Though the Edwardian Era was short, spanning from 1901 to 1910, it was known as the “Gilded Age” because of the delicate style and unique stone cuts. Overlapping with Art Nouveau and coming just before Art Deco, the Edwardian design is said to be the translation of lace into platinum and diamonds. Diamonds during the Edwardian period were cut to look as intricate and feminine as possible to complement clothing that was designed to accentuate a woman’s most attractive features.
Finding a True Vintage Ring
Antique jewelry is exceptionally popular, but finding genuine vintage pieces can be difficult. Modern replicas are available, but are certainly lacking in the rich history behind a true Edwardian piece. Estate sales and auctions are a good place to look for antique jewelry from this era. There are also a few prestigious stores online such as Fay Cullen that offer a dazzlingly array of true vintage pieces. Fay Cullen’s inventory changes rapidly to indicate the high demand for these sought after designs. Sign up for the preferred customer news letter to receive email information about estate lots and rare finds before they’re promoted to the general public.
How to Identify Edwardian Style
Edwardian style pieces share several characteristics which set them apart from other periods. When selecting a piece look for the following.
- Accent stones completely surrounding each surface of the ring, including the sides and the bands themselves.
- Romantic scrollwork such as flowers, birds, bows, hearts and vines woven into filigree patterns
- Elaborate patterns along the ring band and crown.
- Almost exclusive use of white gold, silver and platinum.
- Traditional simple diamond shapes such as round, or emerald cut designs.
- Prong settings, though a very few pieces incorporate bezel settings.
Diamonds and Colored Stones
During this period it was quite popular to accent rich, beautiful diamonds with deeply colored accent stones. Sapphires and rubies were popular, though often used in small quantity. Engagement rings incorporating a mixture of both colorless and colored stones were not only acceptable, but selected by those among the elite and high society.
Expect to Pay for Quality
Genuine Edwardian period pieces often incorporate large center stones, as was the style of the time. Also known for extensive and ornate detailing with additional stones, Edwardian jewelry usually carries a significant carat weight. A good piece under $6,000 would be hard to find, and prices range into the tens of thousands. Not only are you purchasing fine craftsmanship and a rare historical artifact, but you’re investing in heirloom-quality stones and metals that will only continue to increase in value.
Modern replicas, like the Tacori line, are beautiful but do not do justice to the originals. When shopping for a piece of jewelry that will spend a lifetime on your hand, look for a unique stone in a setting that captivates your wildest imagination and accentuates the Edwardian beauty inside you.