Georgian Jewelry Part III. Post 97. Advice for buying Georgian Jewelry. Recognising Georgian Jewelry.
Here I will try to give some Advice for buying and recognizing Georgian Jewelry.
Let's start off by saying that whatever advice I give, someone will disagree with. Here is a cliché: ask two dealers their opinion on an antique jewel, and you get three answers. For advice on buying antique jewelry in general, see my post on the subject.
Some Signs of antique Georgian jewelry or, How do we know its Georgian?
Here is a list of typical Georgian features. It is far from exhaustive.
1. Lots of garnets, especially almandine garnets, agate, and paste were used in the jewels that we can expect to find.
#5978. Georgian garnate necklace.
2. Hearts, ribbons and bows are common features. Sometimes called 'top, bow, drop'.
3. Georgian earrings, typically close from back to front. It is said that with practice, it becomes easier to insert them than the 'right' way around.
4. Highly decorative, crudely cut stones, most often foiled at the back to enhance or create bright colors.
5. Carved pieces of ivory are particularly fine although fine work is not restricted to the Georgian era - it could be Victorian too.
6. Very long chains, called muff chains were popular. They make fabulous accessories today.
7. Cameos in parures (sets) became popular. Many sets were inspired by the archaeological diggings that took place at about this time. Medusas, muses, gods. Sometimes a real old Roman cameo might be set in a later mount, which can be confusing when we try to date the piece.
#6084. Cameo ring.
8. Micro mosaics are fairly easy to identify as Georgian: the workmanship is exquisitely more fine than that produced 100 years later.
9. Iron jewelry was a passing fad, but is valued for the marvelous workmanship and not the intrinsic value of the material.
10. Pique (tortoiseshell inlaid with silver and gold) began to be made at about this time and is usually easy to distinguish from later pique by the fineness of the work. Later pique is more geometric, which earlier more floral.
#4005. Pique hammer brooch.
11. Pearls were natural and today, worth a fortune.
12. Georgian jewelry often features painted ivory. Very fine and delicate work, often memorial and sometimes done in hair.
13. Stones are set in silver, often over a layer of gold. This was to show them off more beautifully in candlelight.
14. Closed backs especially early in the Georgian period.
15. Heavy Iberian pieces from the 18th century gave way to very finely worked thin gold in Spain, Portugal and France.
#5354. Napoleon bracelets.
16. In earlier pieces the gold was simply pulled up around a gem in order to hold it in place. Later colette settings got lower/cut down while much later prongs appeared to entirely liberate gems from metal.
17. Mourning Jewelry began to be worn at this time. Often black-enameled and with a sentimental depiction of some sort - painted , fashioned from hair or engraved, in memory of a deceased loved one.
18. Snakes were a popular theme and like mourning jewelry, deserve at least one whole post devoted entirely to the subject.