Monday, February 14, 2011

Jewelry Throughout The Ages...

As far back in time as anyone can remember, the gift of jewelry has often been in the forethought of almost every man contemplating what to get his significant other for Valentines Day…

Here is a rundown of jewelry throughout the ages which will give you an idea as to what you might have gotten had you been around in any particular era….

In the Georgian period which was from the 1700’s to mid 1800’s the majority of all jewelry designs were predominately nature themed? Gemstones were favored, particularly agates which they would embellish with not only flowers and leaves but carvings of insects, birds and feathers as well.

Moving on to the late 1800’s which was the early Victorian period you would find that scrollwork, floral sprays and animal themes were all the rage! Enameled jewelry was also introduced in this time frame. The jewelry making process was still in a somewhat primitive stage but evolving nonetheless. Cameo brooches and Cameo jewelry were gaining popularity.


In the late Victorian period of the 1900’s, diamonds were beginning to grow popular but of course they were not the diamonds of today as they were more than likely ‘diamonds in the rough’ and nowhere near the sparkling beauties we see today when peering through the jewelry store windows. The nature themed jewelry of birds, insects and other animals was still in full force popularity but at this time was moving forward a bit being that they were now being encased in different types of metals.

*Jewelry as we know it really didn’t begin to take it’s form until well into the 1900’s through to the 1950’s at which time jewelry was becoming more delicate and feminine. Thank goodness!

In the 1940’s our grandmother’s were rockin’ some pretty cool pieces as styles were starting to come into play that became timeless. I remember as a young girl my grandmother would often let me pick a treasure out of her jewelry box which was often a metal brooch. Little did I know then what a gift I was really getting! Into the 40’s metals became scarce for jewelry makiers because of WWII so American costume jewelry makers had to use whatever was on hand so they turned to rhinestones and plastics. This is the time period when Moonglow and Lucite became popular.


In the 1950’s mid century modernism influenced this period with the use of abstracts and atomic shapes. Textures dominated this decade. Foxtail chains were ‘in’ as were the now common string of delicate pearls so often associated with this prima donna debutante era…


In the 60’s jewelry styles began to reflect the massive changes going on in society with bold pieces. Gold took a back seat to silver and colors in regards to gemstones were abound! Abstract designs, geometric shapes and ethnic pieces with an ‘outside of the box vibe’ were the wave of the day during this time.


The 1970’s brought women’s liberation and different kinds of jewelry trends. Pieces were bolder and definitely more dramatic. Non traditional materials were beginning to be used frequently such as woods, crystals and leather. Ivory and African inspired jewelry rocked the 70’s!


The affluent 80’s brought us into a return to diamonds, gold and other glam styles of jewelry as more and more people were seeking to acquire pieces that showed off their status quo (i.e. bank accounts). This trend continued into the 1990’s although style trends because less gaudy and more understated.


So here we are in the 2000’s and platinum has made a comeback in a big way as did non precious metals. Diamonds remain popular of course, despite concern over the human costs of diamond mining. Colored diamonds with catchy names such as ‘chocolate, canary and champagne’ are especially popular these days…


So where do we go from here? What the future holds in regards to styles, stones, etc…It’s anyone’s guess as we are constantly and rapidly ushering in new design techniques and ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s to come as alternate materials including rubber, plastic and stainless steel are being incorporated into pieces these days. The possibilities are endless & most definitely exciting!

Happy Valentines Day....

I hope that whatever the gift you receive, you make it a treasure forever!

& always remember…It’s the thought that counts!


1 comment:

Julie said...

Very informative post. I love vintage jewerly & wonder the history on each piece I own. Thank you for sharing.