The obsession of the aristocrats with colored gemstones is a trend that is stead and stark through the eras of history. The Victorian Era, the Art Deco period, the Belle Époque time frame, every age sees a distinctive use of colored gemstones in jewelry. Gemstones are deeply woven into the very fabric of jewelry making right from the start, and yet at the helm of a new epoch, we seem to have lost our taste in colors by our single-minded pursuit for achromatic diamonds. But, if you want to break free from this everlasting fad and be an individual with a taste of your own, then period jewels is what makes the obvious invitation for exploration.
Rubies, Emeralds and Sapphires
Red, green and blue, among others, predominated the ornaments all throughout history. Rubies the size of walnuts decorate the crowns of kings and queens in the bygone eras. The nobility also had a strange penchant for emeralds and blue sapphires. The stones made very frequent appearances in rings, bracelets, amulets, necklaces, brooches and crowns. Blue sapphire was another rare stone that jewelers often crafted jewelry with. However, what’s striking about the period ornaments is that neither designers, nor the buyers preferred ornaments inlaid with stones of a single color or type. Diversity was sought and celebrated.
Jewelry for All
This may not be known to all, but there are periods in history where wearable jewelry were not just the only kind. Acrostic jewelry made an important section in the collection which was gemstone engrafted letters and words. Cameos were plain souvenirs that were exchanged among friends, lovers, traders, families, etc. They were mostly made from lava, shells and corals. Chatelaines are waist chains, only worn over a belt to hook a purse, notebook, eyeglasses or any kind of accessory. Brooches of coat pins were worn by both men and women and were very popular among royalties and nobilities. Girandoles or cluster, drop earrings were a mark of elite and aristocrat women who often had impressions to make among young, prospective suitors in balls and masquerades. Hair jewelry is another popular novelty that was often exhibited by women of high class.
Cuts That Prevailed
The cuts of gemstones prevalent in those eras are interesting different from those of today. Rose cuts, cabochon and old mine cut are three of the list toppers. From hair ornaments to rings, gemstones inlaid in all ornaments were cut in these chief three styles.