and manufactures glazed steatite beads
Circa 3600 BC
  • Naqada culture in Southern Egypt import obsidian from Ethiopia for tools. Jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory. The Naqada culture starts using symbols.
  • Nephrite jade used for weapons and ornaments in China
Circa 3500 BC
  • First Cuneiform script in Sumer followed by the Naqada culture starting to use symbols (3300BC) that will evolve into the Egyptian hieroglyphs
  • Ancient faience found in Nile Valley
Circa 3200 BC
  • Dynastic period in Egypt; King Meni unifies Upper and Lower Egypt
Circa 3000 BC
  • Dynastic periods in Sumer (2900BC-2334BC), Early Bronze Age in Sumer
Circa 2800 BC
  • First known instance of glass production in Syria
Circa 2700 BC
Circa 2500 BC
  • Bronze Age on Crete; Minoan civilisation's uprise
  • Great pyramid of Gizeh (2560 BC) built
Circa 2000 BC
  • Minoan goldsmiths use foilbacked stones in their jewelry
Circa 1895 BC
  • Rise of Babylon in Sumer
  • Earliest known examples of granulation from Egypt in jewelry of Khnumet (12th Dyanasty)
Circa 1500 BC
  • Jet is mined in England
  • Glass begins to be shaped while molten (previously worked as solid, like stone)
  • Art of lost wax casting developed in Near East
  • Jadeite in use by the Olmecs of Mexico
Circa 1230 BC
  • Earliest known examples of true cloisonné enamel (Mycenaean)
  • Chavín culture in Peru using sheet gold (until 300BC)
Circa 100 BC
  • Phoenician sailors establish a trading network throughout the Mediterranian
  • The ancient Greeks start making intaglios and cameos, the glyptography techniques spread to the east due to Alexander the Great's conquests (4th century BC)
  • Iron hand tools – e.g., chisels, saws, awls, hammers, pliers – invented during the early Iron Age
Circa 800 BC
  • Etruscan civilisation established in modern day Tuscany
  • Diamonds known in India, exported 300-400 BC
Circa 700 BC
Etruscan fibula2.JPG
  • Etruscans bury the ashes of their their dead with grave gifts, Fibulas and armillas are amongst them
  • Sapphires used by Etruscans
  • Earliest use of beaded wire; linked chains forming “straps” found in Nimrud (Iraq)
Circa 600 BC
  • First electrum coins used in Lydia (Anatolia, Turkey)
  • Amber used by the Etruscans
Circa 300 BC
  • Alexander the Great conquest into Asia, the Arabic Peninsula and Egypt (334BC - 323BC)
  • First documented use of red garnets and emeralds by Greeks
  • Greek Theophrastus (c.372-287 BC) compiles oldest surviving mineralogy text
  • Fibulas are worn by Romans
  • Armillas are given to Roman soldiers as a military decoration
Circa 200 BC
  • Peridot mined on island of Zabargad (Red Sea)
  • Tourmaline curvette cameo of Alexander the Great, originating in India, carved 3rd or 2nd C BC
  • Clay furnaces and blowpipes used to cast gold, alloy it with silver in Peru and Ecuador
Circa 100 BC
Red spinel.jpg
  • Earliest ornamental use of red spinel in Kabul Afghanistan, also used by Romans; blue spinel found in England in Roman period, 51 BC-400 AD
Blue spinel.jpg
Circa 50 BC
  • Julius Ceasar completes his conquest of Europe to the Rhine (Alesia, 52 v.Chr)
  • Octavian (later: Emperor Augustus) conqueres Egypt (Battle of Actium, 30BC)
79 AD
  • The Vesuvius eruption
  • Pompeii and Herculaneum are buried in ashes and debris, Pliny the Elder dies, being be too close of a witness of the eruption
Circa 100 AD
  • Earliest known champlevé enamels, from Sudan
  • Cat’s eye chrysoberyl known in Rome, forgotten in the West until end of 19th C
  • Venice becomes center for glass-making, exports imitation gems (10AD-1100AD)
  • South American Indians in Chocó region mine and work platinum (first 3 centuries AD)
  • Diamonds as octahedra (natural crystals) mounted in Roman rings (through 3rd century AD)

Middle Ages

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
Circa 400
  • Germanic tribes invade the Roman Empire, the Migration period starts
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian takes up laws regulating the wearing and usage of jewelry in a new set of laws, later to be called the Justinian Code
  • The prophet Muhammad is born, by the end of his life in 632 a large Islamic state has been established
Circa 600
  • Earliest evidence of metal drawplate usage in the Western world
  • King Raedwald of East Anglia receives a burial at Sutton Hoo with extraordinary jewelry by his side.
Circa 800
  • Charles the Great is crowned Emperor
  • Mining of red spinel begins in Badakshan, Afghanistan between 750 and 950 AD
  • Cloisonné enamel finds its way into the workshops of Byzantine goldsmiths
  • In choosing a court style Charles picks the Romanesque style after Byzantine example
  • The first crusade is launched
  • The loot of the first crusade containing incredible amounts of precious stones and gold is transported from the Holy Land to Northern Europe
  • A distinct Arabic style emerges in jewelry of the Islamic world
Circa 1100
  • Chinese originate the concept of pearl culturing (1100-1300?)
Circa 1140
  • The Gothic period in art history starts (lasts until the 16th century)
  • The goldsmiths of London start a guild
  • Laws regulating the wearing of jewelry are instated in Aragon
A-jour box 160-1-422c.jpg
  • The Gothic style starts to influence jewelry
  • French laws regulatic the wearing of jewelry are instated (1283)
Basse taille enamel.jpg
  • Earliest evidence of diamond cutting (the point cut) in Venice
Point cut.jpg
Charlesthe bold2.JPG
  • Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy is born (dies 1477). He is believed to have owned the Florentine Diamond
  • The table cut for diamonds is introduced (c.)
Table cut.PNG
French cut 3.JPG
  • The first French cut diamonds are cut during the 15th century
  • Leonardo da Vinci designs a rolling mill


General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
Full rose.jpg
  • Probierbüchlein (Little Book of Assays) published, becomes important guide to assaying of metals
  • Spanish conquistadores send Colombian emeralds back to Spain
  • Spanish conquistadores find platinum in South America
  • First European lab for smelting ores to test for gold
  • Silver found in the New World on Roanoke Island, VA; settlement evacuated 1586
Beau Sancy2.jpg
  • The Beau Sancy diamond is first mentioned in history
  • Colorless zircons mined in France
Circa 1600


General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • The Tower (London) records from this year show the Sancy Diamond being purchased by King James I of Britain
  • First record of goldstone (aventurine glass) in Murano Italy
  • Earliest known use of silver-topped yellow gold for diamonds
Great Mogul.jpg
  • Mary Stuart is born, later the Queen of England, Mary II, the first documented owner of the Holland diamond
  • Flint glass (high lead content) developed by Englishman George Ravenscroft
  • Huguenots leave France, massive emigration of craftsmen to the Netherlands, Austria, Germany and England
Peruzzi cut.PNG
  • The Peruzzi cut, early version of 58-facet (square) brilliant, is developed

Georgian Period

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • Christopher Pinchbeck develops an alloy of copper and zinc
Dresden Green Diamond black.png
  • The Dresden Green (world’s largest green diamond) first reported in “The London Post Boy”
  • Georges Frédéric Strass becomes famous for paste jewelry (c.)
  • Topaz discovered in Minas Gerais (c.)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is born in Germany (dies in 1832)
  • Roman Vincent Jeuffroy is born in France (dies in 1826)
  • George III becomes King of Britain
Paul Revere.JPG
  • American goldsmith Paul Revere begins making jewelry (c.)
  • Lava cameos carved in Italy for tourists visiting Pompeii ruins
  • James Tassie develops vitreous glass paste for 'cameos'
  • Josiah Wedgwood introduces fine ceramic known as jasperware in plaques with relief decoration resembling cameos, mounted in cut steel, manufactured by Matthew Boulton beginning in 1773
  • Die stamping machine patented by John Pickering, adapted for inexpensive jewelry in 1777
  • Louis XVI becomes king of France
  • American Revolution begins, Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, 1776
  • “Caesar’s Ruby” (carved rubellite tourmaline) presented to Catherine the Great of Russia
  • Azim-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Arcot presents Queen Charlotte of Britain a gift: five diamonds of which two are the Arcots
  • Burmese jadeite imported into China
  • William Asprey establishes Asprey
  • French scientist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier succeeds in melting platinum from it's ore using pure oxygen
  • Spinel first recognized as a distinct mineral
  • Marc Étienne Janety, goldsmith to Louis XVI of France, crafts a sugar bowl out of platinum
  • French Revolution begins, ends 1799
  • George Washington, elected first President of the USA. He dies in 1799.
  • Chrysoberyl identified as mineral species by German geologist A. G. Werner
  • Brazilian chrysoberyls in Portuguese jewelry, last ½ 18th C
  • Titanium discovered by British clergyman Wm. Gregor, isolated 1910
  • Seril Dodge of Providence, RI, advertises offering of jewelry items made to order, sells business to half-brother Nehemiah. 1796
  • Diamonds begin to be set 'à jour' (c.)
  • Napoleonic Wars. They end in 1815
  • Amethysts discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia
  • Thomas Jefferson elected President of the USA
  • Jem Belcher wins his national boxing title
  • Alessandro Volta invents the first battery, the Volta Pile
  • Wollaston & Smithson Tennant begin collaboration, create commercial grade platinum, they discover platinum family of metals: palladium and rhodium in 1802; iridium and osmium, 1803
  • Robert Hare of Philadelphia invents oxyhydrogen ('gas') blowpipe
  • Recognition of tourmaline “family”
  • Niobium discovered by British chemist Charles Hatchett
  • E. Hinsdale establishes first American factory for the manufacture of fine jewelry in Newark, NJ
  • Napoleon crowns himself Emperor of France
  • George III declared insane; Regency Period begins in Britain
  • 1812-1815 War between Great Britain and the USA
  • 1813-1815 Prussian War of Liberation against Napoleon
Berlin iron.JPG
  • Berlin iron jewelry made in Germany as patriotic gesture during War of Liberation: "ich gab gold für Eisen" (I gave gold for iron)
  • Kingdom of France (Bourbon Dynasty) restored, Louis XVII becomes King
Etruscan baule2.JPG
  • Fortunato Pio Castellani established workshop in Rome, begins study of granulation in ancient gold work in 1827
  • George III of Great Britain dies, George IV becomes king
  • Platinum discovered in Russian Ural mountains
  • Ancient gold work discovered in Etruscan excavations
  • Tourmalines discovered in Maine, mines opened from 1822 (c.)
Charles X of France.JPG
  • Charles X becomes king of France
  • Pin making machine for straight pins patented in England by L.W. Wright, by J. Howe in the USA in 1832
  • Andrew Jackson elected President of the USA
  • Louis-Philippe I becomes king of France
  • George IV of Great Britain dies, William IV becomes king
  • Indian Rubber elastic first appears in Women's clothing
  • Emerald discovered in Ural Mountains, an important source of emeralds in Europe in the 19th century
  • Alexandrite discovered in Ural Mountains in an emerald mine, named after Czar Alexander II
  • Edmund Davey discovers and identifies acetylene
  • USA Patent Act passed. U.S. Patent office issues Patent Number 1

Early Victorian (Romantic) Period

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • Victoria becomes Queen of Great Britain
  • Louis J.M. Daguerre perfects daguerreotype photographic process
  • The telegraph is patented by Cooke and Wheatstone, improved by Samuel Morse, first message sent 1844
  • Enameled garter armlet made for Queen Victoria; Order of the Garter strap and buckle motifs become popular
  • Charles Lewis Tiffany founds company in New York City; becomes Tiffany & Co. in 1853
  • Falize opens up shop in Paris
  • Charles Goodyear invents and patents (1844) vulcanized rubber; displays products at Crystal Palace in 1851
Prince Albert.jpg
  • Electroplating commercialized, patented by Elkingtons of Birmingham. Large scale jewelry manufacturing begins in the USA
  • Process for permanently foiled pastes discovered
  • Steam power first used for diamond cutting in Amsterdam
  • Repoussé and machine stamping replace cannetille (c.)
  • Scottish motifs in 'pebble' (agate) jewelry popularized, continuing through the rest of the century
  • Algerian Knot Motif introduced in Paris
  • Duty on imported jewelry and mounted gemstones levied by USA
Gutta Percha.jpg
  • Gutta-percha introduced in Paris
  • Excavations of ancient Assyrian capital of Nineveh begin
  • Garrard becomes British Crown Jeweler
  • Riker, Tay & Searing founded in Newark, NJ, become Riker Bros. in 1892
  • Gold discovered in California
  • Thomas H Lowe of Birmingham introduces rolled gold plating process (a.k.a. gold filled) to Providence, RI, manufacturers
California Clipper 500-edit.jpg
  • The safety pin invented and patented by W. Hunt
  • Gold electroplating patented
  • Opals first discovered in Australia, the first with play of color in 1863
  • High tariff placed on foreign goods imported into the USA
  • Tube shaped ('trombone') safety catch patented by Charles Rowley of Birmingham, England
  • Brooches with swiveling compartments introduced (c.)
  • Garnet-glass doublets first introduced (c.)
  • First international exhibition, the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held at the Crystal palace in London
  • Louis Napoleon becomes Napoleon III, beginning of the French Second Empire
  • Machine for heat-pressing bog oak patented
  • Tiffany & Co. introduces the English sterling standard to the USA
  • Commodore Matthew Perry sails the American fleet into Japan; opens East-West trade relations
  • Crystal Palace exhibition held in New York, modeled after London Exhibition
Bloomed Gold.jpg
  • Results of first commercially successful aluminum reduction process published by Henri Ste. Claire Deville
  • Samuel Peck’s patent for shellac composition daguerreotype cases
  • Use of 15-, 12-, and 9-karat gold made legal in England
  • Paris Exposition Universelle, aluminum articles first exhibited
  • R.W. Bunsen begins using gas-air burner that is his namesake
  • Patents for Bois durci, Parkesine and artificial coral issued
  • Theodor Fahrner founds jewelry factory in Pforzheim, Germany
  • First aluminum jewelry made in France (c.)
  • Wm. Perkin accidentally discovers the first synthetic aniline (coal-tar) dye, mauve
  • Financial 'Panic of 1857' affects all of U.S. industries
  • Furnace to melt platinum and it's alloys developed by Henri Ste. Clair Deville
  • Snake chain making machine patented in the USA
  • First attempted laying of a transatlantic cable
Frederick Boucheron.JPG
  • Construction of the Suez Canal begins
  • Comstock Lode silver discovered in Nevada
  • Jewels of Queen Ah-Hotep of Egypt discovered
  • First attempt at organized jewelers' union in USA, not successful until 1900 (International Jewelry Workers Union of America)
  • English patent for machine to manufacture stamped settings (collets) for stones granted to Frenchmen Bouret and Ferré

Mid Victorian (Grand) Period

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • Fortunato Pio Castellani turns business over to son Augusto
  • Wearing of (black) mourning jewelry required at British court until circa 1880
  • International Exhibition held in London
  • Japanese decorative arts exhibited for the first time in the West
  • Edward, Prince of Wales, marries Alexandra of Denmark
Exposition Universelle 1867.jpg
  • Paris International Exhibition
  • First authenticated diamond, the 'Eureka', discovered in South Africa
  • Egyptian Revival jewelry exhibited at Paris Exposition, John Brogden wins gold medal for his jewelry
432px-John Brogden00 copy.jpg
  • Celluloid, the first successful semi-synthetic thermoplastic, invented in USA by John Wesley Hyatt; commercial production begins in 1873
  • Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, RI, adopts sterling standard of 925 parts per thousand
  • First transcontinental railroad from Omaha to San Francisco
  • Suez Canal opened
631px-Canal de Suez.jpg
  • Diamond Rush begins in South Africa with the discovery of the Star of Africa
  • Henry D. Morse cuts the Dewey Diamond, largest found in America to date (23,75ct, cut to 11,70 ct)
  • American Horological Journal first published, merges with The Jewelers' Circular to become The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review
  • Fall of the French Empire
  • Start of a recession in Europe that lasts throughout the decade
  • Diamonds discovered in Kimberley, South Africa
  • Japanese craftsmen introduce metal-working techniques and designs to the West
  • Influx of European craftsmen and designers into the USA
  • Peter Carl Fabergé takes over father's business
  • Jewelers' Circular founded, first issue published February 15
  • International Exhibition held in London
  • Opals discovered in Queensland, Australia
  • Ferdinand J Herpers of Newark, NJ, patents six prong setting for diamond, introduced as the Tiffany setting by Tiffany & Co. in 1886
  • Celluloid commercial production begins; trade name registered, 1873
Rotunde Weltausstellung 1873.jpg
  • Universal Exhibition held in Vienna
  • Henry D. Morse and Charles M. Field obtain British and U.S. (1874, 1876) patents for steam-driven bruting (diamond cutting) machines
  • Deadwood, Dakota
  • Gold discovered in Black Hills of Dakota Territory
  • Patents for artificial coral, tortoiseshell, amber, jet (celluloid)
Giuliano peridot pendantsmall.jpg
  • Arthur Lazenby Liberty founds Liberty & Co. of London
  • The Celluloid Mfg. Co. begins jewelry production in Newark, NJ
  • Centennial Exposition held in Philadelphia
  • Wearing of swords banned in Japan
  • Queen Victoria becomes Empress of India
Bell Speaking into Telephone.jpg
  • Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone
Victorian Amphora Necklace.jpg
  • Alessandro Castellani presents and lectures on Etruscan revival jewelry at Centennial Exposition
  • Advent of bottled oxygen (liquefied and compressed)
  • Successful experiments with chemical manufacture of very small rubies and sapphires in Paris, published by Frémy
  • Aucoc buys Parisian firm 'Lobjois' and changes it's name to 'La Maison Aucoc'
Exposition Paris 1878.jpg
  • Paris exposition Universelle
  • Patent for platinum-tipped prongs for setting diamonds
  • earring covers for diamond earrings patented
  • Tiffany diamond discovered in South Africa
  • Tiffany & Co. awarded gold medal for encrusted metals technique in the Japanesque style at Paris Exhibition
  • Unger Bros. of Newark, NJ, begins the manufacture of silver jewelry
Light bulb.png
  • T.A. Edison patents incandescent light bulb
  • Hiddenite, green variety of spodumene, found in North Carolina, USA
  • Rational Dress Society founded in Great Britain
  • Cecil Rhodes establishes De Beers Mining Company in South Africa (renamed De Beers Consolidated Mines in 1888)
  • Mass production of wrist watches begins in Switzerland, introduced in the USA in 1895. Manufacture starts around 1907.
  • Child & Child is established in London
  • First electrically lit theatre, The Savoy, opens in London
Savoy Theatre.jpg
  • Blue sapphires discovered in Kashmir, N. India
  • Metropolitan Opera House opens in New York City
  • Sotirios Bulgari opens up shop in Rome, Italy

Late Victorian (Aesthetic) Period

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • Statue of Liberty dedicated
  • Tiffany setting for diamond solitaires introduced
  • Richard W. Sears starts a mail order company to sell watches (second company to sell jewelry and watches founded in 1889)
  • Hall-Héroult process for refining aluminum developed; first commercial production in Switzerland, value drops
  • Celluloid photographic film invented by Hannibal W. Goodwin
  • Gold extraction by cyanide process Invented by John Stewart, Macarthur and the Forrest brothers
  • Black opals discovered in NSW, Australia; commercial mining at Lightening Ridge begins in 1903
  • The Belais brothers of New York begin experimenting with alloys for white gold (c.). David Belais introduces his formula to the trade in 1917 (18k Belais)
Couronne Louis XV.jpg
  • Tiffany & Co. purchases the French Crown Jewels
  • Birmingham (England) Jewellers' and Silversmiths' Association formed by manufacturers
  • George Eastman introduces the first commercial box camera, the Kodak
  • C.R. Ashbee's guild of Handicraft founded in London, the first crafts guild to specialize on jewelry making and metalwork
  • Paris Exposition Universelle - Eiffel Tower constructed
Construction of the Eiffel Tower.jpg
  • Sapphire's found in Dry Cottenwood Creek, Montana
  • Gibson’s Gibson Girl appears in humor magazine Life
  • The marking of foreign imports with the name of the country of origin in English required by the enactment of the McKinley Tariff Act, October, 1890
  • Patent for artificial horn (celluloid)
  • Frémy publishes experiments with ruby synthesis, drawings of synthetic-set jewelry
  • Power driven bruting (girdling) machine for cutting diamonds patented in England
  • First commercial opal mine opened in Australia
  • Vogue magazine founded in the USA
  • Marcus & Co. formerly Jaques & Marcus, established in New York
  • World's Colombian Exposition in Chicago
  • Cultured pearls first developed by K. Mikimoto in Japan; first spherical pearls grown 1905
  • 'Platingeld' introduced, used for simulated gold and platinum chains
  • Excelsior Diamond is found in South Africa
  • Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope Parlor ('peepshow') opens in New York City
  • Screw back earring finding for unpierced ears patented
  • Cross & Bevean, UK, issued patent for cellulose acetate
Screw back.jpg
  • American Consuelo Vanderbilt marries the British Duke of Marlborough
  • Blue sapphires discovered in Yogo Gulch, Montana
  • Bonzano Creek Gold Rush in Klondike, Yukon, Canada
  • The wireless telegraph invented by Guglielmo Marconi (first transatlantic wireless signal in 1901)
  • Sigfried (aka Samuel) Bing opens his new Paris gallery of decorative art called L'Art Nouveau
  • René Lalique exhibits jewelry at the Bing gallery and the Salon of the Societé des Artistes Français; begins work on a series of 145 pieces for Calouste Gulbenkian
  • Daniel Swarowski opens Glass stone-cutting factory in Tirol, Austria
  • Casein plastics marketed in Germany
  • Spanish-American War
  • Alaska Gold Rush
  • Commercial sapphire mining begins in Rock Creek, Montana
  • Commercial tourmaline mining begins in San Diego County CA
  • Boer war in South Africa starts, lasts until 1902
  • Diamond supplies curtailed by the Boer war, prices for De Beers' reserve stock rise
  • Aigrettes reach the peak of their popularity (c.)

Edwardian Period (Belle Époque)

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
Grand entrance, Exposition Universal, 1900, Paris, France.jpg
  • Oxyacetylene torch invented by Edmund Fouché
  • The diamond saw is invented by a Belgian working in the USA. (c.)
  • Synthetic rubies exhibited at Paris Exposition
  • Queen Victoria dies, Edward VII becomes King
  • McKinley assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt becomes President
  • Pan American Exposition held in Buffalo NY
  • Lever safety catch for brooches patented by Herpers Brothers of Newark
  • Gustav Stickley begins publishing his periodical, The Craftsman (until 1916)
  • Tiffany & Co. exhibits at Pan-American Exposition, special hallmark (beaver) used on exhibition pieces
  • Vienna Secession Exhibit
  • Edward VII coronation
  • Black opals commercially mined at Lightning Ridge, NSW, Australia
  • Wiener Werkstätte founded in Vienna, Austria by Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffman
  • Fabergé opens London branch, selling mostly 'gentleman's rings'
  • Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis
  • New York City subway opens
  • Construction on the Panama Canal begins
Louis Comfort Tiffany c 1908.jpg
  • Albert Einstein proposes his theory of relativity
  • First spherical pearls grown in Japan by Mikimoto
  • Cullinan diamond discovered in South Africa, presented to Edward VII on 1907
  • Forest Craft Guild founded by Forest Mann in Grand Rapids, MI, USA
  • The Kalo Shop begins jewelry making in Chicago
  • Henri Matisse and other fauvist artists exhibit at Salon d'Automne in Paris
  • San Francisco earthquake and fire
  • Finland is the first country to grant women's suffrage
Van cleef and arpels.png
  • National Stamping Act passed in the USA, requiring marking of gold and silver content
  • Van Cleef & Arpels founded in Paris
  • Suffragettes demonstrate for the right to vote in London
  • Benitoite discovered in California, declared official state stone in 1985
  • Blue Verneuil sapphire becomes available
  • First exhibition of cubist paintings held in Paris, including works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque
  • Tiffany & Co. establishes Art Jewelry Dept. with Louis Comfort Tiffany as director
  • First spherical cultured pearls patented by Mikimoto (first grown in 1905, American patent granted in 1916)
  • Synthetic spinel accidentally produced by flame fusion process
  • Henry Ford introduces the first mass-produced automobile, the Model T
  • Couturier Paul Poiret opens 'Boutique Chichi', introduces corset less dresses and the vertical line in fashion (c.)
  • A British gemology course is the result of the annual meeting of the National Association of Goldsmiths of Great Britain and Ireland. First course: 1912, first diploma 1913
  • Copyright symbol © introduced for printed works
  • Leo H. Baekeland patents first entirely synthesized plastic, Bakelite
  • The Wright brothers begin large scale manufacture of the airplane (first flight 1903, patented in 1906
  • Synthetic color change corundum first created
Cartier's New York.jpg
  • Edward VII dies, George V becomes king of Great Britain
  • First major American women's suffrage parade held in New York City, demonstration in Washington DC in 1913
  • Eugene Morehouse invents the 'bullet' safety catch for brooches, patented for B.A. Ballou & Co. in 1911
  • France classifies platinum as a precious metal, new hallmark (dog's head) issued in 1912
  • Suffragette jewelry in green, white and violet (first initials for 'give women votes') is popular in Britain and the USA
  • George V Coronation
  • The Hope Diamond is purchased by Ned and Evalyn Walsh McLean
  • George V has Cullinan I and II set in Imperial State crown and scepters
  • World War I begins
  • First ship though Panama Canal, completed in 1913
  • The first U.S. fashion show is staged by Edna Wollman Chase, editor of Vogue
  • Platinum is declared a 'strategic metal' during wartime, use in jewelry diminished
  • Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco
  • Panama-California Exposition held in San Diego
  • The USA enters the War
  • The Russian Revolution begins
Russian revolution.jpg
  • David Belais of New York introduces his formula for 18k white gold to the trade, known as 18k Belais
  • Cartier designs the Tank wristwatch, first public sale 1919
  • World War I ends
  • Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia become the Republic of Czechoslovakia
  • First regular airmail service, between Washington DC and New York City begins, New York to San Francisco in 1921
  • Polish chemist J. Czochralski’s “pulling” method for gemstone synthesis is published

The 'Modern Era'

General History Discoveries & Innovations Jewelry History
  • Prohibition in the USA
Ideal cut.jpg
Ideal cut
  • Marcel Tolkowsky publishes Diamond Design, detailing the cut and proportions of the modern brilliant ('American' or 'Ideal' Cut), following scientific standards first discovered and developed by Henry D. Morse
  • Buccellati established in Italy
  • The Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the right to vote, is ratified
  • First regular radio programs begin broadcasting in Pittsburgh
  • Howard Carter discovers King Tutankhamen's tomb in Egypt
  • Yard. founded in New York City
  • Synthetic pearl essence for simulated pearls invented, called H-scale
  • Egyptologist Caroline R Williams discovers the granulation technique used by ancient goldsmiths
Granulation circa 480BC.jpg
  • Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes is held in Paris
  • Synthetic spinel, inadvertently produced by flame fusion process in 1908, now in worldwide use
  • Jensen is awarded the Grand Prize at the Paris exposition
  • Firm of Trifari, Krussman & Fishel established
  • The first injection molding machine patented by Eckert and Ziegler in Germany
Injection moulding process.png
  • Charles Lindbergh flies solo nonstop New York to Paris
  • Motion picture with sound first publicly shown (Al Jolson in 'the Jazz Singer')
  • Cellulose acetate, trade name Lumarith, introduced by Celluloid Corp.
  • Cartier patents spring system for double clip brooch
  • Schiaparelli establishes 'Maison Schiaparelli' in Paris
  • Paul Flato opens salon in New York
  • The Great Depression begins with stock market crash
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  • Chrysler Building completed in NYC
  • Ernest Oppenheimer becomes chairman of De Beers, creates Diamond Corporation
  • Formation of Union des Artistes Modernes, Paris
  • Empire State building becomes New York's tallest
  • The 'Duette' pin back mechanism for double clip brooches patented by U.S. costume jewelry manufacturer Coro
  • William Spratling opens the first silver workshop in Taxco, Mexico
  • Robert M. Shipley founds the GIA
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt elected President of the USA
  • 14k gold replaces 12k and 15k in Britain, by decision of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, London
  • Harry Winston opens a retail jewelry business in New York City
  • Construction begins on Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (completed in 1937)
  • Prohibition repealed
  • Gold taken out of circulation
  • Century of Progress World Fair opens in Chicago
  • Lost wax process, used in dentistry since c. 1910 reintroduced for mass production of jewelry castings with vulcanized rubber models (c.)
  • Diamond Producers Association formed, Diamond Trading Co. created
  • Salvador Dali exhibits surrealist paintings in New York City
  • Synthetic emeralds (Igmerald) developed by IG-Farben, Germany, first seen by gemologists
  • Patent for the clip back earring finding for unpierced ears granted to Eugene Morehouse for B.A. Ballou
  • Ernest Oppenheimer creates the De Beers Consolidates Mines Ltd. diamond cartel
  • Van Cleef & Arpels introduces the "Ludo Flexible Strap Bracelet"
  • French luxury cruise ship Normandie arrives in New York
  • U.S. Works Progress Administration inaugurated
  • D. Lisner & Co. introduces 'Bois Glacé' jewelry, their trade name for colorless phenolic plastic (Bakelite) laminated to wood
  • The Jewelers' Circular merges with The Keystone to become Jewelers' Circular-Keystone
  • George V dies, succeeded by George VI
  • BBC inaugurates television service; general broadcasting begins in U.S. in 1941
  • Life Magazine founded by Henry Robinson Luce
  • The International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques in Modern Life held in Paris
  • First feature-length animated film, Walt Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
  • Du Pont de Nemours & Co. introduces acrylic plastic, trade name 'Lucite'; also patents nylon fiber
  • Double pronged hinged (dress) clip introduced (c.)
  • Van Cleef and Arpels makes 'marriage contract' bracelet for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor
  • Boucheron, Cartier, Mauboussin, Van Cleef & Arpels and others display figural jewels of colored gold and gemstones at Paris exposition
  • Paul Flato opens his Los Angeles establishment
  • World War II begins in Europe
  • The New York World's Fair, titled 'The World Of Tomorrow' opens
  • Gone With The Wind premiers
  • First commercially successful synthetic emerald process marketed by Carroll Chatham of San Francisco, CA (the term 'Chatham Created Emerald' first used in 1963)
  • The House of Jewels at the New York World´s fair is sponsored by Tiffany & Co., Black, Starr & Frost-Gorham, Udall & Ballou, Marcus & Co. and Cartier New York
  • Van Cleef & Arpels opens an office in New York
  • Verdura opens his shop in New York
  • Sam Kramer opens his shop in Greenwich Village
  • France falls under German occupation
  • Hydrothermal synthetic quartz produced by AT&T Bell labs, USA
  • The Bank of France bans all gold trading
  • The Greek Lalaounis, at age 20, becomes an apprantice at Zolotas in Athens
  • The USA enters the War with the Japanese bombing of Pearl harbor
  • First U.S. television broadcasting begins
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  • 10% luxury tax on jewelry in USA raised to 20% in 1944
  • Jean Schlumberger opens shop in New York, Joins Tiffany & Co. in 1956
  • Craft Horizons, the first national magazine for crafts in the USA is published by the Handicraft Cooperative League
  • Rationing of consumer products (sugar, coffee, gasoline) begins in the U.S.
  • Polyethylene formulated by Earl S. Tupper and DuPont, Tupperware introduced in 1946
  • Use of platinum for jewelry prohibited in USA
  • White metal restricted by U.S. Government, sterling silver used as substitute in costume jewelry
  • Postal zones added to addresses of large cities in USA
  • Luxury tax on jewelry raised to 20% in the USA
  • Sugilite discovered by Ken-ichi Sugi
  • World War II ends
  • Roosevelt dies, Harry Truman becomes President of the USA
  • United Nations is formed, holds first session in 1946
  • Suzanne Belperron forms partnership Herz-Belperron with Jean Herz in Paris
  • Mexican government requires marking of sterling silver with 'spread eagle' assay mark
  • First National exhibit of American studio artists' jewelry held at Museum of Modern Art in New York City
  • Jerry Fels founds 'Renoir of Hollywood' in Los Angeles, CA
  • David Webb opens office in New York, salon in 1963
  • Couturier Christian Dior introduces 'The New Look'
  • Copyright laws re-enacted by U.S. Congress, expanded to include illustrations of merchandise and designs for art works
  • Synthetic star corundum becomes available, production by Linde from the USA
  • Synthetic Rutile introduced as a diamond simulant
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  • Synthetic star rubies and sapphires (Linde) first marketed
  • Costume jewelry manufacturers begin abandoning design patents in favor of copyrights, using the © as part of a maker's mark
  • Metalsmithing workshops series for war veterans begins, ends in 1951
  • Jewish State of Israel declared, admitted to U.N. in 1949
  • Truman elected to full term as President of the USA
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  • De Beers Diamond Corp. launches the slogan 'a diamond is forever'
  • German Federal Republic (West Germany) proclaimed
  • Israel admitted to UN
  • Harry Winston purchases the Hope Diamond. his 'Court of Jewels' exhibit opens in New York, it tours the USA for the next four years
  • Marshall Field closes craft shop for jewelry & metalware
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  • Color television introduced in the USA
  • The Metal Arts Guild organized in San Francisco
  • George VI of Britain dies; succeeded by Elizabeth II
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower elected President of the USA
  • Strontium Titanite is introduced as a diamond simulant
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  • Italian Jewelers Buccellati establishes a salon in New York City
  • Marilyn Monroe sings 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' in 'gentlemen Prefer Blondes'
  • Mamie Eisenhower wears Trifari faux pearls to Inaugural Ball
  • De Beers institutes the Annual Diamond International Awards for original designs in diamond-set jewelry
  • First successful production of synthetic diamonds at General Electric, process patented in 1960, large gem-quality crystals produced in 1970
  • Atomically generated power first used in the USA
  • Swarovski Corp introduces the 'Aurelia borealis' color effect for rhinestone and crystal in collaboration with Cristian Dior
  • Strontium Titanite introduced to the public as a diamond simulant
  • USSR launches first 'Sputnik' satellite on Oct. 4
  • Universal Exhibition opens in Brussels, Belgium
  • Chatham introduces Flux Melt synthetic Ruby
  • John F. Kennedy elected President of the USA
  • Birth control pills introduced to the public
  • Opal triplets first made (c.)
  • Process for synthetic diamonds patented in the USA
  • Synthetic overgrowth of emerald on goshenite succesfull: Leichleitner emeralds enter the market in small numbers
  • Both the Soviets and the USA put the first men in space
  • International Exhibition of Modern Jewelry (1890-1961) held in London
  • U.S. National Stamping Act amended, requiring a maker's trade mark
  • Laurence Graff opens up his first shop in Hatton Garden, London
  • Kennedy assassinated. Lyndon Johnson becomes President
  • U.S. Post Office introduces the ZIP code
  • Vietnam War begins
  • Commercial production of Gilson Flux melt Emeralds starts
  • Hydrothermal emeralds become commercially available. Production by Flanigen/Quintesse/Linde from the USA
  • YAG becomes commercially available
  • U.S. moon landing
  • Woodstock Music festival
  • Richard Nixon re-elected
  • Cubic Zirconia skull melt process patented, CZs commercially marketed in 1976
  • Gilson produces synthetic opal and synthetic turquoise
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  • The term Retro is introduced (c.)
  • Synthetic alexandrite first marketed by Creative Crystals from the USA
  • Nixon resigns as a result of Watergate (1973)
  • Synthetic citrine (hydrothermal) becomes commercially available
  • Chatham introduces flux melt synthetic blue sapphire
  • Tsavorite garnet discovered in Kenya
  • GGG becomes commercially available
  • Synthetic amethyst (hydrothermal) becomes commercially available
  • U.S. bicentennial
  • The microprocessor is introduced; Apple II personal computer, 1977
  • CZ commercially marketed.
  • National Stamping Act amendment introduces the marking of 'plumb' gold (e.g. '14 KP) meaning exact (no tolerance)
  • Joel Arthur Rosenthal discreetly opens JAR with his partner Pierre Jeannet
  • Marina Bulgari opens her own store in Milan: Marina B., one in New York City in 1986
  • Main pipe of the Argyle Diamond Mine in Australia discovered, mining company commissioned in 1985
  • Sugilite, named after Professor Ken-ichi Sugi, begins appearing on the market (discovered 1944)
  • Gem quality red beryls in Wah Wah Mountains, Utah
  • De Beers and Sumimoto start synthetic diamond production
  • Flux melt spinel becomes commercially available
  • Synthetic forsterite is produced as a peridot simulant by Mitsui Mining, Japan
  • Sythetic moissanite become commercially available, produced by C3 Inc. USA