Victorian Era1830 - 1900
The Victorian Era (circa 1830 – 1900) was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign in the British Empire, a long period of peace, prosperity, and refined sensibilities. It was during this era that the middle class emerged, sparking a demand for jewelry. The jewelry styles that were popular in that era mostly revived Greek, Roman, and Egyptian jewelry styles with the added influence of Gothic and Renaissance motifs.
Art Nouveau1890 - 1915
The natural world and Japanese art inspired the Art Nouveau Era (circa 1890 – 1915). This style mostly associates designs of plants and animals and creatures of fantasy. The style was most popular in Europe, but had a global influence, with the movement spreading rapidly in the US.
Edwardian Era1900 - 1910
The Edwardian Era (circa 1900-1910) was the period of King Edward VII’s reign in the British Empire. Years later, it was sentimentalized as the “Belle Époque”. It was characterized by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity, and technological and scientific inventions. The upper class of Europe and the US would wear jewelry made of the finest and most costly gems and precious metals as a demonstration of their immense wealth. The jewelry style of the era is called the Garland style, as it includes mostly motifs like a garland of flowers with ribbons and bows.
Art Deco1920 - 1930
The Art Deco Period (circa 1920 – 1930) is an influential visual arts design style that was first started in France just before World War I and became widespread internationally in the 1920s. Art Deco jewelry was a reaction against the sensuality of Art Nouveau and the elegance of the Edwardian style; it used strong geometric patterns to show post-war practicality. Diamonds were trendy in the period, while the Art Deco style itself was representative of the flamboyant and playful attitudes of the era.
Retro1940 - 1949
The Retro Era (circa 1940 – 1949) was set against the backdrop of economic depression and world war. Retro jewelry is easily identifiable by the use of bright, highly polished yellow and rose gold. It rounded the sharp and rigid angles of the art deco period and was highly influenced by Hollywood and all its glamour. Due to the beginning of World War II in 1939, platinum became scarce, and gold was the metal of choice. Jewelry was also created on a larger scale with bold cocktail rings and whimsical bracelets being the signature pieces of the period.
Fifties1950 - 1959
The 1950s could be renamed the diamond era—the time of Harry Winston, where it was all about the stone. The age of bright diamonds mounted neatly on their bands—a time where simplicity spoke for itself.
Sixties and Seventies1960 - 1979
The 1960-70s was a tumultuous period that gave us the moon landing, the flower power, and The Beatles. It was a time of unprecedented social change, and its effect on fashion and jewelry was unmistakable. The era of old Hollywood, filled with glitz and glamour, were household names like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Cary Grant graced the big screen. Original designs in gold and diamonds were typical of this period, and jewelry pieces often incorporate the intense colors of coral, lapis lazuli, turquoise, or onyx to reflect oriental cultures like India and Persia. Designers of the ’60-’70s opted for more vibrant and unusual color palettes and asymmetrical designs.
Eighties and Nineties1980 - 1999
Jewelry of the 1980-1990s came as a consequence of a change in society. It was a time of significant social movements for equality. Women were fighting for their rights in the workplace, and this era represented women, buying jewelry for themselves, not as wives but as independent working women. The 1980s was also the time and birth of the Internet and the Motorola phone. The jewelry was as confident as women, as progressive as the innovations, and as loud as the new age of music—a time where it was all gold, the bigger, the better, a time of golden opulence.