bijoux jewels

Georgian: 1714 - 1837
georgian styleJewelry of the Georgina era was made almost entirely by hand and is distinguished by its excellent craftsmanship. The most popular gemstones in Georgian jewelry were diamonds, pink topaz, blue sapphires, emeralds, dark red garnets, and paste. Silver settings were commonly used to intensify the whiteness and brightness of diamonds. The Georgian period also saw the development of faceted gemstones.

This was a period when there was great public demand for cheap jewelry, creating a market for paste jewelry.  Cut-steel, like the mineral marcasite, was commonly substituted for diamonds for those who could not afford the genuine article.

Both women and men wore an abundance of jewelry during the Georgian era.  Men commonly wore jeweled buttons on the their coats and on the knees of their breeches, and pocket watches with a variety of watch fobs.

Women typically favored a full jewelry parure with a number of matching pieces (necklace, ring, brooch, earrings and bracelet) or demi-parure with two or three matching pieces.

Motifs most frequently found in Georgian jewelry include the sévigné bow, hearts, flower garlands, ribbons and stars.  Designs were typically openwork gold filigree, repousseé, square shaped brooches with pearl borders, ring with crowned-heart motif, and enamel or engraving ornamentation.


Victorian: 1837 – 1901
victorian style jewelryRomance and sentimentality were the major themes of the Victorian age.  Jewels of this period were greatly influenced by Queen Victoria of England, who had a passion for jewelry.  She wore and promoted its use among her subjects, making Great Britain a major jewelry-making center.  By the mid-1800’s, jewelry was being manufactured with a variety of precious metals and gemstones.

Queen Victoria wore mourning jewelry during an extended period of mourning for Prince Albert.  Such pieces typically used black jet, onyx, and human hair; common motifs were clasped hands, crosses, doves and garlands.

Cameos are another item popular during the Victorian era.  The classic subjects traditionally carved on cameos changed from scenes of mythology and legend to the sentimental motif with an anonymous female profile.

Ornamental motifs on Victorian jewelry included grapes, vines, leaves, serpents, hearts, flowers and crescent moons.  Popular gemstones included amethyst, opal, garnet, peridot, coral, citrine, turquoise, carnelian and aquamarine.


Art Nouveau: 1880 – 1914
art nouveau jewelryArt Nouveau began as an innovation of design in both the fine arts and architecture in the late nineteenth century.  As the Industrial Revolution brought advances in science and technology, there was an artistic revolt that generated a new form of expression, which came to be known as Art Nouveau.

The jewelry motifs from this era include nude or semi-nude female figures; female heads in languorous poses; sunbursts; crescents; insects and botanical motifs, many of which were often combined in designs with a dreamlike quality.

The jewelry of the Art Nouveau period stressed artistry and enameling with colored gemstones used to dramatize a design.  The most popular gemstones were moonstones, opal, chalcedony, peridot, amethyst, aquamarine, topaz, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, and turquoise.  The cabochon cut was preferred.


Arts and Crafts: 1890 – 1914
arts crafts jewelryThe Arts and Crafts movement coexisted with Art Nouveau, both emphasizing the aesthetic.  This era countered commercially mass-produced jewelry by emphasizing fine craftsmanship.

Designs were abstract or featured naturalistic themes such as flowers, leaves and garlands.  Rather than precious metals, inexpensive materials such as silver and base metals were used.  Use of enamels and cabochon-cut gemstones instead of faceted ones is another characteristic of the Arts and Crafts period.






Edwardian: 1901 - 1910
edwardian pinJewelry of the Edwardian period reflects the ostentatious style of King Edward VII’s court.  Jewelry of this period is of excellent quality in materials and craftsmanship.  The heavy use of diamonds and platinum are chief characteristics of Edwardian jewelry.  Designs were delicate and elegant, featuring platinum combined with the new gemstone cutting techniques and setting styles. 

Knife-edge settings produced mountings that were nearly invisible, giving the gemstone the appearance of floating without support.  Mille grained (raised edges) settings made diamonds appear larger.

Motifs most frequently found in Edwardian jewelry are good luck symbols, horseshoes, wishbones, doves, hearts, laurel wreaths, ribbon bows, small animals, sun, stars and moon.  Distinctive to the Edwardian period are drop earrings, long bead or pearl sautoirs with tassels, negligee pendants, bar brooches and bangle bracelets.



Art Deco: 1920 - 1940
deco pinArt Deco was a style revolution of straight, clean lines and angles over curves and fluid lines, bold colors over muted ones.

Art Deco drew inspiration from a combination of various influences — Cubism in the art world; architecture; Asian, Islamic, Indian, African and Egyptian art; and the machine age.  Some of the most typical designs reflecting these influences are the lattice motif, pagoda, dragons, Fu dogs, fish, and disks.  Carved and smooth polished jade and coral were commonly used.

Typical of the Art Deco era is jewelry with a “fruit salad” look; rings and brooches made with a combination of diamonds, carved rubies, carved emeralds, and carved sapphires.  Platinum, white gold, and tricolor gold were the most commonly used precious metals. Especially popular was the diamond straight-line bracelet.

The use of Bakelite, an early plastic, was unique to the Art Deco period.  It could be easily molded and dramatically colored.  Bakelite pins, earrings, necklaces and pendants in geometric fruit and floral designs were quite common.


Retro: 1935 - 1950
retro pinAmerican-made jewelry acquired its own style during the Retro period.  Influenced in part by the stars of Hollywood, mounting designs of the period are dramatic and bold, oversized, and flamboyant.  Costume jewelry with base metal and glass pieces of jewelry from this period are set with synthetic rubies, sapphires or emeralds.  Also popular are oversized citrines, smoky quartz, aquamarine, tourmaline, peridot and amber.

The most typical motifs include flowing scrolls, bows, knots, florals, hearts, small animals, insects, birds and snakes.  Most common are charm bracelets with numerous charms, large pendants of bold design, hinged lockets, and pendants that convert to brooches.


  • The Gatehouse at Green Spring Station
  • 10749 Falls Road
  • Lutherville, MD 21093
  • 410-823-5545
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