Georgian Era: 1714-1837
This era spanned for 120 years, through King George I and ending at King George IV. Given the dates of this era, the tools used were primitive. Making the pieces fragile, and less likely to stand the test of time, most high-end specimens are in museums most in desperate need of repair. Making Georgian era jewelry a true treasure. This era has a dark, moody aesthetic made up of pearls, sapphires, foil-backed diamonds, rubies, garnet, topaz, glass, and paste. Common cuts for this time are unlike what we see today. Most common are old mine cuts, single cuts, antique cushion cuts and rose cuts. These are cuts made by hand, using candle or sunlight. Foil-backing gems was assumed to brighten them along with intensifying the color. With machines in short supply during this time, jewelry was hand formed, hand carved and handset. An art that has evolved over time, with these hand done creations makers marks or assay stamps are uncommon and nearly nonexistent (assay marks are enforced in the 1900’s). Metals were more brittle in turn harder to manipulate, typical materials used are 18K yellow gold and silver.
Popular motifs from this era are flowers, crescents, bows, and foliage incorporating shapes like the navette and ovals to interpret these beautiful designs. The Georgian era is most known for its mourning pieces. Beautifully made pieces of jewelry that are made to commemorate a loved one. Typically made to display a lock of hair, a piece of ribbon, fabric or even a portrait. These mourning pieces were held dear, and the perfect way to preserve memories. Unfortunately, Georgian jewelry like the mourning pieces are harder and harder to come by. This era is just the start of the progress made jewelry manufacturing. Encouraging advances to continue through the decades.