As is clear when searching through antique jewellery, it is categorised by the era in which it was made. Georgian is the oldest of those eras, so to help you understand more about this fantastic era of jewellery which spanned over 100 years, here are 10 things you need to know about it.
1. When The Georgian Era Was
The Georgian Era is acknowledged as spanning from 1714 to 1830 (sometimes 1837) and takes its name from the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain, George I, George II, George III and George IV.
2. Social Significance
The Georgian Era was massively significant in terms of social change, with the abolition of slavery and reforms in the Church of England.
The periods jewellery also played its part. Pre-1714, jewellery was to be worn only by the aristocracy as part of the sumptuary laws, however, as the Georgian era developed it became acceptable for the emerging middle class to were items of elegance as well.
3. Global Jewellery
While the Georgian Period is a name given to date British history and therefore British jewellery, the term is also used to describe products from all over the world at this time.
As the British Empire expanded, its influence was felt all around the world. It was also influenced by all of the cultures it encountered, something which is reflected in the jewellery of the period.
4. Jewellery Diversity
Unlike many periods, which have one distinctive style associated with them, the Georgian has numerous, simply because of its considerable length.
Historians break it down into three types of Georgian Jewellery, early, mid, and late, all of which are distinctively different.
5. Metal Use
Georgian Jewellery is distinguishable by the metal it is made from. The majority is made from 18 carat yellow gold or silver.
While it is not uncommon to come across steel or iron made jewellery, the Georgian period saw no use of platinum or white gold.
6. Handcrafted Production
Unlike the Victorian Era, during which the industrial revolution was in full flow, the Georgian had to rely on more humble and personal mode of production.
Even in the latter years of the Georgian era, the majority of jewellery was handcrafted by skilled jewellers.
7. Rare Jewellery
Despite there being an abundance of Georgian jewellery out there in comparison to that which predates the period, it is till considered pretty rare in the antique world.
You are much more likely to find Georgian jewellery dated after 1750 both because of the change in sumptuary law and that older jewellery was recycled as styles changed later in the period.
8. Georgian Gem Stones
Georgian jewellery has a great variety of gemstones which includes topaz, garnet, emerald, ruby, coral and pearls.
Diamonds were also very popular and will often be rose cuts. Interestingly even back in the Georgian era, they created simulated stones such as paste as a cheaper alternative for a diamond effect.
9. Lack of Hallmarks
Frustratingly, it can be difficult to pinpoint a Georgian pieces origin unlike jewellery from later eras because Hallmarking wasnt totally established.
This lack of regulation during the era means that to ensure a piece is genuinely Georgian, it often has to be checked by antique experts.
10. Reproduction Jewellery
Due to the potential value of pieces from the period, in the modern day, there are plenty of fake Georgian pieces on the market.
These fakes use similar materials from the period and metals like silver are artificially aged to appear more than 200 years old.
You have to be very aware of terminology like Georgian Style which is a deceptive way of saying reproduction. Always ensure you know what you are buying before committing to any deal.
The Georgian period and its jewellery serve as one of the richest periods in our history, and for that, it should be respected and nurtured. Check out our range of Georgian jewellery here.