Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to Recognize Edwardian Wedding Rings


Edwardian wedding rings are recognized by their rich, luxurious design and extravagant materials used. During his rule, King Edward VII would lead the fashion trends for the upper classes in the United Kingdom. King Edward VII would rule from 1901 to 1910.

Upper classes would wear rings on several fingers. Rings would be worn by the rich, leisure class. Wedding and engagement rings during this period would have an expensive look, though their appearance would be more understated that previous or past jewelry trends. Very few Edwardian Wedding Rings exist today because later generations would use the materials to construct other jewelry or wear them while cleaning house, doing sports activities or other physical tasks.

Key Attributes
Edwardian wedding rings are delicate in nature, generally light weight, very feminine and most frequently feature diamonds. Designs during this period were crafted to match the embroidered, white, lacy clothing that women were wearing. This resulted in honeycomb patterns, scallop shapes or a fine symmetrical platinum ribbon of diamonds. White diamond and white metal rings were created to match the white lace of this period. Designs were often nature driven motifs such as flowers, vines, clovers or shamrocks. The decorative French 1800s influence would be seen in light flowing ribbon designs, garlands, bows and flower bouquets. Hearts were crafted to reflect sentiment in Edwardian engagement rings. Edwardian Diamond Filigree wedding rings would be extremely popular. Metal filigree would be knife cut or hand pleated, fine cut openwork or twisted metal wire designs, often resulting in designs that were not exactly matched. - Unlike current computer designed rings. Bezel settings and fine millegrain would be used to enhance the beauty of the old wedding diamonds. Millegrain would be created by using a fine metal band to hold the diamond in place and enhancing the mounting with small beads or “grains” of metal. Amongst the wealthy, larger old-mine cut diamonds would be seen with smaller accent diamonds, diamond cluster rings and elliptical shaped rings would be popular.

Signed Rings
Only top wedding jewelry designers would have their trademarks on rings. French and English rings would usually have metal content marks, though many of these have worn away by now. In the US, most wedding jewelry would not be stamped because the metal hallmark law did not pass until 1906.

Diamond Cut
Diamond cutting equipment would advance greatly during this period. However, very few diamonds cut during 1890 to 1910. However, even the highest quality diamonds would not have symmetrical facets.

The Old Mine Cut would be a popular diamond cut. This diamond is recognized by having a high crown, a square girdle with rounded corners, a smaller table and a large cutlet. By 1910, many diamonds would become more rounded and a smaller cutlet portion., introducing the European Cut.

Pear and baguette diamond cuts would begin to appear. Smaller diamonds would be cut into single cut diamonds.

Diamonds were intentionally cut to offer the most light reflection under candlelight.

Metal Used
The enhancement of heating equipment would make platinum easier to use. Platinum would be used to create a light, lacy appearance to the mounting. Platinum was desirable as it flattered the appearance of diamonds and did not soil clothing as silver would have done. White gold would be attempted to be created as early as 1880, but would not be a viable metal for jewelry until approximately 1917. Yellow gold would be used with silver topping. The silver would make the diamonds appear whiter, however, it would be used to not touch skin or clothes.

Edwardian Wedding Rings designs would continue to be used after this period. During 1910 to 1925, there might be a visible combination of design and material with Art Deco Wedding Rings.

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