Add a Touch of Glitz to Your Look With Vintage Earrings

Add a Touch of Glitz to Your Look With Vintage Earrings

Add a touch of glamour to your everyday look with a pair of Vintage earrings. From Art Deco diamond drop earrings to antique green jade and rose gold dangles, there are a variety of styles to choose from.

Many antique earrings have similar looks, so it is important to evaluate the stones, metal construction and type of back to determine a style’s age. To make this process easier, we have broken down a few different eras in the past.

Art Deco

After the intoxicating whirlwind of war and giant leaps of innovation that marked the end of World War I, the Art Deco era swept in with its cocktail sipping, fringe shaking flappers and its spectacular jewelry. The style privileged industrial design, non-Western artistic traditions and geometry over gems for their own sake.

Cool toned metals – silver, white gold and platinum – were favored over yellow. Platinum grew particularly popular after the discovery of the largest platinum deposit in northeast South Africa in 1924 as it was easier to manipulate and did not tarnish.

Rock crystal and jade were reintroduced to jewelry designs as jewelers explored Chinese culture. Geometric shapes and ancient Egyptian motifs – scarab beetles, lotus blossoms, pyramids and the eye of Horus – inspired new combinations of materials including lapis lazuli and cornelian.

Victorian

Earrings add the finishing touch to a woman’s look. A well-chosen pair can take a look from casual to dressy in an instant. This is especially true of Victorian earrings.

The middle to late Victorian period (from 1837 to 1901) was an energetic time of change. The Museum’s collection reflects the creative energy of this era.

Although earring popularity dropped in the 1860s due to hair styles covering the ears, they were back in fashion by 1900. The girandole style – three stones dangling from an upper section – was very popular at this time. Sculptures of natural subjects were also in demand – flowers, animals, birds and celestial objects. Ancient themes were incorporated as people were influenced by archaeological finds in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Edwardian

Named after King Edward VII who ruled from 1901 to 1910, the delicate and fluid designs of Edwardian jewelry evoke romance. Garlands, laurel wreaths, bow knots and tassels feature prominently in these jewels. The invention of the acetylene torch in 1903 enabled platinum to be heated at the temperature required to create finely crafted jewels resembling delicate lacework and intricate millegraining.

Iconic pieces include long strings of sautoirs, flimsy negligees that double as bracelets and the delicate strands of pearls that create a choker necklace. The Queen Alexandra’s penchant for French colliers de chiens “dog collar” plaque style necklaces also birthed a fashion trend.

Tiaras soared in popularity, a fashion statement that reinforced one’s social status. However, the era ended abruptly in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I, and all precious metals were redirected to the war effort.

Retro

Women and men have been decorating their earlobes with earrings for centuries. Earrings can be as dainty and cute as a pair of little bamboo earrings or as elegant as a dangling chandelier. They can be made from precious metals and genuine gemstones or, as in this example, from “paste” stones (a European term for rhinestones) set in base metals.

As the United States entered WWII, fine jewelry reflected patriotic themes. Bows, ribbons and sunburst designs were popular. Cartier’s Jeanne Toussaint used exotic flora and fauna to create pieces that were both luxurious and poignant. Pieces were also often convertible, with necklaces that converted into bracelets or brooches with hidden bails to convert to earrings.

Necklaces

Necklaces are an incredibly popular accessory, especially when it comes to vintage jewellery. These delicate pieces of jewelry draw attention to the collarbones and are a go-to for those seeking a classic yet on trend look. Choker necklaces are a common style that is worn tightly around the neck and can even add a gothic touch to your wardrobe.

Necklaces also come in a range of styles, from the intricate Art Nouveau motifs to the geometric designs that epitomized the 1920s and beyond. It is important to know the differences between these pieces of jewellery so that you can evaluate and date them correctly. Knowing these terms will also help you spot sellers who aren’t being truthful about their pieces. For example, if a seller claims that something is antique when it’s only 80 years old, this is a red flag to be aware of.

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