|Georgian set of Pink Topaz. From the book “Georgian Jewellery 1714-1830”|
Georgian ladies wore necklaces, earrings, and brooches, but also shoe buckles, jeweled buttons, and chatelaines! Not always all at once of course, and sometimes for day jewelry was kept understated or none was worn at all. Ladies could also wear silk ribbons as necklaces when they felt real bling would be too showy, or was too far out of their price range. The first real costume jewelry began in the Georgian era, with "paste" aka glass gems set into less precious metals copying the look of finer jewels.
Georgian jewelry was often made in sets called parures, with matching and interchangeable pieces. Whether made of sparkling amethysts, gold and diamonds, or colorless glass, the charm of Georgian jewelry remains.
|Germany, 1730-1760, Marcasites, enamel and silver V&A|
|France, 1760, Opaline and colourless pastes set in silver openwork V&A|
"This necklace would have fitted closely around the neck like a choker. Very sophisticated imitation jewellery was made in Europe in the 18th century, and it was sold by many of the leading jewellers. Before Australian opals became accessible, the opal was a rare stone. Here its shimmering beauty was achieved by setting a pink foil beneath a milky blue glass."
While royalty may have jewelry made of diamonds, lesser mortals made due with glass!
|England, 1760-1780, Silver, garnet V&A|
|France, 1740-1750, Opaline, pastes, faceted, set in silver V&A|
|England, 1790-1800, 15kt gold and rock crystal Ruby Lane|
|The back of the above parure, showing how the stones are set and backed in gold.|
|Portugal, 1750-1760, Chrysoberyls and silver V&A|
|18th century brooch, Mounted in silver with coloured foil backs Christies Auction House|
|Russia, 1760, Brilliant-cut diamonds set in silver V&A|
|Spain, 1750, Gold openwork set with table-cut emeralds V&A|
|England, 1760, Rock crystals and paste (glass) with foiled settings in silver V&A|
"This jewel would have decorated the front of a bodice from the neckline to just below the waist. It was known as a stomacher. The faceted rock crystal and glass stones have a foil set behind them to increase their sparkle. They are cut to resemble rose-cut diamonds. Very sophisticated imitation jewellery was made in Europe in the 18th century, and it was sold by many of the leading jewellers."
|18th century, Spanish, gold and emerald 1st Dibs Auctions|
|18th Century, Christies Auctions|
|18th century, Diamonds, Christies Auctions|
|18th century, miniature and coral brooch pin|
|Portrait miniature of Mrs. Russell, 1781 - John Smart (c. 1740 - 1811)|
Miniatures were very popular in the 18th century. Worn as jewelry set into in brooches, pendants, bracelets and more!
|18th century,England V&A|
Another popular trend in jewelry was the continuing fashion for mourning jewelry. Whether made with the hair of the deceased, ladies mourning in graveyards, or even with skull motifs, mourning jewelry was popular into the early 20th century.