Edwardian Jewelry: An Overview

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Edwardian Jewelry -1901 – 1915

Edwardian Tiffany & Co. Dinner Ring.
Edwardian Tiffany & Co. Dinner Ring.

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.

Notable Jewelers

Boucheron, Cartier, Chaumet, Fabergé, Garrard, Lacloche, Marcus & Co., Tiffany & Co.


Edwardian Metals Platinum Topped Gold.
Platinum-Topped Gold
Edwardian Metals, Platinum.

Platinum-Topped Gold

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.

Diamonds (rose, old mine, and European cuts) and pearls were perfect for the “white on white” look of Edwardian jewelry that complemented both the pastel-colored and white ensembles of the day.  

Edwardian Amethyst, Diamond, and Pearl Brooch.
Edwardian Brooch with Amethyst, Seed Pearls, and Diamonds.
Edwardian Gemstones, Montana Sapphire.
Edwardian Montana Sapphire and Diamond Navette Ring by Riker Bros.
Edwardian Gemstones, Diamonds & Pearls.
Edwardian Platinum Brooch with Diamonds and Natural Pearls.
Edwardian Gemstones, Demantoid.
Yellow Gold Ring with Antique Cushion Cut Diamond and Demantoid Garnets.

Techniques & Innovations

Edwardian Techniques, Millegrain.
Edwardian Techniques, Filigree.


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.

Style Motifs

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 Styles, Tiara.
For the well-to-do, tiaras were an essential ornament, and with the advent of platinum, they could be elaborate yet not heavy.
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Pieces exquisitely fashioned with fine platinum wire created a lace-like effect and were made even more beautiful when set with sparkling diamonds.
Edwardian Styles, Dog Collars.
Dog collars fit closely around the neck and were as simple as a decorated black velvet ribbon or as intricate as multiple strands of pearls with a center plaque.
Edwardian Styles, Openwork.
Elegant openwork hanging diamond earrings, often featuring ribbons or bows, were de rigueur for fancy soirées.

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