23 April 2015

Georgian Jewellery

The Georgian period, 1714-1837, was defined by the four Georges from the Hanoverian Monarchs of the United Kingdom. This period of time, being most of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th, was a time of rapid and intense societal change, where eccentric and fascinating individuals and events began transforming the world.

As a result of the change in society, luxuries such as jewellery were no longer just owned by aristocracy and was now becoming more widely available for members of the middle class. With a change in their attitude to life and the extreme dedication to look stunning for social events meant that a great and competitive demand for jewellery was created, but even with the huge amounts of change in fashion between now and then, many cherished examples we have today are still timeless.

In the Georgian era however, certain styles of jewellery were designated to a certain time of the day. During the day, women would wear a necklace or a pocket watch on a chain with a cameo pin and very small coloured natural stone rings that matched their bracelets and earrings not forgetting the most important piece; the Chatelaine. This was a piece of jewellery that would be hung from a belt with chains covered in all kinds of coloured stones such as garnet, emerald and ruby. Middle class women took a shine to deep sea treasures, wanting coral and pearls matched with ivory and turquoise.

The gentleman's equivalent was a superb set of status advertising shoe buckles and buttons, which were studded with diamonds and gemstones.

An example of Georgian jewellery from Spectrum at Grays Antiques

The evening was a completely separate story however, with rose cut and mine cut diamonds stealing the show. The most popular way to showcase these delights were in a diamond riviere, or a "river of light" delicately set into a line of silver which was shined until it glimmered almost as much as the diamonds.

Another staple item was Girandole earrings. These beautiful creations were designed with a bow motif at the clasp, which would hold below it another stunning shape, which had a drop that lined pearls or stones to a chosen length. The evolution of earring style changed here, as the clip-on earring was invented so that women with un-pierced ears could enjoy the delicate pieces.

Sylvie at Spectrum has two stunning sets of Georgian natural pearl tassle/bell drop earrings on gold wires. These items can be found at Grays Antiques, or you can contact Sylvie at 020 7629 3501 or sylviespectrum@hotmail.com.

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