GEORGIAN JEWELRY

September 26, 2018 by
Filed under: Jewelry 

Genuine Georgian Earrings in Box

Baroque jewelry was popular in early Georgian times and was highly intricate in design. Often it would contain exacting symmetry and very “open” designs, almost like lacework. The often overly ornate designs were better suited to necklaces and brooches, and so the best designs were reserved for those pieces.

Baroque jewelry came into fashion as a result of the reign of the French Emperor, Louis XIV. Louis demanded that people at court show their wealth in material terms, sewn into their clothing when they visited him. This caused something of a race to the bottom in that subtlety and finesse quickly changed to opulence and vulgarity. Mountains of metal and gemstones became common, and the trend for bolder jewelry made its way across the English Channel. Fortunately, designs were somewhat more subtle than the French courtier’s efforts. The pieces were, however, still far bigger and more colorful than anything known previously.

Baroque jewelry has seen a real renaissance in the past few years, with new pieces in the style becoming very much sought after.

Because the period lasted so long, there were several style changes during that time. These are the Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical periods.

All three of the design styles in the Georgian era suffered similar problems with the availability of precious metals and gemstones. At the time, the world was still very much beset with conflict. This meant that being that there was a lack of raw materials, many existing pieces of jewelry were re-appropriated to pay for the wars. This is especially true towards the end of the 18th century and into the early 19th.

Sadly, as a result, very little genuine Georgian  jewelry exists today. As well as the reduced number of pieces being produced or surviving ones being used to finance the army abroad, Georgian jewelers had the habit of melting down pieces that went out of fashion. They would then re-use the metals and reset the gemstones. Even pieces that might have survived are very difficult to identify, as both makers and assay marks didn’t come into common use until much later. If a genuine piece of Georgian jewelry appears, it is far more likely to be dated towards the end of the period than the beginning.

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