Georgian Jewelry

Georgian Jewelry

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1714-1840

The Georgian period covered the reigns of five English kings — George I, II, III, IV, and William IV, who ruled in succession from 1714 to 1837. Several historical events in Europe influenced Georgian jewelry motifs and designs. Jewels from this era include the earliest pieces in our collection. Authentic Georgian pieces are exceptionally rare as many of them were taken apart or reworked to fit later styles.

Styles from the period were dramatic and ornate, thanks partly to intricate metalwork techniques such as repoussé (the hammering of metal into ornate designs) and cannetille (a method of working the gold wire to make it look woven). Popular motifs included flowers, crescents, ribbons, bows, leaves, feather plumes, and sprays of foliage, designs that are still popular nearly 300 years later!

Jewelers handcrafted all the jewelry of this period with incredibly labor-intensive processes. The general consensus at the time was to waste as little of the rough diamonds as possible. Therefore, they were faceted around their original shapes. Diamond cutters introduced exciting new types of gem cuts. In addition to Rose cut, and Table cut diamonds, other cuts were prevalent, including Old Mine and Cushion cut. The Marquise cut was invented during the Georgian era, as well. Gemstones were regularly backed by foil during this period to intensify colors and provide another layer of luminescence in candlelight. Closed-back, foiled jewellery was therefore the signature style of the Georgian era for gemstones.