The Georgian period consisted almost entirely of designs from nature with a fine sense of color and form encompassing flowers, leaves, insects, birds, feathers and ribbons. Pieces were delicate and light in appearance; and many were en trembulant. Sections of a pin were attached to fine wires or springs so that they
would tremble or move when the wearer moved. Pieces were
entirely handmade and, thus, were individualistic in
ANTIQUE GEORGIAN CORAL LABRADOR RETRIEVER DOG STICK PIN
Many pieces that were worn as neck pieces could
be taken apart and worn as brooches or possibly attached
to earrings making them quite decorative. These were known as ear pendants.
ANTIQUE GEORGIAN 18K GOLD CORAL LAVALIERE NECKLACE
There was no mass production of jewelry at this time. Fine pieces were handed down from generation to generation.
During the mid-Georgian period,the small, but prosperous, middle class developed the need for secondary jewelry or imitation jewelry. Therefore, paste (glass) or rhinestones were substituted for natural stones, silver was widely used and pinchback was substituted forgold.
Pinchback was a metal developed by Christopher Pinchback in 1732 to take the place of gold because of its gold-like appearance. It was made of 83% copper and 17% zinc. Much of what is called pinchback today is simply old gold-filled material.
This and similar metals were used for many years and are still available today in some markets, although in different proportions and with additional metals.
In the second half of the 18th century, engraved gemstones and intaglios became popular. White gold was not used during this period because its development wasn’t until 1912.
The beginning of the 19th century saw no real change in jewelry styles. The French influence was still predominant. Nevertheless, the classic simplicity of Greek dress and style influenced jewelry in motifs of mythological subjects, scrolls, foliage, and festoons. Many chains would have a fine delicate hand or two hands clasping to form the catch.
Steel jewelry became the rage for all classes of people. Iron jewelry, better known as Berlin iron jewelry, came into vogue due to the Napoleonic wars. Iron jewelry was made from wax carvings pressed into fine sand and the impression filled with molten iron.
The wealthy were asked to donate their jewels to the war effort and, in return, were given cast-iron jewels inscribed with “Gold gab ich für Eisen”, which means “I gave gold for iron”, giving the wearer a sense of patriotism.
A new filigree style called cannetille work emerged. It’s name was derived from a type of embroidery. It was made with fine wire and small beads. Repoussè work, English Wedgwood, mosaics, pseudoclassical cameos and the “ear of wheat” motifs became popular.
ANTIQUE GEORGIAN GOLD REBECCA CAMEO BROOCH
During this period, pavé setting reached the height of popularity, not to be exceeded until the 1930’s in the US. The general characteristics of this period were imagination, delicate use of colored stones, and an aesthetically pleasing and light-hearted approach to jewelry making.