In the UK, the Edwardian era covered the period from the coronation of King Edward VII in 1901 up until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 and was known as a romantic age full of opulence, elegance, and style, all of which can be seen in the jewelry of the time. Here we bring you everything you need to know about Edwardian jewelry.
The King and his wife (Alexandra of Denmark) were part of a very wealthy elite which showcased jewelry with a newfound elegance, heavily influenced by European and Art Nouveau fashions.
Its important to understand the impact that the royals had on the fashion of the day, and Alexandra, in particular, was a very popular figure.
Shes been described as the Diana of her day, and quickly became a fashion icon.
In fact, when she first arrived on English soil she was greeted by a crowd of no less than 80,000!
Her influence was soon seen on jewelry when she once wore a choker simply to cover up a small scar, and within days they were flying off shelves around the country.
This period was, unfortunately, a short one, with the light-hearted attitude of the time cut abruptly short by the outbreak of war in 1914.
People started to either sell or hide their jewelry around this time, and the use of platinum severely dried up as it was used in the war effort.
Reflecting the carefree, excessive attitudes of the time, the jewelry included lots of things such as garlands, ribbons, and bows.
But manufacturing methods also had an impact upon the style of jewelry at this time, as pieces were able to be made at much higher temperatures.
This meant that jewelers could now create all white pieces made from platinum, mounted with old-cut and rose-cut diamond, and the popularity of platinum has endured to the modern day.
While diamonds were definitely the preferred gemstone of the time, moonstones and pearls were often also used to complement them, and sapphires and aquamarines were also seen.
Electric green demantoid garnets from Russia also proved popular as they were prized for their rarity.
The strength of platinum allowed jewelers to make even more intricate and detailed pieces, with some pieces so detailed that it appears that theyre set in lace instead of metal.
Jewelry of the time was very light and dainty anyway and women tended to wear a lot of white, keeping their whole outfit very light and airy.
Another new method which came to prominence was milgraining, where a small border of platinum beads is set around the edge of a piece.
Another period which is separate from the Edwardian, but overlapped with it is the Art Nouveau period.
This was seen as a revolt against the advancements of the Industrial revolution and while it was another short period, it produced a lot of great pieces.
This movement placed much more emphasis on handcrafted pieces which showed off creative designs.
These pieces were sometimes quite controversial for this use of the female form (often naked!).