Part 4: Early 1900s through to vintage 1950s: The amalgamation of jewellery design and techniques
The turn of the century was a time of turbulent change. The industrial revolution of the mid 1800s had paved the way for new technology which was now being utilised throughout the country in every capacity. For the jewellery industry, this meant that jewellers were becoming more sophisticated in the creation of their jewels. During the Edwardian period, which spanned from 1905 until 1920 jewellers favoured elegant designs with advances in technology allowing the use of platinum for the very first time. It is typical to see jewels of this period with platinum settings which brighten and enhance the sparkle of the diamond.
Due to the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867, accessibility of this gemstone increased. Creative solitaire designs emerged featuring flora and fauna motifs on the shoulders for elegant decoration. Naturalistic forms inspired by the Art Nouveau movement also surfaced during this period in the form of the crossover design. Usually set with two alternating gemstones such as diamond, emerald, sapphire, ruby or natural pearl. The sentiment behind the design is said to represent the two betrothed and therefore gained the name ‘Toi Et Moi’ translated from French as ‘you and me’. Seaman Schepps an illustrious New York jeweller presented his wife with an unusual diamond and opal crossover ring upon their engagement in 1910.
Moving away from the conformity of the past the trend for platinum engagement rings quickened in the 1920s to 1940s. This period, known as the Art Deco period introduced geometric design, straight lines and square and baguette cut gemstones. The unusual yet simplistic aesthetic seen in pieces from the Art Deco movement continue to impress today. From clusters utilising the new square cuts inspired by the cubism artistic movement to solitaires with graduating diamond baguette shoulders these creations are timeless.
Retro jewels from the 1940s and 1950s are typified by raised settings and bold statement pieces. Rich yellow gold is used in abundance during this period with colourful gemstones and playful settings. Platinum is also seen throughout the period so a combination of styles and techniques were utilised showing the amalgamation of yesteryear designs alongside the inventive creations of the day.
Our collections at Berganza follow the innovation and romance seen in each time period. With ingenuity and skill seen in the craftsmanship of every piece, you are sure to find the perfect ring to mark your special occasion.