The Edwardian era, dating from 1901 to 1910, gained its name from the English monarch of the time, King Edward VII. In France, this period (1895-1914) was called Belle Epoque, translated as the ‘beautiful era’ and drew inspiration from the eighteenth century court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Edwardian and Belle Epoque rings are famous for their refined elegance.
Jewellery of this period rejected the ostentatious and bulkier yellow gold carved detailing of the Victorian period, and instead welcomed in delicate and lacy designs. Jewellery showing off the ‘garland’ style incorporated motifs such as bows, ribbons and tassels, as well as naturalistic floral and foliate imagery.
Advances in technology permitted platinum, a naturally white and extremely strong precious metal, to be used for the first time in jewellery creations. This strength permitted the rings of this period to be airy and light whilst still being strong and wearable, either used just in the settings in combination with yellow gold for the shank, or later on for the ring as a whole in platinum.
The newly discovered South African diamond mines were the key reason that diamonds became more readily available. The whiteness of the platinum settings perfectly accentuated the brilliance of the diamonds, providing a bright, white appearance for the first time. Whilst this all white look was very popular, that did not prevent an array of coloured gemstones being used and displayed beautifully against the new pure white settings.