Navigating your way Through the World of Estate Jewelry

Ask the Expert: Navigating your way Through the World of Estate Jewelry

How do I know if my piece is authentic or a reproduction?

The item would need to be examined under magnification by an expert to determine the type of craftsmanship, detailing style of mounting, cutting styles of gemstones as well as the combination used.

The condition, quality, and cut of gemstones along with the mounting will help make the determination. Reproduction pieces look similar but are usually set with modern cut diamonds or princess cut gemstones instead of French cut gemstones.

How to date a piece based on the period

The metal workmanship, use of gemstones & cutting style of the diamond, country of influence, imitation of jewelry, and popular themes are the main basis to determine the period.

Pieces signed by famous houses will bring a significant premium to an individual piece. The condition is paramount. Depending on where the piece is manufactured will also bring a premium. For example, if it is Cartier Paris, that will have a higher value than Cartier New York.

Georgian 1714-1830

Named for the four King Georges that ruled in Great Britain. Jewelry was encrusted with precious stones which were more important than metal.

Victorian 1837- 1900

Named for the Queen of Great Britain. Quantity & variety were the characteristics of this period where jewelry became mass-produced.

Art Nouveau 1890-1915

End of 19th century with a bold new approach to the arts. Fresh designs using gold & silver for flowing feminine figures, scrolls, stylized flowers & use of enamel were the most popular.

Edwardian 1900-1914

Named for Edward 7th King of England. Diamonds set in platinum with lacy, scalloped edges & open work designs along with gauze bows & honeycomb patterns were the new trend.

Art Deco 1920- 1935

End of WW1. The name came from the Paris exposition representing the style of decorative arts popular between wars. The jewelry represented an outgrowth of the art nouveau period with stylized floral motifs in vivid colors and strong geometrical patterns.

Retro 1935-1949

Great depression into WW2. Europe halted luxury production to help fund the war effort. America became an important market for jewelry influenced by Hollywood & American royalty.