Antique and Estate Jewelry of the 20th Century

| April 17, 2014

You may love the unique and classic look of antique jewelry. It’s fun and different to choose a piece that truly has character, and the idea of the story behind an estate piece is intriguing. Would you like to know more about the historic periods of popular jewelry through the years? Here’s a brief overview of the classic periods, as well as what influenced and identified them.

Arts and Crafts Jewelry (c. 1894 – 1923)

The Arts and Crafts period in jewelry is a bit of a revolt against the modernism of the Industrial Revolution age. Designers wanted to get back to the beautiful and simple craftsmanship of days gone by; therefore, the jewelry of this time is clean and simple. Handcrafted pieces were seen featuring colorful and uncut stones.

Art Nouveau (c. 1890 – 1915)

The jewelry styles of this time were heavily influenced by nature. It was common to see pieces embellished by or designed around insects, birds or plants. Jewelry

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mimics furniture and architectural design styles of the period. Asian influence was also big.

Edwardian (c. 1901 – 1915)

This period of jewelry’s hallmark is extravagance. Diamonds and pearls with rich, beautiful gemstones such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires were set in intricate designs and settings. It was a swanky time for jewelry.

Art Deco (c. 1920 – 1935)

Art Deco period jewelry is marked by strong lines, bright colors and geometric shapes. African, Japanese and Egyptian influences can be seen in the jewelry of this time. Pieces were also heavily influenced by the speed of the travel modes that were emerging at the time, such as the airplane and automobile. Popular materials used in jewelry making were bakelite, enamel and celluloid. Necklaces were big and went to extremes, with chokers and long strands seen everywhere.

Retro (c. 1940)

Jewelry of the retro period is known to be colorful, with its gemstones such as citrine and aquamarine. It’s inspired by Hollywood glamour with a signature look of everything big. Large cocktail rings, bracelets with baubles and statement necklaces were common.

This is a look at the popular times of jewelry throughout the 1900’s. Perhaps this overview will guide you in your purchase of estate and antique jewelry. Click here to see a wide selection of beautiful vintage jewelry pieces.

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