Edwardian Jewelry -1901 – 1915
In 1901, the long-reigning (almost 64 years!) Queen Victoria died and her eldest son, Prince Edward VII, for whom the era is named, became king.
Evolving alongside the Art Nouveau and Arts & Crafts movements, Edwardian jewelers, too, rejected the machine-made jewelry of the Victorian era. Known in The United States as The Gilded Age, and in the rest of Europe as La Belle Époque, which translates as “the beautiful age” in French, Edwardian jewelry was like a light and lacy breath of fresh air.
Influences/Advancements of the Era
Jewelers who chose not to embrace the Arts & Crafts or Art Nouveau movements, borrowed the fluidity of their lines. The “new” designs of the Edwardian Era were rooted in 18th-century jewelry. The Court of Versailles was an inspiration for aristocratically designed jewels and Cartier encouraged his designers to look to 17th and 18th-century architecture for inspiration.
Used early in the period before pieces could be made entirely from platinum.
In 1903, the invention of the oxyacetylene torch (which could reach the high temperatures necessary for working in platinum) allowed jewelry to be made entirely from this lustrous metal and fashioned into light and delicate, yet very strong pieces. The strength of platinum allowed jewelers to use minimalist settings for gems, often giving them the appearance of “floating.”
Amethyst, turquoise, Montana sapphires, opals, demantoid garnets colored the jewels of this period. Gems were often presented in newly designed cuts: calibré, baguette, marquise, briolette. Because there was still no method of creating cultured pearls, these gems of the sea were even more valuable than diamonds.
Techniques & Innovations
Millegraining is an extremely tiny, beaded detail that finishes an edge on a piece of jewelry. This technique was generously used in Edwardian-era pieces on the outlines of patterns, fine wires, and on channel edges.
Very fine wires, smooth or twisted, were ideal for creating the open, airy aesthetic of Edwardian jewels.
Jewelry went from large and ostentatious to ethereal and delicate almost overnight. Garlands, ribbons, laurel wreaths, tassels, and swags were favored motifs. Delicate, sophisticated jewels fashioned like “petit point” embroidery, resembling diamond-encrusted lace—whether an elegant bar pin or an ornate lavallière necklace–were exemplary of the era.
Edwardian 1.37 Carat Diamond Platinum Ring - GIA I VS1
Resplendent Edwardian era radiance and romanticism is in full bloom in this extraordinarily stunning ultra-sparkler dating back to the first or second decade of…SHOP AT LANG
Edwardian Diamond Ribbon Wreath Necklace/Brooch
Lovely, looping, pinwheel ribbons--shimmering with bright European and Swiss-cut diamonds--gracefully curve all around seven supremely sparkling larger European…SHOP AT LANG
3.80 Carat No-Heat Burma Sapphire and Diamond Edwardian Ring
From the first or second decade of the last century comes this classic Edwardian treasure, expertly handcrafted in platinum, featuring a rich royal-blue, facete…SHOP AT LANG