What Are The Different Eras of Jewelry History?

What Are The Different Eras of Jewelry History?

There are seven separate eras in jewelry that span the years from the 1700s to the 1970s.  Although the different periods do overlap at times, the designs were all very different.  Here is a widely accepted breakdown of the different periods in jewelry designs along with some of the replicas created by Providence Vintage Jewelry over 25 years ago, making our pieces vintage replicas of the originals.

The periods discussed are

  • Georgian Era (1714 – 1837)
  • The Victorian Era (1837 – 1901)
  • Edwardian Era (1901 – 1915)
  • Art Nouveau (1890 – 1910)
  • Art Deco Era (1920 – 1945)
  • Retro Era (1939 – 1950)
  • Mid Century Era (1950 - 1970)



This era was one of the longest in history, over 120 Years. The reason it lasted longer than the other eras in history is because the styles just didn’t change all that much during these years. The pieces were yellow or genuine silver with foil backed diamonds, pearls, sapphires, rubies, topaz, and garnet. These days it is hard to find jewelry pieces of this era as most are in museums. Many have been lost throughout the years. If you do find a piece, it is quite expensive. For me, I will enjoy seeing these beautiful designs on the lovely ladies of popular shows, my favorite being Bridgerton on Netflix. Jewelry was made based on the time of day the lady would be wearing it.  There were pieces for day and more ornate pieces for evening dinners and dances.  

Genuine Cameos continued to be very popular at this time as they were in the 16th century. During that time, Cameos were used to commemorate people of importance. In 16th-century England, cameos were made with the head of Queen Elizabeth to celebrate the victory over the Spanish Armada. In the 18th and 19th centuries, cameos adorned belts, brooches, and bracelets.

After the war, cameos were made of plastic making them accessable to everyone which helped the cameo persist through the generations.
The most common depiction in cameos is the "anonymous woman" Another common motif is the biblical "Rebecca at the Wall" scene.

Here is a stunning brooch and earrings set from Marketsquarejewelers.com

Vintage replicas from Providence Vintage Jewelry


Victorian Jewelry Designs - Mid to Late 1800's Ended in 1901 with the Death of Queen Victoria. The romantic era is also known as the most influential era in vintage jewelry. Many of these pieces have somber characteristics. They often include seed pearls to represent tears.

Named after Queen Victoria, the Victorian era of jewelry (1837-1880) can be broken into three epochs:

 Romantic Period (1837-1860), 

 Grand Period (1861-1880) 

 Aesthetic Period (1880-1901).

Queen Victoria set the tone for this period after the death of her husband, Prince Albert. She mourned him for the rest of her life. "Mourning" designs of this period included black onyx and fossilized coal. Providence Jewelry designs influenced by this period are designed with black Swarovski crystals or black onyx stones.

Jewelry of this period is much easier to find. Gold and Silver remained the most popular metals. Jewel stones most popular during this time were garnets, turquoise, sapphires, amethyst, pearls and of course diamonds. You will find motifs of animals to be very popular, especially snakes in the earlier pieces. This was a great time for Victorians, urbanization was quickly separating Victorians from nature in their daily lives. It became very popular to bring nature into the home. At first, jewelry reflected colorful floral pieces but quickly transitioned to more naturalistic depictions of beautiful colored insects such as butterflies, dragonflies, bees, beetles, and even spiders and flies.

Ornate Victorian Brooch from antiqueanimaljewelry.com

Visit Providence Vintage Jewelry for vintage replicas of butterfly and bee jewelry.


This period follows the reign of King Edward VII., He was the last monarch to have a jewelry era named after him.

This jewelry period, also know as La Belle Epoque Era was the first-time platinum was introduced into the jewelry scene. Diamonds and pearls continued to be the most popular gems of the time. Jewelry of this time are ornate, intricate and depict flowers. In Edwardian jewelry you see ornate and intricate open work filigree designs. Curved lines and features like, scrolls and loops were often used.

Edwardian Era Platinum Engagement ring from newyorkestatejewelry.com

Vintage Replicas from Providence Vintage Jewelry Etsy Store 


This jewelry era timeframe overlaps with the Edwardian Era, yet the designs were so very different. Edwardian jewelry was full of beautiful details and delicate. Art Nouveau style really has no symmetry, it was inspired by the arts and crafts movement in England. This period marked the transition from Victorian to modern designs. Many pieces of the era were one of kind pieces. Pieces feature openwork with colorful gemstones and revolutionary materials such as copper, glass, and enamel. Garnets, opals, peridots were very popular during this time.

Bremen Band, Circa 1890 This eternity band features a floral scroll-motif design set with round cut natural rubies and single cut diamonds. The stones are set against a mottled background. From estatediamondjewelry.com

Vintage Replica from Providence Vintage Jewelry


During this period, white gold was introduced into the industry. White gold was invented to help combat the rising cost of platinum. Yellow gold had gone out of style and platinum was just so very expensive. Jewelry of this time was made in either white gold or platinum. Art Deco designs are geometric and symmetrical in style. With Art Deco designs you will see less free space and more industrial feel to the pieces. There is an emphasis on filigree work. Filigree is defined by small intricate cut-outs. This design was perfected in the late 1920’s with the use of die-cast machines. Today it is very difficult to replicate these designs as most jewelry pieces are made using wax molds.

Antique Art Deco Filigree Ring from topazery.com

Vintage replica from Providence Vintage Jewelry


The term Retro is typically given to items which are at least 20 years old but under 40 years old. So for this period I would say items made between 1983-2002.This being the case, it is an ever changing era. At the moment, we are seeing the Y2K movement in fashions and jewelry. For this reason I’ll skip this topic for another post.


Mid Century jewelry designs have a modern edge not seen in previous eras. Many designs are very sleek with larger colorful stones.

At this time, gone are the romantic intricate filigree clusters. These new Cocktail Rings are splashy and colorful in an array of shapes and sizes. Women now began wearing rings on fingers other thank the "ring finger" to display these statement rings. 

Beautiful Thomas Sabo Aquamarine from Acotisdiamonds.co.uk

Replica circa 1970 from Providence Vintage Jewelry

Jewelry is ever changing yet always beautiful.  With jewelry you can create your own "look" or "fashion statement".  Vintage or modern, enjoy your pieces of jewelry and keep searching for those unique items that make you happy!


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