History of Jewellery

A history of jewellery from the Georgian period onwards

Georgian Jewellery - 1714 to 1830 

The pieces below are available to purchase.  Please click on the links.

Georgian Jewellery covers the period of the reigns of King George I to King George IV.  The period is famous for its Memento Mori jewellery meaning 'remember you will die'.  This jewellery is often considered to be morbid as it features coffins skulls skeletons and sometimes even taxidermy.  The period also had less gruesome mourning jewellery, with brooches and rings set with hair from the deceased or decorated with their initials and dates of passing.  The period also saw lavish stone set pieces, often with floral nature inspired designs, and with beautiful forms such as bows and crowns.  There were also beautiful portrait pieces.

Above is a selection of beautiful Georgian Jewellery we have for sale.  Please click on the links beneath the photos to view these on our website. 

More Vintage & Antique Jewellery for sale

Victorian Jewellery - 1837 to 1901

The pieces below are available to purchase.  Please click on the links.

Much of the jewellery from the Victorian period was heavily influenced by the pieces that Victoria herself wore.  After the death of her husband Prince Albert in 1861, Victoria began wearing dark pieces of jewellery as part of her mourning attire.  This was predominantly made from Jet.  Such pieces became popular for all those mourning the death of a loved one and Victorian mourning jewellery was born.  Many pieces were set with locks of hair as a special keepsake of the deceased, and many pieces were were inscribed with terms of endearment such as 'Remember' and 'In Memoriam'.  They were also, often inscribed with names and dates.

On a happier note the Victorian period, also saw the birth of cheerier sentimental jewellery.  This is often referred to as 'Sweetheart' jewellery.  This jewellery was mainly in the form of brooches and lockets, and such pieces were given as special gifts to loved ones.  Pieces decorated with hearts and arrows symbolised love and admiration, whilst pieces with anchors, crosses and hearts, represented faith hope and charity.  Pieces decorated with flowers, birds and other creatures took on many different meanings.  Forget Me Not flowers in particular were popular, symbolising remembrance, and Ivy leaves represented marriage and an everlasting love.  Snakes represented eternal love, Dogs represented fertilty, Doves represented a blissful domestic life, Butterflies symbolised the soul, and clasped hands represented friendship.  

Name brooches and place brooches were also very popular during the Victorian period.   These are very collectible today.  The rarer the name or the place, the more valuable it is to the collector.  Most name brooches have the names applied in fancy script lettering, and most place brooches are engraved with the names of towns.  Similar Victorian brooches with engraved Cathedrals and Churches, are very collectible too.  These types of brooches date from the late Victorian period and were so popular that they continued to be manufactured well into the Edwardian period!

Above is a selection of beautiful Victorian Jewellery we have for sale.  Please click on the links beneath the photos to view these on our website.

More Victorian Jewellery for sale

Art Nouveau Jewellery - 1890 to 1914

The pieces below are available to purchase.  Please click on the links.

The Art Nouveau period is probably most famous for its jewellery of beautiful female figures with long flowing locks of hair.  Many of the designs of these female figures were greatly inspired by the paintings of the Art Nouveau Czechoslovakian artist, Alphonse Mucha.  Other similar designs include cherubs and religious figures.

The most beautiful pieces of Art Nouveau jewellery are those with designs of organic forms such as flowers and leaves.  Tulips, roses, orchids and pansies were very popular.  There were also beautiful designs with insects, such as dragonflies and butterflies.  Many of these designs were decorated with enamel, with blue, green and purple being the most popular colours used.  Oranges and yellows were also used but much less frequently.  These pieces are naturally much harder to find, and are highly sought after by collectors of Nouveau jewellery.

Art Nouveau jewellery has become very popular over the last 20 years or so, and we are seeing many modern revival pieces.  In particular there are pieces inspired by the works of Art Nouveau architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and beautiful colourful enameled pieces by designers such as Pat Cheney.

Above is a selection of beautiful Art Nouveau Jewellery that we have for sale.  Please click on the links beneath the photos to view these on our website.


... to follow

Edwardian and Art Deco jewellery

Find More Vintage & Antique Jewellery here, or click on the tabs to our individual ranges.

Enjoy £10 OFF your 1st order + FREE WORLDWIDE SHIPPING - Enter code NCD10 at checkout

We ship worldwide for free!  Call us on 07595 492846 7 days a week!

UK shipping is fast by Next Day Special Delivery.

International shipping is delivered fast within 5-7 working days.

As a new customer you can enjoy £10 off your 1st order.  As a returning customer you can enjoy a 15% loyalty discount.

Our jewellery is sent in new presentation boxes or in their original boxes when available.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter For Exclusive Reader Discounts & A Free Jewellery Polishing Cloth.

Visit our sister site The Old Jewellery Box Shop for beautiful Antique Jewellery Boxes.