Endless talk of all things sparkly.

Education & Advice

Jewelry Time Periods: Art Deco Era

Photo courtesy of Lang Antiques A favorite decorative period of mine is the Art Deco Era, which sprang from the end of WWI. Bouncing back from war efforts, where women desperately had to take over men's jobs and jewelry production was put on hold, the Art Deco period is characterized by decadence. This period encompasses the 1920s-1930s, during which women gained the right to vote, 15 million new cars were registered and hit the roads (1920-1929), many stock market fortunes were made, all while people danced the Charleston. As you can tell, the jewelry reflected what was happening--especially fashion. The "flapper" style was all the rage. Women rebelled by wearing short dresses, red lipstick, and bobbed hair. Bracelets were piled on, both on the upper and lower arms. Earrings, particularly a dangle style, were popular because of the shorter hairstyles. As the economy and stock market fourished, Americans continued to spend frivolously, while borrowing heavily. As a result, the stock market crashed. The Great Depression loomed, and the lavish living of the roaring twenties had come to a dramatic halt. Some motifs and distinctive elements of this time period: geometric shapes- as influenced by Cubism white-on-white: platinum with diamonds, this time adding emeralds, sapphires or rubies as well coral + diamonds, turquoise + sapphires black enamel to contrast bright gemstone colors Egyptian motifs, scarab, sphinx & falcon, as influenced by King Tut's tomb discovery in 1923 Eastern influences- carved gemstones and jade automotive motifs- autos, planes, gazelles, arrows & panthers dress clips convertible sautoirs- long necklaces that could be taken apart forming a bracelet, choker & pendant cocktail watches- diamond encrusted watches Important People of the Time: Raymond Templier Frederic Desprès Jean Dunand Paul Brandt Gerald Sandoz Important Jewelry Houses of the Time: Cartier Tiffany & Co. Winston Van Cleef & Arpels Black Starr & Frost Shreve, Crump & Low Read More

Education & Advice

How to Decipher Gold Markings

Those of you who are interested in treasure hunting on your own might need to know what the gold hallmark stamps mean.  It may be confusing at first, but this quick guide will help you out.  The first essential you need to invest in is a jeweler's loupe--a 30 x 21 mm is what I use.  This will allow you to get an up-and-close look at the stones (to look for any chips or at the clarity) and the prongs (hopefully they are not worn).  Next, check out the hallmark.  The guide below will help you decipher what that stamp means: 375   =   9k 417   =   10k 583   =   14k  585   =   14k 750   =   18k 834   =   20k 875   =   21k 917   =   22k The 3-digit number hallmark is stamped on a piece of jewelry of European origin.  Above are the North American equivalents.  Some hallmarks that indicate that gold is not real, not pure are: 10kGF (meaning gold filled), 18k HGP or 18k HGE (meaning heavy gold plate/electroplate). Above are some of the regional markings for several European nations. Read More

Education & Advice

Jewelry Time Periods: Edwardian Period

King Edward VII took the throne, which began the Edwardian Period in 1901 and lasted until around 1915, around the start of the first World War.  During this time, fashion and opulence were the forefront of society.  Women were as feminine as possible, outfitted with delicate layers of feathers, bows, lace and silk.  Queen Alexandra was iconic.  She often wore many strands of pearls and other necklaces all layered together, as illustrated in the picture below.  Progress made in gem cutting made triangles, baguettes and trapeze shapes new and interesting.  This time in history marked England as a global, dominant force, with the rich living in extravagance.  The start of World War I made for a quick end to this lavish era of a carefree spirit.  Precious metals became scarce, while many people hid away their jewels in vaults or had to sell them.  Some motifs and distinctive elements of this time period: overuse of platinum; platinum and diamonds jewelry imitated lace; "lace translated into platinum and diamonds" milgraining négligée pendants- two drops of unequal length sautoir necklaces- long necklaces usually composed of pearls, with tassels on ends stars, ribbons, bows, garlands dog collar style choker necklaces jewels for hair Peridot was considered the "good luck stone" as popularized by King Edward bar pins Important People of the Time: Queen Alexandra Read More

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Education & Advice

Worldwide Ring Sizer

Travelingcan be the best time to pick up some great jewelry for your collection.  Don't be caught off guard when figuring out your ring size in countries like England, Japan, Germany & France.  Here is a handy chart that gives you USA equivalents.  Just print and go!  Happy Travels and Treasure Hunting! courtesy of Kabiri Read More

Education & Advice

Jewelry Time Periods: Art Nouveau Period

The Art Nouveau Period (1895-1915) was an uncontrived time, as it came about as an artistic revolt against all that was popular and commonplace of the 19th Century.  This time period did not last too long, but created many sought after collectibles, art, architecture and jewelry.  Focus was given to craftsmanship and creativity, since people felt things were becoming too industrial and imitative.   Ironically, the reason for its coming to be, became the time period's demise, after it became commercialized and cheaply copied. Some motifs and distinctive elements of this time period: natural subjects: flowers, insects, birds curving, asymmetrical lines and designs female visage or silhouette with long, flowing hair enameling & plique à jour (stained glass effect) butterflies, dragonflies, swans, reptiles, snakes/serpents, orchids, irises, creepy/nightmarish things- bats, owls, vultures opals, amber, horn, ivory were often used; even glass...diamonds were used sparingly Important People of the Time: René Lalique- French designer, worked for Cartier, Boucheron, created pieces for Samuel Bing's Paris shop Maison de I'Art Nouveau Georges Fouquet Read More

Education & Advice

Jewelry Time Periods: Victorian Era

The Victorian Era of jewelry, a time of romanticism, begins around 1835 and ends around 1890. Queen Victoria was of whom this entire era was named after--she was not only the ruler of all England at the time, but a highly looked upon trendsetter, admired by everyone. Her marriage and wedding to Albert portrays many attributes of the time--Victoria was presented with an engagement ring that featured a snake with an emerald-set head (birthstones rather than diamonds were used in engagment rings, and snakes were a symbol of eternal love). Her wedding dress featured a large sapphire and diamond brooch, which was given to her from Albert the day before their wedding. With the death of Albert some 20 years later, this tragic event influenced the world of jewelry. Having Queen Victoria constantly wearing black, black enameling became very popular as well as jet beads. Some motifs and distinctive elements of this time period: Hearts--jewelry was very sentimental anchors, snakes, crosses, birds, clasping hands, flowers Greek, Etruscan, Egyptian revival filigree work of gold--since gold was still limited lockets--which held photos or hair jet, black enameling--after Albert's death dragons, crescent moons, stars, butterflies, salamanders--late Victorian Era Important People of the Time: Carlo Giuliano Castellani Read More