Many shoppers gravitate towards antique jewellery when seeking unique pieces that complement their personal style. Recently, the resurgence of Victorian and Art Deco themes in modern fashion design has particularly bolstered sales of earrings from these periods. The differences between the two trends exist in their attempts to mimic the world around them. Knowing a little about each movement helps in ageing a pair of antique earrings as does understanding a bit about how to buy them.
The Basics of Art Deco Earring Design
The styles of the late 1920s and early 1930s embraced the simplicity of geometric shapes as building blocks for more complex designs. In this way, Art Deco jewellery fashion placed emphasis on the larger achievement of a piece in terms of look and construction instead of focusing on intricacy. Typically, jewellery designers created earrings from the boldly coloured, expensive stones that garnered the most popularity of the time period. These included rubies, sapphires, and emeralds as centrepieces, with surrounding pearls and diamonds meant to complement the main stone's beauty. Because of the affluence of the 1920s, manufacturers also generally constructed pieces from yellow or white gold and platinum. However, in the wake of the financial crisis that followed, many turned to materials like enamel and nylon that mimicked the luxury from the trend's beginnings.
Earrings from the Victorian Era
Before Art Deco's streamlined point of view, however, the ornate and intricacy of fashions of the Victorian time period dominated jewellery design. Aficionados of these pieces generally recognise three sub-eras between the Victorian years of 1837 to 1901. These include the Romantic, Grand, and Aesthetic Periods. Earrings from the first time span mimicked the adoration the country's rulers shared for one another. Romantic items feature enameled and bejewelled serpents, flowers, and hands. Other rarer pieces even contained human hair. The earrings of the Grand Period took a darker turn due to the mourning of Queen Victoria. Black, fossilised coal became the material of choice by many fashioning jewellery, along with dark oak, enamel, and onyx. Pieces trended towards ancient designs featuring Roman statues, leaves, and peacocks. In general, gold remained the most prominent choice for Victorian jewellery wearers. The metal dominated so much in fact, that manufacturers developed rolled gold and hollow designs to meet demand. The final phase of the Victorian Era, the Aesthetic Period, is characterised chiefly by simpler designs and smaller jewellery in general, often influenced by the Orient.
Buying Art Deco or Victorian Earrings
Now that you know a little about Art Deco and Victorian earring design, examine each item with confidence before buying. Read any information available regarding the pair of antique earrings' history, and ask questions about its construction. Watch for any damage like scratches on the surfaces of stones or bending of the metal. Often, jewels loosen over time and fall out of jewellery, so also inquire as to whether the owner repaired the piece in the past.