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Everything You Need to Know About Edwardian Jewellery

What is Edwardian Jewellery?

Edwardian jewellery was the last jewellery era to be named after the UK's reigning monarch. Named after King Edward VII, who reigned from 1901 to 1910, Edwardian jewellery is renowned for its elegance, intricate designs and use of precious materials. The Edwardian style extended into the early 1920s, a time of opulence and sophistication, reflecting high society's tastes and the technological advancements of the era.

Edwardian necklace

Edward was infamous for being a playboy and gambler before he became king. After his coronation, he surrounded himself with people of high social status and wealth, spending most of his time engaged in various social endeavours. Jewellery was an important part of the lifestyle cultivated by this extremely wealthy upper class.

The fin de siècle was a pivotal moment in fashion and jewellery history. Machine-made jewellery, once welcomed as an innovation, began to be rejected. Jewellery styles shifted from large and ostentatious to ethereal and delicate.

What was different about Edwardian jewellery?

After the death of Queen Victoria, who had reigned for over 60 years, Edward saw an opportunity to bring something more flirtatious to the royal court. He favoured lavish details, flirtatious frills, and playful extravagance, resulting in the shifting of hemlines and necklines and more romantic styles of dress. This shift provided a much needed respite from the somber fashion trends of the past 60 years, infusing a sense of joy and whimsy into wardrobes. It allowed jewellers to truly showcase their artistry, experimenting with light and texture to perfectly complement these newfound, romantic fashion trends.

Edwardian Jewellery Styles

Bows, lace and garlands were at the height of fashion during this time, a trend that extended into jewellery, allowing fine filigree to take precedence. Platinum became increasingly popular in Edwardian jewellery for its durability and strength. Jewellers were able to mount stones in minimalist settings, enabling the creation of complex, fluid designs. A large majority of Edwardian jewellery was crafted in platinum and studded with pale gemstones like diamonds, pearls, aquamarines, amethysts, and opals. It was very popular for jewels to appear bright and light. The increase in popularity and demand for diamonds led to unprecedented developments in stone-cutting technology, with the baguette, marquise, and emerald cuts all born within this period.

Edwardian Necklaces

As fashion evolved, necklines became more revealing, giving necklaces newfound importance after the conservative Victorian era. Styles of the Edwardian era included the popular colliers de chien (or "dog collars"), which could be made from a ribbon adorned with a brooch or gemstones, or could be a series of pearl strings attached together to form a choker. Long necklaces were equally popular, with pearl 'chains' worn full length, below the waistline.

Edwardian Bracelets

Bracelet styles were delicate and airy, featuring intricate swirling motifs and floral designs, typically worn solo. A popular trend included bracelets with elaborate front sections that gracefully tapered into refined chain links along the underside of the wrist.

Edwardian Rings

Edwardian era rings were dazzling, exquisite and elaborately designed, making them superb choices for engagement rings even today. Crafted primarily from platinum and adorned with an abundance of diamonds, these rings showcased the Edwardian era's preference for opulence. Fashionable and intricate techniques like filigree and millegrain were commonly employed, adding to their artistic allure. Edwardian rings are true masterpieces, best worn alone or paired with a simple wedding band for a touch of timeless elegance.

Explore Edwardian Jewellery at Banwells here.




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