EDWARDIAN PERIOD (BELLE EPOQUE): (1901-1911)

This period is often an overlap of the Victorian era. The reign of King Edward III jewelry
reflected light: white, airy, elegant. It is as if with the death of his mother, an imaginary balloon
lifts everyone’s aesthetic spirits. Somberness is left behind and a lightness of design and
materials infuses jewelry. Platinum goes from being an accent to being the primary metal. The
new white metal is a mystery to the buyer and a challenge to the bench jeweler. Millegrain
settings and a combination of platinum over gold were often used. The transition from all gold
jewelry to gold-backed platinum jewelry to platinum is a matter of marketing and jeweler’s
skills. By the end of the Edwardian period, platinum is the metal of choice. Draped garland
ornaments and guilloche enamels were popular. European cut diamonds, tourmalines, amethyst
and garnets were primary stones of the period. The invention of synthetic ruby was developed in
1902 with synthetic sapphire following shortly thereafter in 1911.

**Note that labels designate styles and periods. Many styles over-lap during periods of time and
nothing precisely begins and ends as we might wish in our attempt to classify antique jewelry.
The above designations of Periods/Styles must be considered only a GUIDE to learn about
Antique Jewelry.

Reference Materials:

Compete Price Guide to Antique Jewelry-First Edition
Richard E. Gilbert and James H. Wolf

Antique Jewelry History Seminar N.A.J.A. Annual Conference
Karen Lorene

Thomas Elliott, G.J.G (GIA)
President
North American Gemological Laboratory, LLC
13400 NE 20th St
Suite 19
Bellevue, WA 98005
USA
425-637-0075 off
425-283-0449 fax