From delicate, intricately designed Victorian pieces to chunky and large Retro items, antique fine jewelry (British spelling: jewellery) is a popular collectible that represents the different eras in which it was worn. Jewelry has been made for centuries in a variety of materials and styles and is still evolving today. Although specific items (such as necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and brooches) have remained popular through the ages, they vary in design and materials depending on the era.
Queen Victoria’s rule began in 1837, marking the beginning of the Victorian period, which would last until 1901. During this time, a demand for jewelry in the mass market emerged, and semi-precious stones were often used to keep jewelry affordable. Mourning jewelry and pieces with sentimental motifs became popular.
The Edwardian period, which lasted from 1901 to 1910, produced delicate and elegant jewelry. Diamonds and pearls set in platinum were in vogue, as were chokers, negligee pendants, and long strings of pearls worn as necklaces.
Art Nouveau from the late 1890s until the mid-1910s usually featured natural designs, such as flowers or the female form. Glass and semi-precious stones were often used in Art Nouveau jewelry, and enamel was introduced.
Between the mid-1920s and '30s, Art Deco grew in popularity and featured geometric lines, sharp angles, and bright colors. Diamonds regained popularity and pearls continued to be in vogue, worn in a string as either a necklace or a bracelet.
Certain antique jewelry pieces have significant personal meanings (for example, love, religious devotion, or mourning) or practical applications (for example, fastening or securing) in addition to being aesthetically pleasing.
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Market Comments 7/30/2015Rapaport, July 30th
United States: Market activity centered on the various jewelry shows that took place in New York this past week – including the Antique Jewelry and Watch Show, JA New York, the IWJG show and JCK Luxury Privé. Despite weekend visitor traffic, sales were ...Read more
Pearls! Kathy Grenier and I Talk Luster at Jewelry Camp Today and TomorrowJCK (blog), July 30th
This annual conclave for estate and antique jewelry lovers is also called the Antique Jewelry & Art Conference, and this year marks its 38th event. It takes place at the Westchester Renaissance Hotel in West Harrison, N.Y., and draws both professionals...Read more
Skinner Live Auction in Boston, Online Sales, and Open for Business in NYCMaine Antique Digest, July 30th
She brings “nearly 13 years of experience in the auction and antique jewelry market, eight of those in New York” to the role and is also serving as the liaison between clients and other experts in the Skinner organization for “consignment and appraisal ...Read more
Weekly Roundup of eBay Vintage Jewelry FindsHuffington Post, July 23rd
No time to page through thousands of eBay listings? Then just sneak a peek at my Weekly eBay Roundup of top vintage jewelry finds. The antique and vintage jewelry items in this eclectic mix caught my discerning eye because of their uniqueness, ...Read more
Foot-jewelry designer Shirley Zago found inspiration overseasEdmonton Journal, July 23rd
Instead of buying beads and making jewelry from scratch, she reimagines vintage and antique jewelry — taking it apart and refashioning it. She also takes personal requests, repurposing a prized piece so the customer can wear it in a modern way...Read more
Flip This Jewelry: Ex Voto Vintage Gives Lost Treasures New LifeStyleBlueprint (blog), July 20th
Elizabeth Adams discovered this word when flipping through a magazine a few years back, not knowing it would ultimately become the label for the artist's breakthrough success—a thriving designer jewelry business. Elizabeth dabbled in art all her life...Read more
Antique shops lure visitors, collectors to SussexDelmarva Daily Times, July 16th
Though some shops, like Chatelaine's Antique Jewelry in Lewes specializes in a specific type of collectible, many of the others carry a variety of antiques — large and small — that span centuries in age. However, because of space constraints, some...Read more
Jewelry District: Ghost of its former selfThe Providence Journal, July 4th
Even though he's in his early 90s, he still drives his 11-year-old car, a Lexus ES 330, to his small shop on South Street, where he works on antique jewelry or fills small orders for tiny hand-painted enamel doves and hearts. “It's nice to get up in...Read more