18th & 19th Century
The 18th and 19th centuries cover some of the most important early periods in jewelry design, the Georgian and Victorian eras, named for Britain’s ruling monarchs. The Georgian period spans from about 1715 into the 1830s and is named after the four successive English kinds George I through IV. The Victorian period is named for Queen Victoria, who ruled Britain from 1837 to 1901. Together, the Georgian and Victorian periods represent some of the most important and creative periods in jewelry history. The Victorian era was one of prosperity, romanticism and sentimentality, themes that translated to the jewelry designs of the day. Victorian jewelry encompasses many different styles and aesthetics, from old mine diamonds collet-set in silver topped gold, to hand-chased gold and enamel jewels, to personal rings and lockets worn as symbols of mourning. Many notable revival movements began during the latter part of the 19th century, including Egyptian, Etruscan and Renaissance. Some of the most enduring jewelry motifs have their roots in the Victorian period, including hearts, serpents, stars, butterflies and bows.