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Jewellery Advice and Knowledge Jewellery Advice and Knowledge

Jewellery Advice and Knowledge Jewellery Advice and Knowledge

Antique and Modern Jewellery Styles Antique and Modern Jewellery Styles

At Michael Rose, we have a real appreciation for jewellery design and craftsmanship. Old or new, if it's well made and an interesting design, we love it. Consequently, we have a large selection of antique, vintage and modern jewellery - so there really is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for something Victorian, Edwardian or mid-20th century, we have a wide range of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc. to choose from!

Below, we are going to quickly traverse through some of the key jewellery styles that you will find in our collection of vintage and modern jewellery.


Victorian Jewellery

The Victorian period spans the years 1837-1901, which understandably witnesses considerable changes in jewellery style during this time. Roughly, it can be divided into three different subcategories: the Romantic Period (1837-1861), The Grand Period (1861-1880) and the Aesthetic Period (1880-1901). The Romantic Period reflects Victoria’s young adult life; her marriage and the birth of her nine children. Floral motifs, symbols of everlasting love, fertility and fidelity were common and full of Victorian sentimentality. By the Grand Period, Victoria had lost her beloved husband Albert, which plunged the country into a state of mourning. Jet, onyx and ‘mourning jewellery’ became popular, in addition to heavier, grander Egyptian, renaissance and medieval revival styles which reflected the expansion of the British Empire. The Aesthetic Period was characterised by smaller, more delicate pieces that were easier to wear by a larger percentage of the population. The rise of industrialisation had created social change enabling more people to buy jewellery, and they wanted to wear smaller pieces to accommodate their more active lifestyles.

See below a selection of Victorian jewellery from our collection:

Edwardian and Belle Epoque jewellery

The Edwardian period is considerably shorter than the Victorian, covering the years 1901-1910 and roughly coincides with the French ‘Belle Epoque’ style which spans the years 1880-1914. Jewellery of this period is characterised most notably by the introduction of platinum, making more delicate and intricate metalwork possible in a white metal. Consequently, this yellow gold pieces were less popular and we see an increase in detailing such as millégrain edges. Pearls were also in their heyday during this period – extremely popular and incredibly expensive, as there were only natural pearls available prior to the invention of cultured pearls (see our post on pearls here). There was, however, the continuation of some styles present in Victorian jewellery such as cluster rings and decorative, novelty plaque rings.

Have a look below at some examples of Edwardian and ‘Belle Epoque’ jewellery in the Michael Rose collection:

Belle Epoque Pearl and Diamond Necklace

Art Deco Jewellery

The Art Deco style is generally seen as spanning the years 1910-1940. It takes its inspiration from geometric forms, contemporary architecture such as the newly emerging skyscrapers of the urban landscape, and the increasing mechanisation of technologies. When it comes to jewellery, the more angular and rectangular forms of emerald, French, calibré and baguette cut gemstones feature heavily, in addition to rings displaying decorative platinum detailing combined with a mixture of cuts or gemstones around a central diamond. Plaque and target style rings are popular during this period, in addition to the use of semi-precious materials such as coral, onyx and jade reflecting an increased interest in oriental exoticism.

Art Deco jewellery, particularly engagement rings, remain extremely sought after. View a selection of our collection below:

Diamond and Sapphire Art Deco Platinum Brooch
 

Retro Jewellery

In the post-war period of the 1940’s and 1950’s, jewellery styles reflected the austerity of post-war rationing yet also were designed to offset the somber and sober styles of wartime. This can be seen by an increase in use of semi-precious stones such as aquamarine, citrine and amethyst, which were cheaper than diamonds and other precious gemstones but also often lent themselves to big, bright and bold designs. As far as engagement rings go, these more ‘retro’ designs are probably better suited to a dress ring, as these stones are softer and more easily scratched than diamonds, sapphires or rubies.

Take a look at some retro inspired pieces from our collection below:

35.50ct Emerald Cut Aquamarine Cocktail Ring in 14ct Yellow Gold
 

1960’s Jewellery

The 1960’s saw a return to the use of precious metals and gemstones in a big, bold and flashy way. Think Elizabeth Taylor and the opulence that she is often associated with; the age of Hollywood decadence, the end of post-war rationing and the subsequent sense of ‘joy de vivre’. Jewellery was often big, in both traditional and experimental forms, such as clusters, swirls, animals and geometric shapes. In addition to the bright colours of modern synthetic materials such as plastics and resins, pearls became an iconic statement as popularised by the likes of Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and Jackie Kennedy.
 
 

1970’s & 1980’s Jewellery

During this period, gold was the metal of choice. Jewellery largely took the form of statement pieces, with an emphasis towards more natural tones and materials visible in 1970’s jewellery which then brightened into bolder colours during the 1980’s. Brooches made a comeback, and costume jewellery became increasingly popular. Picture the bohemian style of 1970’s stars such as Cher, in addition to the glamour of the 1980’s inspired by a young Princess Diana, but also the punkish style of 1980’s icons such as Madonna.

Contemporary Jewellery:

In more recent times, the trend for jewellery is largely in white metals such as white gold or platinum, and in delicate, simple, relatively discrete designs. Solitaire diamond pendants, diamond stud earrings and diamond eternity rings are popular, many of which feature a halo of diamonds to enlarge the overall appearance. As we progress through the 2020’s, there is also an ongoing resurgence in vintage yellow gold chains and signet rings; particularly layering heavy and fine yellow gold chains around the neckline.

Hopefully, you find this brief stylistic guide a helpful introduction into the history of jewellery design. Of course, this barely touches the surface, but should give you an idea of what to look for when it comes to a basic overview of vintage and modern jewellery.
You can view our online collection of antique and vintage jewellery here, but we have a considerable selection of other antique and vintage pieces available in store - so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are looking for something particular!
At Michael Rose, we have a real appreciation for jewellery design and craftsmanship. Old or new, if it's well made and an interesting design, we love it. Consequently, we have a large selection of antique, vintage and modern jewellery - so there really is something for everyone. Whether you are looking for something Victorian, Edwardian or mid-20th century, we have a wide range of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets etc. to choose from!

Below, we are going to quickly traverse through some of the key jewellery styles that you will find in our collection of vintage and modern jewellery.


Victorian Jewellery

The Victorian period spans the years 1837-1901, which understandably witnesses considerable changes in jewellery style during this time. Roughly, it can be divided into three different subcategories: the Romantic Period (1837-1861), The Grand Period (1861-1880) and the Aesthetic Period (1880-1901). The Romantic Period reflects Victoria’s young adult life; her marriage and the birth of her nine children. Floral motifs, symbols of everlasting love, fertility and fidelity were common and full of Victorian sentimentality. By the Grand Period, Victoria had lost her beloved husband Albert, which plunged the country into a state of mourning. Jet, onyx and ‘mourning jewellery’ became popular, in addition to heavier, grander Egyptian, renaissance and medieval revival styles which reflected the expansion of the British Empire. The Aesthetic Period was characterised by smaller, more delicate pieces that were easier to wear by a larger percentage of the population. The rise of industrialisation had created social change enabling more people to buy jewellery, and they wanted to wear smaller pieces to accommodate their more active lifestyles.

See below a selection of Victorian jewellery from our collection:

Edwardian and Belle Epoque jewellery

The Edwardian period is considerably shorter than the Victorian, covering the years 1901-1910 and roughly coincides with the French ‘Belle Epoque’ style which spans the years 1880-1914. Jewellery of this period is characterised most notably by the introduction of platinum, making more delicate and intricate metalwork possible in a white metal. Consequently, this yellow gold pieces were less popular and we see an increase in detailing such as millégrain edges. Pearls were also in their heyday during this period – extremely popular and incredibly expensive, as there were only natural pearls available prior to the invention of cultured pearls (see our post on pearls here). There was, however, the continuation of some styles present in Victorian jewellery such as cluster rings and decorative, novelty plaque rings.

Have a look below at some examples of Edwardian and ‘Belle Epoque’ jewellery in the Michael Rose collection:

Belle Epoque Pearl and Diamond Necklace

Art Deco Jewellery

The Art Deco style is generally seen as spanning the years 1910-1940. It takes its inspiration from geometric forms, contemporary architecture such as the newly emerging skyscrapers of the urban landscape, and the increasing mechanisation of technologies. When it comes to jewellery, the more angular and rectangular forms of emerald, French, calibré and baguette cut gemstones feature heavily, in addition to rings displaying decorative platinum detailing combined with a mixture of cuts or gemstones around a central diamond. Plaque and target style rings are popular during this period, in addition to the use of semi-precious materials such as coral, onyx and jade reflecting an increased interest in oriental exoticism.

Art Deco jewellery, particularly engagement rings, remain extremely sought after. View a selection of our collection below:

Diamond and Sapphire Art Deco Platinum Brooch
 

Retro Jewellery

In the post-war period of the 1940’s and 1950’s, jewellery styles reflected the austerity of post-war rationing yet also were designed to offset the somber and sober styles of wartime. This can be seen by an increase in use of semi-precious stones such as aquamarine, citrine and amethyst, which were cheaper than diamonds and other precious gemstones but also often lent themselves to big, bright and bold designs. As far as engagement rings go, these more ‘retro’ designs are probably better suited to a dress ring, as these stones are softer and more easily scratched than diamonds, sapphires or rubies.

Take a look at some retro inspired pieces from our collection below:

35.50ct Emerald Cut Aquamarine Cocktail Ring in 14ct Yellow Gold
 

1960’s Jewellery

The 1960’s saw a return to the use of precious metals and gemstones in a big, bold and flashy way. Think Elizabeth Taylor and the opulence that she is often associated with; the age of Hollywood decadence, the end of post-war rationing and the subsequent sense of ‘joy de vivre’. Jewellery was often big, in both traditional and experimental forms, such as clusters, swirls, animals and geometric shapes. In addition to the bright colours of modern synthetic materials such as plastics and resins, pearls became an iconic statement as popularised by the likes of Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ and Jackie Kennedy.
 
 

1970’s & 1980’s Jewellery

During this period, gold was the metal of choice. Jewellery largely took the form of statement pieces, with an emphasis towards more natural tones and materials visible in 1970’s jewellery which then brightened into bolder colours during the 1980’s. Brooches made a comeback, and costume jewellery became increasingly popular. Picture the bohemian style of 1970’s stars such as Cher, in addition to the glamour of the 1980’s inspired by a young Princess Diana, but also the punkish style of 1980’s icons such as Madonna.

Contemporary Jewellery:

In more recent times, the trend for jewellery is largely in white metals such as white gold or platinum, and in delicate, simple, relatively discrete designs. Solitaire diamond pendants, diamond stud earrings and diamond eternity rings are popular, many of which feature a halo of diamonds to enlarge the overall appearance. As we progress through the 2020’s, there is also an ongoing resurgence in vintage yellow gold chains and signet rings; particularly layering heavy and fine yellow gold chains around the neckline.

Hopefully, you find this brief stylistic guide a helpful introduction into the history of jewellery design. Of course, this barely touches the surface, but should give you an idea of what to look for when it comes to a basic overview of vintage and modern jewellery.
You can view our online collection of antique and vintage jewellery here, but we have a considerable selection of other antique and vintage pieces available in store - so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are looking for something particular!

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