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Named for Kings George I, II, III and IV of Great Britain, the Georgian period spans well over a century. Throughout that time, sartorial styles evolved from rococo to gothic to neoclassical. But one element was more or less a constant: plunging necklines. With all eyes on the décolletage, short necklaces were important. Rivieres draped clavicles with rows of regal gemstones and chokers wrapped throats with strands of pearls. To picture the era’s style, imagine the world of Jane Austen. Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet would have worn jewels like these.

At beginning of the Georgian period, diamond pieces were most popular, but sapphire, garnet, topaz and amethyst gained favor throughout the years. Stones were never cut specifically for a certain piece of jewelry, so a single design often contains different sizes, shapes and cuts. The gems were backed with foil to enhance their brilliance and color, and set in closed collets. Diamonds were thought to look best in white metal, but because platinum was too difficult to work with, they were set in silver. Gold was layered over the back of the silver to prevent tarnish from staining skin or clothing. If you own a piece of Georgian jewelry, consider yourself very lucky. Jewels from the era are exceptionally rare because many of them were taken apart or reworked to fit later styles.



At Fred Leighton we buy and sell vintage jewelry that has stood the test of time. Jewelry with beauty, story and style. Designs that remain as audacious now as ever. If you possess such jewels, we’d love to meet them.

Please contact us to arrange a consultation and discuss the possibilities.

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