Generally regarded as the oldest era of estate jewelry – Georgian era jewelry is extremely rare and was produced in a time period from 1714 to the mid 1830’s. Most of the jewelry that has survived from the Georgian era has been taken apart or modified in some way over the years.
Georgian Jewelry Characteristics:
Shapes and Stones
Because the technology used to make jewelry now was non-existent during the 18th and 19th centuries, Georgian jewelry was made almost exclusively by hand. The settings of this jewelry generally followed the shape of the particular stone that was being used.
Diamonds were popular during this period, but the methods for cutting were much different. Where a diamond cutter can create shine and brilliance through strategic cuts, Georgian era jewelry makers had to be much more creative. Many times jewelry makers backed the stones in foil to bounce more light throughout the stone.
It was common to see multiple types of stones and shapes used in the same piece. Diamonds (both table and rose cut), amethysts, topaz, sapphires and garnets were all used in the Georgian era.
Cast Iron Replicas
Like many other periods in estate jewelry history, times of war dictated the types of metal that were most often found in different pieces. Germany was plunged into war in the 19th century, which created a gold shortage. Many German jewelry owners submitted their gold pieces to the war effort, and were actually given back replicas made of cast iron.
These cast iron pieces are known as Fer-de-Berlin and became extremely popular throughout the 1800’s.
One of the most popular applications in Georgian jewelry was the creation of memorial jewelry. Funeral scenes painted on to pieces or miniature portraits of passed-away loved ones became a standard of the time. Some would even use locks of hair and incorporate it into their jewelry.
The Georgian jewelry era hard to come by, but many of the pieces still exist in a modified form. This era essentially paved the way for the artistry of the Victorian and Art Nouveau periods.
Jonathan’s Fine Jewelers has dealt in vintage jewelry for over 25 years. One of the early staples of our business revolved on identifying, buying, and selling vintage estate jewelry. If you are interested in Retro Era jewelry or would like us to evaluate pieces in your possession, call or send us an email to schedule an appointment. You can also view our eBay store to find some of our current inventory.