A diverse period in jewelry history! Yellow gold was the metal of choice. The
49'ER "Gold Rush" brought with it a gold fever. Silver laid over gold was
occasionally used for the setting of diamonds. Black was "in" as Queen
Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, dies in 1861 and the whole country
mourned for 60 years alongside their beloved Queen. Black enamel and jet
jewelry were the fashion statements of the day. Pearls were the fashion
representing tears for the departed. Memorial jewelry became the "style".
Grape and wheat clusters, female figures sitting by a weeping willow tree and
locks of hair of a loved one were incorporated into a piece of jewelry. More
revivals, Etruscan, Egyptian, Moorish, Roman, Greek and Gothic, occurred in
this period than any other period. Goldsmithing was at its highest level of
achievement. Love token jewelry in the form of lockets and rings with heart
motifs as romantic sentiments engraved on the piece was widely worn.
Art Nouveau

A very important period aesthetically and artistically. Art Nouveau evokes
images of sensuousness, the Gaiety of Paris, Toulouse Lautrec and silent film
star Sarah Bernhardt who had an impressive collection of Art Nouveau jewelry,
particularly in enamel by the Art Nouveau master, Rene Lalique. Jewelry was
often three-dimensional and sculptural and was softened by the use of
precious stones and Plique-a-jour enameling which gave the appearance of
stained glass windows. Nature was a major theme. Trees, flowers of all species,
dragonflies, swans, peacocks and snakes were some of the many forms
reinterpreted and exaggerated. The female figure was exalted and depicted
with long, flowing hair, dreamy and exotic. Its design roots can be traced to a
blending of Gothic arts, Celtic linear interlaces and spirals, asymmetrical
Rococo curves and other exotic influences coming from Africa and Japan.

King Edward VII and his elegant wife Queen Alexandra led English society to
new taste levels so sophistication and elegance became the definitive style of
this period. Edwardian jewels reflected gracious delicacy with ribbons, bows,
swags and tassels, decorated décolletè dresses of lace, embroidery and
fringe of pale hues. Toward the end of the 19th century, diamonds were found
in quantity in South Africa. Quantities of platinum were also discovered in
Kimberly, South Africa early in the 20th century and it became the favored
metal for this period's diamond jewelry. Its malleability and strength made
working intricate, pierced open-work into the metal much easier than did gold.
Platinum also retained a high degree of reflectivity and luminosity giving this
period's jewelry its own special beauty.
Art Deco

political elements blended together to create an air of restlessness and A period
of seduction! The Age of "Speed" and "Speakeasy's". Social and recklessness.
Women bobbed their hair, wore dresses up to their knees and did not wear
corsets! In the Roaring "20's" dancing was much more free and women wore
long gold necklaces, which swung with their every movement. Long multiple
strands of pearls were also a must for the new flapper dress. The glamour of
"Hollywood" was very much in vogue. It created a media blitz and became
national news. To further distract people from the memories of war and the
Great Depression, the frivolity and glamour of Hollywood and Broadway was
captured in Deco jewelry. Clear, bold, symmetrical geometric lines, and
contrasting stone colors defined the feeling of skyscrapers as well. Luxury was
the key word in Deco jewelry. Many fine jewelry houses, Cartier, Boucheron,
Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Marcus & Co. became famous for their opulent
designs. The sleek and sexy jewelry from this period satisfied the needs of a
new class, the "Nouveau Riche", who desired to display their glamorous and
fashionable lifestyle.