We have talked about many types of jewels in the past. We made references to classical pieces, modern jewels, statement accessories and today it’s time we talked about antique jewelry. It might come as a surprise, but a lot of people mix antique jewels with modern ones and there are even more people who do not truly understand the value of such pieces. This is why we made it our priority to lay out everything you need to know about antiques. You will actually be able to make the difference between these types of jewels and others while also understanding how truly valuable these accessories are. On top of everything, you will be able to let people know if they are mistaking their precious antiques for something of less importance.
First things first, you might be interested in finding out that antique jewelry could be found even in your house. That’s right, if you find yourself in the possession of any kind of old jewel that was given to you by your grandmother, that might as well be an antique. The main criteria for a jewel to become one such piece is to have passed the age of 100 years old. This means that that jewel has witnessed some historical events and one does not only pride themselves with its beauty, but with the raw value that time has offered it. But you should also remember that antiques are not any kind of jewel. In most of the cases, you will be able to notice that there is great craftsmanship behind the final jewel, often adding very previous gemstones and even one of a kind features that make it appealing to the eye for generations to come. They are not mistakenly worn throughout the years because the artisan who sets out to produce such pieces knows from the beginning that they are supposed to last a lifetime. Nonetheless, there are some of those jewels which do not look fabulous at first sight, but they make it through the century because of how they are treated and viewed by their owners.
Function and Used Materials
Antique jewels have the same functions any other jewel has, only that the added time simply adds more value to them. We must never forget that jewels are just objects. While they have a lot of beauty-related connotations and are often accompanied by some sort of philosophy, jewels simply adorn our bodies and give others some mystery to think about. They have a few functions that they need to meet such as making their owner shiny in some special way; they also need to allow the wearer to blend in while making them so impossible not to notice and they obviously need to make one comfortable and confident. Antiques exude that specific vintage air, so it is paramount that they be used for special events or customs. There are people who decide to wear an antique every day, but there are many voices who claim that this sort of behavior robs the jewel of its actual value.
As usual, we believe that the way you decide to wear your antique, no matter what it is, is entirely up to you. The jewel does not necessarily need to be precious for others. It needs to be precious for you. When it comes to materials, you might think about the usual: jewels need metals and gemstones, right? That is a correct answer, but it is not by all means complete. You can find any type of metal in an antique jewels: precious metals (silver, gold, platinum), non-precious metals (aluminum, copper or iron) and even combinations of these metals. When it comes the gemstones, the same rules apply. Precious stones such as diamonds, sapphires or rubies are the most sought after, but semi-precious stones are also something that you should also look after.
Some people would be more than pleased to have a 100 year jewel adorned with aquamarine, tourmaline or topaz. And if you are really looking for old school classics there is a chance that you might also find pyrite (mostly known as fool’s gold) or marcasite. Interestingly enough, some of these pieces can come with super high values. And that is not because that they are more precious than precious stones, but because knowing that they were used in the way they were used back in the days make them a subject of wonder.
The Display of Status and Identity
Needless to say, the jewels that were worn in past times functioned as indicators of social status and the values that people believed in. In general, people wear jewels so that they can demonstrate that they are following a unique trend, that they belong to certain clubs or groups and that they have their own way of thinking and values that they look up to. Some jewels are also used for specific events that are most likely not going to happen in the following years. The passing of a comet, coronations and weddings are such examples. This is why antique jewelry is a witness of history in the first place. These accessories can also indicate the wearer’s faith, the region where they were born, their birth month, their Zodiac sign, whether they are rich or poor, engaged, married and even if they mourn the loss of their loved ones. As you can see, you can find a lot about someone just by looking at what jewels they are wearing.
Other Interesting Facts
Antique jewel designs have a rather interesting history. In the beginning, it was royalty who dictated fashion trends, jewelry included. The majority followed these unwritten rules mostly until the 20th century, when the rich commissioners and the power of the monarchy began to fade. This turn gave some big names, that we see nowadays, a great historical advantage. Even though the previously mentioned systems fell, brands such as Cartier, Tiffany’s and Boucheron are still remembered to this day. They are luxurious, often priding themselves with the best jewels on the market and they are well known throughout the world and appreciated because they are associated with royalty and high class. The council of Rome accidentally aided the fall of the art of silversmiths back in 1960, declaring it of no greater importance anymore. Amongst other important factors, this lead to the categorization of styles. This not only acknowledges what jewels come from which period, but they also estimate their value appropriately.
The oldest jewels are the pre-Victorian ones, which are extremely rare but, given the fact that we like in the UK, are still most likely prone to finding. Other countries in which pre-Victorian jewels can be found are France and Spain, for instance. They are quite valued there as well, but it is very likely that there are many jewels in the world whose value is unrecognized and plenty of others which might be lost to time. Victorian jewels are well known for being made during Queen Victoria’s reign. They are mostly golden brooches and bracelets adorned with enamel. Then there is the Art Nouveau style, which was born out of the need for fashion revolution. Mass produced goods were no longer able to satisfy the people’s needs. Art Nouveau is, more or less, a natural style. Curves, floral shapes, dragons and even female shapes were widely appreciated.
You might have also heard about Edwardian jewels. These were very popular, but for a short while. The style was centered on jewels and decorations. Tiaras are the perfect antiques from this period. Then there is Art Deco, which was a revolt against the Art Nouveau style. Art Deco was quite stale when it first appeared, but it rose to its expectations in the 60s and 70s. It was characterized by geometric shapes, straight lines and colors that were quite bold for that period.
The last style is Retro. Floral shapes are also very present within this style, but what makes it special are pink gold designs, ribbons and colored gemstones. Retro jewels are the most common antiques that you can find nowadays. Now that we have discussed all major aspects of antique jewels, we are going to do our short sum-up so you can easily find the information you need down here. First of all, the main criteria for a jewel to be antique is to have passed the 100 year milestone. This means that it has seen its fair share of events and emotions and it is more valuable because of the story that it carries.
Even though its value as an object grows over the years, the person wearing it is still in the spotlight. That jewel might mean the world to them Because royalty used to dictate fashion back in the day, some super brands are now valued because they remind people of those periods. After the Council of Rome indirectly helped the fall of the art of silversmiths, jewels were categorized based on the periods they were made in. Thus, they range from the pre-Victorian era to the Retro style that you might be aware of today.