Guest Author - Diane Geisel
Rule of thumb when it comes to Antique vs. Vintage:
Antique Jewelry – Jewelry that is more than 100 years old
Vintage Jewelry- Classified as jewelry from about 1940- 1980
Georgian Jewelry (1714-1837):
Georgian jewelry is very rare and highly collectible as many pieces were melted down, gemstones removed and remade into “new jewelry”. Popular jewelry styles of the period were both elaborate and intricate, forming ornate arrangements such as 'chandelier' style earrings. Diamonds were the favorite of the Georgian Era holding steadfast to the excess nature of the times. Gemstones were used in ornate repoussé settings, forming a raised metal pattern by working from the back side of the piece.
Early Victorian Jewelry (1837-1855):
Jewelry from this period, like Georgian, often reflected nature based designs and were very symbolic. Sentimental brooches were very popular during this time period. For evening, one would often wear gemstones or diamonds. Romanticism time period.
Mid-Victorian Jewelry (1860-1880):
This "Grand Period" coincided with the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, when she went into a period of mourning for him lasting her lifetime. Mourning pieces made of black jet or fossilized coal, vulcanite, bog oak onyx and deep red garnets. Scottish motifs also became popular. Romanticism time period.
Late Victorian Jewelry (1885-1900):
This was the “Aesthetic Period” of jewelry design, with feminine colors and a big use of gemstones. Diamonds hit an all time high as the favored gem of choice. Romanticism time period.
Arts and Crafts Jewelry (1894-1923):
Coinciding with Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts Jewelry sought to return to a time when each piece looked handmade vs. mass produced. Various materials were popular such as gemstones and copper.
Art Nouveau Jewelry (1895-1915):
As with many of the great periods, the graceful and flowing Art Nouveau period started with designers in France leading the way. Often characterized by feminine and fantasy figures this includes scrolls, birds, flowers, insects etc. Plaque-a-jour enamel was commonly used. Tiffany made Art Nouveau designs.
Edwardian Jewelry (1895-1915):
After the death of Queen Victoria, the Edwardian era brought about an age of extravagance. Precious metals and gems were favored by the high class. Those not so wealthy were keen on pot metal and rhinestones found in necklaces (or dog collars) brooches, and bracelets.
Art Deco Jewelry (1920-1935):
Beginning in Paris this style is one of geometric and straight lines in a mix with contrasting color. Rhinestones were moving from the stark all white to all colors imaginable. Costume jewelry was on the move found in stores from upscale to the corner five and dime store. The style became bolder and eventually evolved into Art Modern
Art Modern (1935 and 1945)
Art Modern is characterized by jewelry that started out with relatively delicate designs and progressed to much more bold and blocky styles.
Retro Jewelry (1940s - to about 1980):
The jewelry from this period was big and bold! Pot metal was cast aside for sterling due to the war effort early on in the period. Avant-garde flourished during this dramatic period.
Vintage American Classic Jewelry (1940s - to about 1980)
The jewelry from this period is very ornate and colorful. Packed with rhinestones of all colors, metals and finishes left only to the imagination. Plastics including Bakelite, celluloid and other plastic resins make the jewelry lightweight and inexpensive to produce. Highly regarded designers and manufacturers such as Coro, Weiss, D&E, Schiaparelli, HAR, Hobe and many others create some of the most fabulous and affordable jewelry of all time.
Portions referenced from Vintage Jewelry Lane