Estate jewelry, also known as vintage or antique, has seen a resurgence in its popularity and value lately. Many younger consumers are realizing the unique fashion opportunities that vintage pieces offer as well as the inherent value in something “old”. Antique jewelry is often a “one of a kind” or custom-made piece or a style that is no longer made. The quality and craftsmanship of estate jewelry is of a caliber that is often times not found in today’s “manufactured” marketplace. Different eras are represented by styles unique to that time period which gives estate jewelry a historical value as well. We offer a unique and varied collection of estate & antique jewelry and we buy estate pieces as well. Visit our store often as our collection is always growing and changing. We look forward to helping you find your own piece of history!
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This era encompasses three periods. Early Victorian design, during the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign, often incorporated Gothic and Renaissance styles in 18K-22K gold. The mid-Victorian era coincided with the Industrial Revolution, which also enabled mechanized gem mining and mass-production of jewelry embraced by the growing middle class. Jewelry of this period was more decorated, because increased supplies of colored gems, pearls and South African diamonds made it more economically feasible. Following the death of Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, styles changed as the Queen adopted somber mourning jewelry that typically included black onyx, tortoise shell and hair – often horse hair – set in heavy goldwork.
Art Nouveau (1890-1915)
Coming out the dour period of late Victoriana, Art Nouveau was typified by the interplay of light, color and flowing lines throughout the decorative arts. The emblematic jewelers of this period – Louis Comfort Tiffany, Rene Lalique and Georges Fouquet – were inspired by nature and classical mythology. Flowers dragonflies, and goddess – like women were often surrounded by ethereal vines or wings. These jewels also used new materials – including shell, horn and moonstones – and enameling techniques. Art Nouveau jewelry gained value more from its beauty and design than from the worth of this materials.
Concurrent with Art Nouveau, the Edwardian period in jewelry reflected the establishment tastes of the English aristocracy and wealthy U.S. industrialists. Designs were light and elegant yet formal. Platinum was the favored metal, and its strength allowed setting diamonds, colored gemstones and pearls so they appear to float in the lacy, delicate designs of the period.
Art Deco (1920-1939)
A reaction to the more natural Art Nouveau movement, Art Deco jewelry features high contrasts in color and streamlined, angular designs. Black and white – in metals and gems – was the preferred combination, though deeply saturated ruby, emerald, sapphire, coral, onyx and lapis lazuli were popular also.