Jewelry from the Georgian era, defined as the period between 1714 and 1837, has an opulent and regal flair. During the Georgian era, named for Kings George I, II, and III of England, fine jewelry was worn almost exclusively by the wealthy. These were the years of the American and French Revolutions, but the world of Georgian jewelry might best be imagined as the England of Jane Austen. As her heroines participated in the elaborate courtship rituals of the time, they adorned themselves with stately, hand-crafted Georgian jewelry.
The Georgian era spanned more than a century, and for this reason its jewelry is as varied as it is sumptuous. An ornate and playful style known as Rococo was favored in the early part of the era, while Gothic and Neoclassical designs took precedence later on. Diamonds initially were the gemstone of choice, with the most prevalent cuts being the rose cut and old mine. Colored gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires, and rubies became more common beginning in the mid-1700s. A distinctive feature of early Georgian jewelry is the use of closed back settings where gemstones were mounted in a way that enclosed their entire pavilion, or bottom half. To help reflect light and adjust a gemstone’s coloring, foil was sometimes placed underneath the mounted stone.
Sadly, few pieces of Georgian jewelry have survived to the present. Never mass-produced and sometimes falling victim to jewelers who valued it mainly for its components, Georgian jewelry has become extremely rare and precious. Brooches and rings are the most common types of Georgian era jewelry still in existence. Earrings and necklaces remain available to a lesser extent.
Visit our antique ring gallery. Recycled jewelry from past eras offers an ethical and unique alternative for jewelry and engagement rings.