Following on from the Aesthetic period in Victorian jewellery, themes from Art Nouveau continued through to 1910. Art Nouveau and its influence became quite a feature of the Edwardian period. This movement was inspired by nature, with curving lines and organic shapes, with jewellery often being quite stylised and artistic. Edwardian jewellers took inspiration from Art Nouveau in the form of the elegant curving shapes and floral clusters. This movement in jewellery was a bridge between the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
One of the key developments was the use of the new metal, platinum. It was first seen in jewellery at the beginning of the Edwardian period. This opened up a new world for jewellery makers. At this time, platinum was largely used in the settings of pieces, for example the claws or grains that would hold the stones in place. It was used for its strength, and also its ability to be finely worked. Craftsmen were able to achieve intricate ornate work with platinum that was not possible with gold or silver. Platinum provided a delicate, lacy look which had strength and a natural whiteness. It could be lightly dotted into millegrain settings which provided an apparent lightness to earrings and enhanced sparkle. Articulated centre stones within pendant drops were popular and were designed to sway and flow with movement.
The combination of platinum and the growing availability of diamonds from Africa produced new themes which came to define the Belle Époque era, another main feature of Edwardian jewellery. These involved elegant swags, garlands, bows and ribbons. These motifs were used in girandole earrings, and dangling pendant drops. Similarly with the influence of nature, pansies, floral motifs, and daisy clusters, both drops and studs, along with single diamond earrings were in fashion. These were exquisite earrings of a new style and overall look to those of times before.
Coloured stones for example sapphire, ruby, emerald, tourmaline, turquoise, demantoid garnet, pearl, peridot and amethyst, became more available and were sourced from all over the world. These provided pops of colour next to bright diamonds, often in newly platinum topped settings.
A time of elegance and new craftsmanship, the Edwardian period produced some very fine earrings that are extremely wearable. Find your perfect pair of original antique Edwardian earrings in our collection at Berganza.