Jewelry in History

by Steve Hill

This article is a brief discussion on jewelry in history from ancient Greece to present day.

Looking back over the past centuries, it is very evident that jewelry has been a vital part of our society. Beginning with ancient Greece, jewelry has been worn by men and women alike. More recently, during the Georgian period from the early 1700s to the mid 1800s, jewelry designs were predominantly nature themed with flowers, leaves, insects, birds and feathers engraved or carved. Gemstones were favored during this time along with agates, intaglios and cabochon cut stones.

Later in the 1800s, during the early Victorian Period, scrollwork, floral sprays and animal themes were the dominant style.

These styles were intermingled with multi-colored gold and many pieces of enameled jewelry began during this period. The late Victorian Period up to 1900 brought diamonds into popularity. Bird, insect and animal themes were set in metal and many pieces began implementing the use of spring mechanisms. Delicate pendants of colored stones and pearls were also highly popular during this time.

During the time from 1900 until 1950, the styles and designs of jewelry changed rapidly and substantially. Early in the 1900s jewelry became very delicate and feminine. Bows, ribbons, urns, starts and small flower garlands were seen widely during this time. Platinum on yellow gold with diamond trim or large diamonds with smaller diamonds for accents became very popular during this era. Art Deco also became popular during the early 1900s. During this time diamonds and platinum were used widely without any regard to their cost. Stones were cut into triangles and other shapes along with colored gemstones such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds and onyx to create beautiful and contrasting combinations.

During World War II much of the gold and silver and all of the platinum were needed to fund military spending.

During this time the American jewelry market burst into its own. Colored gold in beautiful yellows, pinks and greens were developed. Designs were also developed that used three dimensional and sculptured ribbons, bows and folds that resembled fabrics. After the war the jewelry became much less romantic and took on more of a militaristic look.

It was during the 1950s that the use of abstract sprays of diamonds in mixed cuts and starbursts were first introduced. Textured gold was also introduced and the look virtually dominated the 1950s with Florentine finishes, twisted rope, braided wire and meshing. During this decade it was customary to wear gold jewelry without gemstones during the day while diamonds and other stones were worn for evenings. Amethyst, turquoise and coral were among the most popular colored gemstones. White cultured pearls were also becoming highly popular for both day and night wear.

Jumping ahead to the 1970s, jewelry took on a complete new look. Jewelry designers looked to create a unique and different approach to jewelry styles. Non-precious metals such as rock crystal, ivory and coral were being used more widely. Baguette diamonds were also designed into solitaires and were worn during both the day and night.

During the 1980s glitz and glamour were a desired look. While the wedding of Princess Diana to Prince Charles gave women all over the world the desire for jewelry with a classy and sophisticated elegance, television shows such as Dallas had women yearning for a more glamorous approach to their jewelry. Colored pearls were highly popular and the overall designs of jewelry ranged from large and chunky to small and elegant. This is also the decade in which the pierced ears with up to five different earrings in one ear began.

Many of these same jewelry styles and trends are evident today. Typically jewelry never goes out of style. Many antique pieces from decades past are still highly fashionable and can be worn today without much notice. Jewelry has been part of our lives since nearly the dawn of time and it is highly evident that it will remain so for many years to come.

Steve Hill is a webmaster from Birmingham, he has interests in a number of websites including: stuttering, Jewelry in history, Rosetta Stone. Article Source: EzineArticle.

Related Articles:

The Dawn of Jewelry
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