Georgian jewelry is where things really get interesting for me. Do you collect Georgian jewelry? If so, you are very lucky. It is a special period, spanning the reigns of 4 King Georges and over 100 years from 1714 to 1830. It includes the Regency period, when the Fourth George (as he was to become later) kept the throne warm for his Dad, George III, who was having mental issues.
Perhaps because this era coincided with Britain’s rise as a great colonial power, we tend to disregard the fact that in other countries, there were other versions of history in the making. At the very same time as Georg III was going nuts, there was a Louis in France and later Napoleon Bonaparte. The fashion of Napoleon and Josephine, called Empire style, ran almost concurrently with the Regency period in England. Interestingly, there are only about 20 years between the jewelry of Marie Antoinette and the clean linear, neo Classic style of the Empire era.
Most notable in this period, were powerful ‘new’ styles from the Iberian Peninsula. We often overlook the fact that prior to the 19th century, it was Spain and Portugal who led the colonial world. They conquered most of South America, pillaging gold and precious stones. Fashion of the day was set in the Iberian Peninsula. Fantastic, often enormous jewels with exquisite craftsmanship despite the technical limits of the period were created during this period. Girandole and Pendeloque earrings, so heavy that they had to be held up with ribbons, enormous rings are some of the fabulous jewels that were often donated to monasteries and some of which survive to this day.
I must admit that I find Georgian jewelry super-slick, superbly beautiful and utterly masterful in technique. Georgian jewelry was made before machines forced their way into the picture. The workmanship is superb. Design is delicious. Look at Georgian jewelry and marvel.