By Danielle Olivia Tefft, Jewelry Writer
All Edwardian jewelry (1901-1910) has passed the 100 year old mark and is now officially classified as antique. Edwardian period jewelry is often referred to as Bell Époque jewelry outside of Great Britain and America. Bell Époque is a French term that translates as “Beautiful Era.” The Bell-Époque period was actually a longer time span. It ran from the 1870s until the beginning of World War I in 1914.
Edwardian society was influenced by a mixture of continued industrial and scientific progress and backlash against the brooding, restrained mood of Victorian times. Women shed the heavy layers of fabric their Victorian counterparts wore in favor of lighter dresses in which they could move about more freely.
The jewelry of the day followed suit: Much of it was light and airy looking and extremely feminine. The beautiful designs of Edwardian jewelry were typically lace-like and had intricate filigree. Lavalieres, lace pins, buckles and brooches with Art Nouveau flowing lines and ephemeral silhouettes of dancing women, fairies and animals (the Lalique influence) were enormously popular. Other favorite design themes were bows and flowers.
Edwardian jewelry was heavily influenced by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII (for whom the Edwardian period is named), who ascended the British throne when Queen Victoria passed away. Queen Alexandra’s favorite color was mauve and his was light green, so much of the jewelry of the period features peridot and amethyst gemstones or like-colored imitations. Pearls, worn by Queen Alexandra in fabulous dog collars and long lavish ropes, also became enormously popular.
Platinum had been discovered in the mid 1800’s in Russia. But it was not until the turn of the century that jewelers figured out a way to obtain the high temperatures required to shape it. Once they did, extremely fine, lacey looking jewelry could be made of platinum. This jewelry was much stronger than its gold or silver counterparts. Thankfully for modern collectors, platinum ensured the delicate, lacey-looking designs craved by Edwardian ladies could be made to endure the ages.
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Danielle Olivia Tefft is a professional writer with a lifelong passion for gems, jewelry and fashion. She is a GIA accredited jewelry professional and the owner of online antique and vintage jewelry shop, Treasure Box Antiques. Current projects include ghostwriting jewelry and fashion blogs for clients worldwide. When she is not writing, she spends time in the garden, spoiling her cats and traveling with her significant other. Would you like to hire her to write for you? Visit her website danielleoliviatefftwrites.com for clips, terms and more information.
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