What Is Edwardian Jewelry?

Have you ever seen the labels “Edwardian,” “Art Deco,” or “Art Nouveau” on antique jewelry items and wondered what they mean?

These labels generally refer to the historical period in which a piece of jewelry was made, and the characteristic features of its design. 

For instance, the “Edwardian” era refers eponymously to Edward VII, who reigned as the British monarch from 1901-1910. He was known to have led a lavish lifestyle among wealthy aristocrats, and British high society responded to his rule in kind, engaging heavily in conspicuous consumption and adorning themselves with immaculate jewelry. The latter was designed with an eye to earlier, handcrafted designs, prevalent before the age of mass industrial production.

Although once considered cutting-edge, mass produced jewelry became devalued in the Edwardian period due to the perceived dryness and overly mechanical nature of its designs. In contrast, Edwardian jewelers chose to emphasize more “natural” stylistic features, such as the organic and rounded forms found in jewelry and other crafts from the eighteenth century.

Such features are present in a wide array of items at Bella Rosa Galleries, such as the beautiful opal necklace seen here.

Edwardian Opal Necklace

Edwardian Opal Necklace