ARTICLE - EDWARDIAN JEWELRY CHARACTERISTICS
WHAT ARE CHARACTERISTICS OF EDWARDIAN WEDDING RINGS?
Edwardian wedding rings are known for their luxurious design and extravagant materials used. The upper classes of England would enjoy following the sophisticated taste of King Edward VII. King Edward the VII would rule England from 1901 to 1910.
During the early 1900s, rings were so popular that several would be worn on each hand. Rings were created for the wealthier, leisure class. Typical rings would have a rich, expensive appearance, though a more understated look than previous or following jewelry periods. The reason why very few rings of this era exist in good condition is because later generations would wear them while cleaning house, doing sports activities or other physical tasks.
Edwardian wedding rings are delicate in nature, generally light weight, feminine and most frequently set using diamonds. Edwardian designs were often nature driven motifs such as flowers, vines, clovers or shamrocks. The French 1800s decorative influence would be seen in lightly flowing ribbon designs, bows, garlands and baskets of flowers. Hearts were also a popular way to reflect sentiment in Edwardian engagement rings. Efforts to match the appearance of the period’s fine embroidered or delicate white clothing would result in honeycomb patterns, scallop shapes or a fine symmetrical platinum ribbon of diamonds. The white diamond and white metal rings were created to match the white lace of this period. Filigree would be frequently used in pleated, fine cut openwork or twisted metal wire designs. Filigree would be handcrafted, so it was not uncommon to see filigree work that would be slightly unmatched from one side to the other. The millegrain setting would often be used to hold old wedding diamonds. Millegrain would be created by using a fine metal band to hold the diamond in place and adding an embellishment of small beads or “grains” of metal. Solitaire, diamond cluster rings and marquise shaped rings would be popular.
Rings would not be signed unless it came from one of a few top jewelry designers. Wedding rings in England and France would have metal content marks. Most wedding jewelry in the United States would not have metal contents stamped, as there was not a metal hallmark law passed until 1906. Today, many hallmarks have disappeared with wear.
Huge progress in gemstone cutting would be made during this period. However, very few diamonds cut during 1890 to 1910 would have symmetrical facets, even in the highest quality diamonds.
The brilliant cut, introduced in the early 1800s, would evolve into the Old Cut Diamond and the European Cut Diamond. At the end of the 1900s, the Old Mine Cut would be a popular cut. This cut would have a high crown, a square girdle with rounded corners, a smaller table and a large cutlet. By 1910, many diamonds were European Cut. European cut diamonds would now have rounder girdles and a reduction in the cutlet portion.
Pear shaped diamonds would be used and an introduction to baguette diamonds might be seen. Smaller diamonds would be cut into single cut or eight faceted diamonds.
Diamonds were cut to offer maximum light reflection under candlelight.
Platinum would be introduced and it would be used to create a light, lacy appearance to the mounting. Platinum was desirable as it flattered the appearance of diamonds. 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 setting to enhance the white appearance of the diamonds. Silver would be used to make diamonds appear white, however, it would be used as to not touch skin or clothing.
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.
Edwardian Wedding Jewelry Characteristics 1900 - 1910
Ten Two Three Estate Jewelry
By: Chris Cosby
All Rights Reserved.
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