New Items at Vintage Jewelry Online.com
This month’s newest collection presents some unique and some very special Victorian; Deco influenced jewelry and rhinestone beauties. There is a very special double strand coral Victorian necklace, a lovely French reversed glass carved pin, an outstanding black clamper bakelite bracelet and of course one of the hottest trends, a sterling faux blue topaz and CZ dinner ring. Check out the Jewelry Tips section this month to get an overview of the commonly defined jewelry eras, Part 1, and learn how world events and fashion influenced the jewelry of the period.
To see the newest jewelry listed in a group, click here
Here are this months featured items. I hope you enjoy looking at them. The new featured highlights are found on the home page and include:
- an Art Nouveau Sterling Seed Pearl Barrett #AS-00102
- a Sterling Deco Faux Blue Topaz & CZ Ring #AS-00103
- a Thick Black Bakelite Clamper Bracelet #CB-00222
- a Victorian Double Strand Coral Necklace #VE-00321
- an Edwardian 14K Alexandrite Ring #VE-00310
Jewelry Eras and the History Behind Them
The more a person understands about jewelry, its background, the history and fashion influences of the period, the more informed decision she or he will be at amassing their collection. Over the next few Vintage Jewelry Unleashed newsletters I will provide an overview of the most commonly referenced jewelry eras. The majority of the reference information comes from Warman’s Jewelry, 3rd Edition by Christie Romero and the 6th Edition Answers to Questions About Old Jewelry by Jeanenne Bell both of which I highly recommend. (See Vintage Jewelry Unleashed Vol.3 – March 2006).
Commonly Defined Reference Periods
1760 – 1830 Georgian
1840 – 1860 Early Victorian
1861 – 1879 Mid Victorian
1880 – 1902 Late Victorian
1890 – 1920 Edwardian & Art Nouveau
1920 – 1935 Art Deco
1940 – 1965 Post War & Retro Modern
1760 – 1830 Georgian
This was a period of great political unrest and turmoil. The American Revolution began so England and the colonies were at war. The French Revolution was taking place, yet in between 1799 – 1815 Napoleon was at war and ultimately crowned himself Emperor of France, only to be unseated. George III was declared insane and shortly thereafter, the War of 1812 took place between the US and Britain. Fashion and jewelry trends also went through dramatic change.
Initially, royalty and nobility were the predominate wearers of fine and precious jewelry. Necklines were low and hairstyles were swept up high on the head providing the perfect background for long, dripping, chandelier earrings and short chocker style necklaces and pendants. Diamonds were favorites of the wealthy and this became known as the Age of Diamonds, when they were set with open backs, as colored and semi-precious stones were still foil backed. This was also known as the Age of Paste. The general masses could not afford precious and semi-precious stones, so paste jewelry, made with a high lead and glass combination was widely produced with silver or gold settings to imitate the jewels of royalty. We will see the same phenomena happening during the 1920’s and 1930’s.
At the turn of the century, fashion changed from full skirts, tight tops, lacey ruffles to Grecian inspired clothing with short sleeves and even lower necklines and high waists. It was a more simple and lighter look of previous dress. Heavy pins were left in the jewelry boxes for necklaces with pendants, multiple chains, smaller pins, semi-precious and paste and even slim bracelets worn three-four at a time. But by the 1830’s fashion had reversed itself again. Waists went back to their original position, tight bodices returned and skirts were full with lots of trim and ruffles.
Three types of jewelry were very popular during this era, cut steel, mourning jewelry and miniatures.
Cut steel was used to imitate the shine and glitter of diamonds. Today, we most often see buckles made of cut steel, but pins, bracelets, chains, rings and necklaces were also made and most were made in France. Berlin iron was jewelry made of cast iron that was transformed into lacey and very delicate items. Another term you might run into is Silesian wirework. This is the most delicate of the three types of steel jewelry and the scarcest. These items are made of wrapped and or woven iron or steel mesh and were produced primarily in Eastern Europe.
Mourning jewelry is often associated with the mid Victorian period because when King Albert died, Queen Victoria went into mourning for the rest of her life. But mourning jewelry appeared as early as 1800. Mourning jewelry, although used for mourning the loss of a loved one, was also used as an expression of affection while a person was still living. People would take a lock of their loved ones’ hair and place it in a locket, worn close to the chest at all times as an expression of love. While the watch chain was the most popular piece of hair work jewelry, rings, bracelets, pins and earrings were all constructed. Women would make the jewelry, which was a long, careful and delicate process. Once completed, the piece was sent to the jeweler for him to apply the findings. A woman could also order hair jewelry from the Godey’s Lady’s Book. She would select the style she preferred and send her hair to the jewelry company for it to be made.
Miniature portrait jewelry took the place of photography. Like mourning jewelry, some miniatures were a tribute to a loved one who had died. And other miniatures were simply a method by which to show a token or expression of love. Bracelets and pendants were the most popular jewelry items though brooches were also produced. Some miniatures have religious subject matter but the most coveted and scarce theme was the eye miniature, which is rarely seen today.
Jewelry and Fashion Trends
Metallics make a runaway comeback for fall. Not only are dresses, coats, and shirts being made of brocades and lames, but this is a metal driven jewelry season as well. Yellow gold was “IT” on the couture runway showing open link chains in long lengths and textured finishes. Large hoop earrings and bangles are still up on top as well. Chains are being worn in multiple layers, mixing textures and materials, as are bracelets and cuffs. Even rose gold is making a comeback. Try these on for size:
- Inspired A&C Sterling Hammered Cuff Bracelet #AS-00007
- 14K Rose Gold Aquamarine Ring #FG-00023
- Sterling Silver Victorian Chain Necklace #VE-00042
- Renaissance Revival Silver & Amethyst Bracelet #VE-00070
Big is better this fall so feel free to go bold and big with jewelry to compliment this season’s layered look. And it’s not just about layers, but a complete over sized look that includes slouchy pants, huge tops and massive belts and buckles on coats and dresses. Whether the layers are short dresses and leg warmers, over sized knits or a more refined look of dresses and cardigans made of fine wool, the key is lots and lots material and lots of jewels to accent it and pull it together.
- Bold Czechoslovakian Red & Black Bib Necklace #VE-00032
- Runway Sterling & Chrysoprase Designer Parure #CS-00086
- Hobe Blue RS & AB Bracelet, Necklace & Earrings Parure #CS-00147
- Runway Crystal Rhondel Necklace and Earrings #CU-00009
- Deco Ruby & Paste Massive Theatrical Bracelet #AO-00036
Fur and animal prints… did we ever believe they would come back? They have and with a vengeance. Top them off with golds, blacks, cream and white colored jewelry of any kind!
- Panetta Rhodium Dangling Deco Earrings #CS-00083
- 14k white gold, diamond and garnet 1860 bracelet #FG-00030
- Elaborate black jet opera length 66″ long sautoir #VE-00058
- Antique Book Chain Necklace #VE-00303