The History of Antique Necklaces

From the first time women adorned themselves, necklaces have been a staple of fashion. From dainty chokers to ostentatious collars, the history of antique necklaces is steeped in awe-inspiring designs and artistry. A vintage or antique piece of jewelry is a time-capsule that tells the story of its owner and the journey it took to reach you.

While modern heirlooms are often made of materials that do not stand the test of time, classic and timeless pieces have long been treasured for their beauty and history. Jewelry is one of the few possessions that can be passed down from generation to generation with such ease, and there’s nothing like holding a necklace in your hands and envisioning its storied past.

Aside from its beauty, a piece of antique or Vintage Jewellery is also a valuable investment. The value of a piece is determined by a number of factors, but the most important factor is the purity of its metal and the quality of its craftsmanship. Gold is the most valuable precious metal and it was the jewellers of ancient times who began mixing it with other materials to increase its durability. Yellow and white gold are both pure but have different characteristics that affect their value. Yellow gold has a warm golden hue and is soft whereas white gold has a grey tint and is more durable.

In addition to its quality and rarity, the value of a vintage or antique necklace can be determined by the era in which it was made. The Georgian era (1714-1837) is particularly prized for its delicate handmade pieces that predate industrialization. Look for nature details and precious gemstones in Georgian jewelry.

The Art Nouveau period was characterized by its curvilinear lines and contrasting hues. This style of jewellery was incredibly popular, especially in Europe. Look for swirling motifs, carved floral and fruit motifs in your search for an antique necklace from this era.

In contrast to the flowing lines of the Art Nouveau era, the Deco period was influenced by new industrial machinery capabilities and introduced straight and angular shapes. It was common to find coloured gemstones in Deco jewelry, particularly amethyst and harlequin opal.

Necklaces of this era were also heavily influenced by the Persian empire, so you will see a lot of twisted chains and faceted beads. Look for antique paste or glass beads in a variety of colours, including violet, green and pink.

Another way to determine an antique necklace is by looking for hallmarks, or identifying marks, on the piece. These can include symbols indicating the purity of the gold, the manufacturer or designer’s mark, export marks indicating the country of origin and pictorial markings indicating other metals used in the piece. A trained jewelry expert can help you identify these hallmarks.

Whether you’re looking for an antique necklace to add to your collection or simply want to wear, you will be amazed by the stunning styles that are available from our vintage and estate jewellery specialists. From the Edwardian era, Georgian and Victorian periods to Art Deco and Victorian fringe necklaces, there is something for everyone in our jewellery store.

How to Identify Antique Necklaces

A well-curated collection of antique necklaces can add a sense of history to your wardrobe, while offering sentimental and monetary value. While buying new jewelry is fun, there’s something about a piece that was once owned by someone you know to carry a special place in their heart that can give it an added layer of meaning.

There are many different styles of vintage and antique necklaces, and learning the lingo can help you decipher what era it might come from. For example, a lavalier and a dog collar may have similar names but are very different. Identifying these differences will help you determine if a certain piece is of interest to you.

In addition to understanding eras, learning about the materials used in a necklace will also help you decide whether it’s an antique or not. Oftentimes, old-world pieces were made with more natural materials like bone and shell or rough crystals and carved ivory. This gives them a sense of age and artisanship that is missing from many modern pieces.

Another way to distinguish an antique piece from a modern one is to look for gold purity stamps. While most gold jewellery is stamped with ’14k’ or ‘585’ to indicate its purity, older jewelers sometimes used other metals like silver in their work. This was done because pure gold is very soft and could be easily damaged. This is why it’s important to only purchase authentic estate or vintage pieces from reputable sellers.


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