Diamonds have appeared in jewelry for centuries. They have only been synonymous with wedding rings for decades. However, there have been several eras that have significantly influenced the use and history of diamonds. These factors are primarily noticeable in regards to style and setting. Additionally, the cut has even varied over time. This is largely a result of hand-cut gems versus today’s laser cut ones.
This post is the first in a two-part series looking at some of the major diamond eras and some of their distinctive features.
A History of Diamonds from 1714-1910
Georgian | 1714-1837
The Georgian era was named after King George I, II and III of England. Since jewelry from this period was extravagant, it was primarily worn by royals and wealthy alike. It was handcrafted as well. Because of the individual craftsmanship, jewelry styles varied. The rose and old mine cut were particularly popular. The pavilion commonly was encased in closed-back setting. Foil use was another common feature.
Victorian | 1837-1901
As the style suggests, the Victorian era was named for and influenced by Queen Victoria. During her reign, jewelry became more widely worn. The middle class now owned gems and jewelry of value with greater accessibility. While Queen Victoria loved jewelry and heavily shaped the styles worn, jewelry from the Victorian era is quite varied. While her husband Prince Albert was alive, the designs were soft and romantic, but after his passing dark stones became popular and the jewelry took on a darker tone. Eventually, jewelry returned to a happier and more whimsical style after Queen Victoria came out of mourning. This time period also saw gold grow more popular than silver, and the discovery of diamonds in South Africa.
Art Nouveau | 1890-1910
This brief era saw a shift from gem-focused rings and jewelry, to more of an attention to the setting surrounding the diamond or gem. Curves and soft colors were a part of these designs. Along with this shift in design came a desire to wear jewelry in everyday use. This era overlapped both the Victorian and Edwardian periods.