Estate jewellery spans many centuries. It can refer to Art Deco jewellery from the 1920s, retro jewellery from the 1940s or Georgian jewellery from the 1700s. At its essence, estate jewellery is just pre-owned jewellery, typically from a bygone era. Jewellery isn’t just an investment in precious metals and stones, it’s also a special way to commemorate the past and learn more about the fashion of bygone years. Georgian jewellery can be hard to find, because many jewellers would melt the pieces down to update them.
When Was the Georgian Era?
The Georgian era runs from about 1714 to 1837. It’s named for the British kings, George I, II, III and IV. The era is known for its societal changes, namely the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. During the Georgian era, there were many changes in urban and rural communities. Work was scarce. Brits moved to Canada and North America, which became the United States. Britain was under constant warfare during the Georgian Era, not just with the American Colonies. France was the major enemy. Although Britain prevailed in Europe, the loss of the colonies stung. It was a time of material prosperity, but also a time of social reform and enlightenment.
Elements of Georgian Jewellery
Although the Georgian Era usually refers to British art and culture of the time frame, events outside of Britain influences Georgian jewellery. Jewellery during this period was handcrafted by artisans who would hammer precious metals, gold and silver, into thin sheets that could be fabricated into intricate pieces of jewellery. One of the hallmarks of Georgian jewellery is the ornate metal work. Once the metal was pounded into a thin sheet, it would be hammered into an exquisite design. It might be combined with human hair for a personalized commemorative piece of jewellery to remember a departed loved one.
Jewellery during the Georgian era marked a difference between daytime and nighttime pieces. Formal evening soirees and balls were markedly more sumptuous. Diamonds came into favour as mines were opened in countries around the world. But diamonds were only appropriate for evening wear. Pearls, garnets and other coloured gems were worn during the day as a show of status.
Georgian jewellery has two distinct periods. In the first half of the eighteenth century, it was more ornate and in symmetry, which was the Baroque style. After 1750, Rococo style was in favour. Jewellery became more open and light, with asymmetrical lines. The Rococo style developed in Paris, but spread through Europe. Due to the war, precious metals were in short supply, which was another element in developing Georgian style jewelry.
Popular Items in Georgian Jewellery
Bracelets and necklaces were very popular types of jewellery items worn in the Georgian era. They also had other pieces that are either not worn or rarely worn today:
- Stomacher – a large piece of jewellery worn under the breasts at the top of the stomach.
- Pendeloque – pear-shaped dangling earrings.
- Cameos – jewellery carved from coral or agate, often to commemorate a loved one.
- Chatelaines – a belt that would hold tools and accessories, usually made for the woman of the house to carry her keys, scissors, watch and other important items.
- Aigrettes – pieces of jewellery worn in the hair.
Why Choose Estate Jewellery?
Vintage jewellery is often more unique than mass-produced modern pieces. Georgian jewellery was exquisitely designed with an attention to detail that you can’t find today. Authentic Georgian jewellery is quite rare, and it can be exciting to have a piece of history in your collection. Colonial Acres can help you find a truly timeless piece that is special and unique. We have experienced jewellery experts who can help you find the high-quality estate piece that you’ll treasure forever.