The years between 1901 and 1914 are known as the Edwardian Era, named for the reign of King Edward VII. They are remembered as a time of romance and prosperity that ended with the commencement of World War One.
The Edwardian period was far shorter than the Georgian and Victorian period as it only covered the comparatively brief reigns of King Edward and the first part of his successor George V, but it was no less influential in terms of the styles and innovations which can be seen in the impressive pieces of jewellery which it brought into the world.
This time was colloquially known as the “Belle Epoch”, or “Beautiful Era”, and Edwardian jewellery was a fitting example of the reasons why it came to be so. Edwardian jewellers had access to the vast array of industrial and technological innovations of the Victorian era, as well as the resources of the pre-war British Empire.
Metallurgical advancements saw the increasing use of lower carat gold alloys, which were stronger and facilitated the creation of much more elaborate and delicate structures which were durable enough to withstand the rigours of daily wear. In stark contrast with the thick, heavy metalwork of the Georgian era, Edwardian jewellery exhibits intricate wire work, subtle prong-set gemstones arrangements, and an extravagance which was simply impossible for earlier jewellers to achieve.
By this time the new techniques pioneered during the Victorian period had been perfected by the craftsmen who employed them. Lapidaries, those who specialised in the shaping of gemstones, were now capable of cutting much more elaborate facets, and new technology allowed them to effectively apply these designs to hard gemstones such as sapphire, ruby and diamond, with greater ease and accuracy. Diamond saws and high-precision jewellery lathes allowed the perfection of the old European cut, a stepping stone to the brilliant cut which was introduced in 1919.
Thanks to the development and mastery of new tools and materials Edwardian jewellery exhibits a beauty that is highly appreciated by collectors in the modern age. Where Victorian jewellery(LINK) often embraced a more sombre aesthetic Edwardian pieces were much more exuberant, celebrating and revelling in the optimism of the age. Wondrous arrangements of varied gemstones were very much in vogue, and alongside multiple varieties of gold there came the first true use of platinum, a rarer precious metal with unique properties that made it ideal for the most exclusive of designs.
At Antique Jewellery Online we have spent decades searching for the most beautiful and remarkable pieces of Edwardian jewellery and we are proud to be able to present our extensive collection to our customers.
You can view our collection of antique Edwardian jewellery here.