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Classifying Your Jewelry

We all have our favorite pieces of jewelry. It could be a Rolex watch. It might be a vintage necklace. We also have those items that we rarely, if ever wear. If this is the case, and the item is not of sentimental value, why not take them to a jewelry buyer?
Yet, before you decide to do so, it is important that you have some idea of its value. To do so, it helps if you know how to classify it. While it is easy to do so for many items – they were bought last year or within 10 years, it is not always that simple. Below is a simple guide to consider.

Classifications of Jewelry

Jewelry tends to fall into what many term as Royal Periods of history. They fall into specific historic eras along the British Royal line. There are, as to be expected, exceptions to this rule, but generally, the earlier periods of most jewelry fall into certain periods given the names of former British royalty.

Georgian (1714-1837): This is a rare period coveted by any jewelry buyer. They are hand crafted but not to be confused with the Arts & Craft movement of the late 19th century. Nature plays a prominent role in the designs which utilize precious and semi-precious stones e.g. coral, diamonds, garnets and topaz.

Early Victorian (1837-1855)

This jewelry may also be referred to as “Romantic.” Nature designs continued to be popular, but the technique utilized gold etching executed in elaborate and very intricately designed filigree pattern. Brooches and lockets are standard pieces from this period.

Middle Victorian (1860-1880)

Jewelry from this period often reflects the tone of the times – mourning. Such pieces are darker and a jewelry buyer tends to see heavyset stone in such items that may consist of black jet, deep red garnets and onyx. Yet, there are also pieces that reflect the interest in Japanese design or exhibit bold and colorful designs.

Late Victorian (1885-1900)

This period is often dubbed as being “Aesthetic.” Hat pins were a popular item. They were bejeweled and encrusted with diamonds, peridots and sapphires.

Arts and Crafts 1894-1923

Simplicity and organic work marked this revolt against the effect of the Industrial Revolution. The international Arts and Crafts movement drew on the simple and elegant designs of the handcrafted styles of previous years. The stress was on uncut stones and intricate but simple pieces of jewelry.

Art Nouveau (1895-1910/15)

In jewelry, a buyer looks naturalistic designs. Graceful flower designs are common, as are those of insects, including dragonflies.

Edwardian (1901-1910)

The period is known for its classical style, elaborate and even almost rococo designs featuring expensive gemstones such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies.

Art Deco (1920-1935/40)

This is a period well known for its geometric shapes and designs. Motifs draw upon Oriental, African and Egyptian themes.

Retro 1945-1960

With Hollywood as its inspiration, jewelry pieces tend to be large and flashy.

If you do not know the era or classification into which your piece falls, a jewelry buyer such as T. N. Donnelly in Chicago can help. They are experts in the field and can help determine the age and worth of all your jewelry items.