As you read last week, trying to come up with a definition of vintage took an entire post—and, even then, there was a lot of room for negotiation. This week, we’ll try to be a little more specific in talking about the different eras that comprise vintage and antique jewelry. Just to make it more complicated, those eras aren’t divided by easy decades—thirties, forties, etc.—but by descriptors like Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Retro. If you’re confused, don’t worry; we’re not, and you can find explanations at any pawn shop you visit in South Florida.

Here’s a quick overview up to the beginning of the twentieth century, where we’ll pick up next week. Jewelry included here is considered antique.

Late Georgian Jewelry (c. 1760-1837)

These light, small, and classic pieces often feature portraits and nature designs, and might include some gemstones.

Early Victorian, Romantic Jewelry (c. 1837-1850)

If you see gold filigree, it’s probably from this period, when it was often used to depict the flora and fauna designs that were popular at the time—and have become again. This is also when the locket began its reign as a sentimental favorite.

14k yellow gold lady diamond and opal ring

14k yellow gold lady diamond and opal ring

Mid-Victorian, Grand Jewelry (c. 1860-1880)

Designs following the death of Queen Victoria symbolized the mourning that was taking place (and, indeed, are called “mourning jewelry”), and are somber looking, austere pieces featuring dark stones like garnet and onyx. Concurrent with these designs, bold pieces began making appearances, along with Japanses themes.

Late Victorian, Aesthetic Jewelry (c. 1885-1900)

The rise of more feminine jewelry was marked by light gemstones and more delicate designs that included stars, crescents, even lace. Hatpins also became popular in this era.


Tiffany & Co. 18k yellow gold Elsa Peretti Starfish Necklace

After this, we’re moving into the more vintage eras. Until next week, enjoy shopping for jewelry in the Ft. Lauderdale area!