The Georgian Period lasted well over a century spanning the reign of King George I, II, III, and IV. It was a defining era in jewellery making which saw jewellers becoming much more skilled and, while jewellery had always been handmade, it saw jewellers handcraft and create jewellery with much greater intricacy, detail, and artistry. As a result of the jewellery being handcrafted, the process in making the jewellery was extremely labour-intensive. However, it doesn’t come at a loss as Georgian jewellery has been celebrated for the highly detailed designs, beautiful gemstones, and artistic features produced.
Due to their age, genuine Georgian-era pieces are rare outside of museums. Throughout the centuries, many pieces have been lost or damaged, and jewellers were known to remount the jewellery to keep up with the changing trends or, take apart for the gemstones or metal. As a result, Georgian jewellery has become very rare, highly valued, and a huge collectable. Georgian Brooches and rings are among the most common original pieces still in existence today.
Georgian jewellery was almost always made with diamonds. However, this changed in 1750 when coloured gemstones made a return. At that point, sapphire, ruby, diamond, emerald, topaz, agate, pearl, amethyst, and garnet were frequently used in Georgian jewellery. One of the most recognizable features of Georgian Era jewellery is the shape of the stones used. They were often cut imperfectly because of the hardness of the stones and lack of machinery. Also, they were never cut to fit a specific piece of jewellery, so you’ll see in many Georgian pieces that they have different shapes and sizes of stones on a single piece.
Most Georgian jewellery was made of gold, though silver plate dipped in gold was also common. Unless stamped in later years, Georgian Jewellery is almost always without hallmarks and makers marks. This is because it was only in 1900’s that gold assaying and hallmarking started to be enforced.