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Antique jewelry according to age
Biedermeier (or Biedermacher period) refers to the period of time not only important for jewelry design, which began around 1815 and ended around 1850. The term "Biedermeier" is based on a fictional character, the somewhat bourgeois bourgeois character of Gottlieb Biedermaier, who is characterized by a simple disposition.
One of the defining characteristics of the era was the increased retreat into private life, people were looking for happiness in the family. The focus was on a cozy living culture, cosiness, security, love & loyalty and also being related to nature and had an impact on the jewelry creations.
Jewelery was valued more as an ideal, sentimental treasure, and people also lived by a “less is more” - although of course economic aspects also played a role: a brooch with a few pearls, gold or silver in a floral design, a simple one with small ones A tiara decorated with rubies or a brooch or pendant in which, for example, curls of hair or portraits with the addition of resin, coral, plaster, foam gold or tombac were made into souvenirs.
The period of historicism, which began around 1850 and thus can be classified between Biedermeier and Art Nouveau, is characterized by the use of historical style patterns from classicism. Due to the coexistence of different styles, which is also called style pluralism, antique jewelry from the age of historicism lacks specific, therefore clearly attributable characteristics. Historicism stands for the connection of ancient forms and styles, often based on Greek, Roman and Etruscan motifs, from the Renaissance, the Baroque or the Rococo. If you could ask a jeweler from that time about his motives why no really new aspects were taken up in jewelry design, he might answer: "We lacked the orientation, so we resorted to the tried and tested."
To a certain extent, historicism represents the transition from classicism to the modern age, in which one acted curiously, eager to experiment and thus directed forward, which is reflected accordingly in jewelry design. From around 1890, a new design language was created here with Art Nouveau.
The Victorian era includes the eponymous, unusually long reign of Queen Victoria. While various styles such as historicism and art nouveau developed in Europe, today the term “Victorian Style” is used to describe everything in England, Scotland and Ireland with the exception of the so-called "Arts and Crafts Movement" in the period from 1837 to 1901 originated.
The Victorian era can be divided into three stylistic eras:
- Early Victorian (1837 to 1860), which is also known as the romantic period
- Mid-Victorian (1860-1885) also called the Grand Period
- Late Victorian (1885 to 1901), often referred to as the aesthetic period
The design, shape and materials of the pieces of jewelry created in the various phases are closely linked to the personal circumstances of Queen Victoria. Like her beloved husband Albert, she was a great lover of art and culture, and jewelry naturally played a central role in this. The romantic and optimistic mood can also be read from the respective jewelry. Bracelets decorated with engravings, medallions with loving inscriptions or portraits, brooches made of silver with semi-precious stones such as quartz or carnelian, as well as wonderfully shiny necklaces made of yellow gold, set with colored gemstones. Motifs from the Renaissance, the Middle Ages and nature are gladly adapted.
The death of Prince Albert in 1861 deeply affected Queen Victoria, and she withdrew from the public eye for about 20 years. She also wears only black for the rest of her life - mourning jewelry was therefore widespread. In general, the jewelry from this middle period appears "heavy", often set with dark stones made of onyx, amethyst, garnet or jett, a very popular material made from bituminous brown coal (pitch coal), which celebrated its premiere at the London World Fair in 1851.
At the same time, however, the middle Victorian era is due to the growing wealth of the population and the progressive mining of gemstones in the colonies such as India and especially South Africa. Imposing pieces of jewelry were created, and the enormous diamond finds also had an impact on supply and demand: diamonds became cheaper, larger sections of the population could afford corresponding jewelry creations.
In the last phase of the Victorian era, more simplicity in form and material prevailed, the French "Art nouveau" and the German Art Nouveau are unmistakable. Less jewelry was also worn. It should be simple - opals, moonstones and natural pearls were widespread. Popular motifs, for example brooches set with small diamonds, were stars, birds, insects or lizards.
Art Nouveau (also: Art Nouveau or Modern Style) refers to the style characterized by Neo-Impressionism, Japanese woodblock prints, and borrowings from nature and geometry, which began around 1890 and was replaced by the triumphal advance of Art Deco in the 20s of the previous century. At the same time, the Arts & Crafts movement developed in England, which was popular in the Anglo-American region, but received little attention on the continent. Today, both styles are sought after by collectors all over the world. The design focused on formal elements inspired by plant and figurative models. The dynamically curved, tendril-like line is therefore considered a fundamental element of Art Nouveau.
In contrast to Art Nouveau, the Art Déco, which was created in connection with the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925 and derived from the French art décoratif (decorative art), lacks a clear stylistic feature. Rather, aspects such as elegance, clear and straight lines, precious materials (e.g. gold, bronze, silver or ivory) as well as contrast and intensity of the colors are in the foreground.
In principle, the Art Deco is actually not a style, but stands for the attitude towards life of the bourgeoisie of the 1920s, which was characterized by a widespread urge for pomp, sophisticated living style and almost excessive entertainment.
Art deco drew its influences and suggestions on form and design from many directions. This includes the clear, geometric forms of classical modernism, the best-known representatives of which include the Bauhaus and the Dutch De Stijl, as well as influences from African, ancient Egyptian or Chinese art.
Antique jewelry from the Art Deco era captivates with exoticism, a daring form and design language, gemstones in white gold or platinum and often bright colors. Or in other words: antique jewelry with more than a touch of extravagance and luxury.
The term classic modernism describes the variety of different, often heterogeneous styles from around 1930. In the war years or during the Great Depression in the 1930s, precious materials such as gold and platinum were a scarce commodity, which also had an impact on jewelry design . Multi-purpose jewelry enjoyed great popularity, and semi-precious stones were also increasingly used by jewelers due to the lack of diamonds and diamonds.
The glamor style of the American society of the 1940s, which we also encounter in many Hollywood classics, could be described as follows: relatively little material tends to create massive but glamorous pieces of jewelry. For example, pendants, chains, brooches or rings are rather large-format, today we would perhaps use the term "showy".
From the 1950s to the 1960s, the formal language of Art Deco of the 1920s was partially taken up again, and mixed with the then current formal language of architecture. Pieces of jewelery were created in the so-called brutalism, later in modern op art. Shapes inspired by nature, such as flower blossoms, conch shells or ferns and colors, are also reflected in the art of jewelery in the classical modern era to this day.