Edwardian Period

The Edwardian style was created between roughly 1890 and 1920. The Edwardian period is also referred to as the Belle Epoch; this was a reference to the elegant lifestyle of the King and Queen. It helped to establish an international high society in which fine jewellery was an essential part of the dress code. Although the period is heavily linked with the British Royal couple, the French high jewellery houses played a major part in influencing the designs of the time. Edwardian jewellery was extremely feminine – it very often exhibited a delicate and lacy appearance. A common theme that runs through Edwardian jewellery is the use of platinum on yellow gold; large diamonds were often old European cuts. Occasionally, high-quality coloured stones were used but diamonds and pearls were most in demand. From a jewellery standpoint the Edwardian period is probably best known for its copious use of filigree techniques. The jeweller layered fine threads of precious metals to the surface of the setting – the result was an enchanting lacy appearance. It complemented the attire of a fashionable lady of the time perfectly: silk, lace and feathers.

The three main components of Edwardian jewellery have to be platinum, diamonds and pearls. The gems were prized for their understated elegance; the platinum helped the gems reach their true potential. Being strong but at the same time lightweight, platinum allowed jewellers to create innovative new settings where far less metal was required to secure the stones than had been previously. The white on white combination of these materials was considered the height of sophistication.