Collecting Jewelry: GEORGIAN Period 1714-1837 | Jill Maurer

Collecting Jewelry: GEORGIAN Period 1714-1837 | Jill Maurer

Hhello there. My name is Jill Maurer, and I
am a jewelry designer. Today I’m talking about Georgian jewelry which spans
the period from 1714 to 1837. And it is named for King George the first through
King George the fourth, but it also includes the reign of William the fourth.
These are English kings, but the designs were affected by events going on in
Europe, particularly in Paris and in different parts of Europe. In looking at
estate jewelry, the Georgian period is usually the first that we start with.
It’s the first that we kind of call a period and talk about. The reason we
usually start talking about estate jewelry periods with the Georgian period
is that prior to this all of the jewelry is specifically for royalty. It was … you
had to be royalty to wear jewelry by law. At this point you still did too, but
people started to thumb their nose at it and wear jewelry. So there wasn’t really
a big civilian market for jewelry and there wasn’t a lot of jewelry, and most
of it is in the possession of different countries as crown jewels. During this
time what were the people looking like? What were they wearing? Picture big
wigs. you know Marie Antoinette, she had her big wig. The different Kings had huge
wigs. There were even cartoons done mocking their styles. So they had, the men
had huge wigs on. They had silk clothing that was colorful and tight. They had
heels, mostly red heels. They had gems on their – the buckles of their shoes. We tend
to think of jewelry, sometimes people tend to think of jewelry, as for women
but in this period more men than women wore jewelry. Jewelry was really more for
men, and the pieces were created for men. But as I always say jewelry is jewelry.
It’s not for a man or a woman, but at this time it’s important to know that
many more men were wearing jewelry than women. Everything was done by hand
meaning even when you got the gold, you had to hammer it out into sheets by hand.
Today we can order gold in in wires and sheets, in different formats. Not so then.
You got a hunk of gold, and you started hammering it out. That’s how this process
started. Around 1750, so during this time, the rolling mill was invented, and so
there’s a part of this period where they are able to roll out jewelry by machine
which saved a lot of a lot of time. But everything is handmade. It is it usually
has etching and carving and even
repousse all over it meaning that every every little piece of it has carving and design
around it. In the beginning of this period the style is more Baroque so
everything is very very symmetrical. It’s ornate and very symmetrical. In the later
part of this time period it can become a little more open and less symmetrical,
but it is all still done by hand. And there is a lot of etching and handwork
on it. Pieces of this time will not be stamped or marked. We weren’t doing
that then. Usually the gold was 18 karat or higher, but there shouldn’t be any
kind of stamp on it. And the gems were … oftentimes they were rose cut meaning
they’re flat on the bottom with a curved top and or just mine cut. They’re just
kind of cut right there at the mine following the stone. And they’ve got so
there was sort of wonky odd shapes. And during this time they usually have a
foil backing so a light light coating of metal behind them. And what that did is
it made the gem appear more bright and colorful by candlelight. Also up until
about 1750 the only gemstone you really should see
is diamonds. After 1750 you get some more color. Pearl appears, coral and also
shells. In addition to that rose cut you also do have cabs. So it’s again flat
bottom with a high polish on the top. Cabochon stones and also briolettes and
briolettes are … it’s cut all the way around. So if you picture like a
chandelier, and those crystal pieces hanging. That’s briolette. You wouldn’t
set it into metal. It just hangs on something. During this time bracelets
were made in pairs. It was it was the look of the day to wear the same
bracelet on both hands. Nowadays most of those have been split up. you don’t often
see them together. They were willed to different people, and they’re split up.
But in the time they would have worn a pair. There were a lot of fancy buckles
that went on shoes and different things. One of the one of the recurring motifs
is ribbons. There were cameos, and there was mourning jewelry as well. So mourning
jewelry, it is about mourning the of someone, and oftentimes what you’ll
see is a very fancy piece of gold with a beautiful stone and then the band, so
maybe a bracelet band, is all woven hair. It usually was from a hairbrush during
their life, you know, people would sort of save their hair. And some of these are
amazing. They have survived, and it is incredible how intricately woven these
pieces can be. Usually pieces were made in sets, and you did have convertible
jewelry. So you’d have maybe a big necklace. And that had a big pendant, but
that pendant could be worn as a brooch, and they would break apart a little bit.
You would have day and night earrings where you have … You can wear the earring
alone as a stud, or then take a piece and dangle it on there because oftentimes
you know people may just have this one set, and they would wear it in different
ways. Another interesting motif in this period was en tremblant, and that’s
French. I don’t know if I’m saying it right, but we would call it also trembler
jewelry. A trembler is where you have a component that moves. It’s sort of
wiggles. It’s on a little spring. So you might have a floral brooch where one or
more the flowers will move. Or maybe a flower where the stems have gems, and
they will move a little bit. And they would wear them either as a brooch, or
oftentimes there were a lot of fancy hair pieces. And you know sometimes we
look at them today and go, “How would you wear that? I don’t know even know what to
do with my hair”. Well they were putting it in a wig so it was much easier, but
they would have really decorative pieces. And then sometimes a little bit of it
would tremble. Georgian pieces are difficult to find today. They’re getting
very old of course. You know and so as time goes on pieces get lost or broken,
but they were also … a lot of them were melted down just to make something that
was more fashionable for the moment which is sad because these pieces are
beautiful. They’re interesting, and they really speak to the time. So I know this
is sort of random specific knowledge, but I do love Georgian jewelry. I love all
estate jewelry, and so I love looking at and talking about
Georgian jewelry. So let me know in the comments below. Do you like the Georgian
style, or is there another era that you like better? Please subscribe so we can
be sure and see each other again. Bye for now!


  1. Fascinating information. The only Georgian piece I own are a pair of earrings that are made of my ancestors hair. Looking at them as a little girl inspired me become a life long collector. Thank you for your research and time

  2. Brilliant video….. this Will be a excellent video to show to others so as to put history of jewellery into perspective… keep up the video a day

  3. Wow, this is so nice to know the history of the jewelry. Always Learn something from your video. Thank You for sharing with us. Br the way, I love your hair.❤️

  4. Great information as always. I love all jewellery but have been a collector of 1920/30's marquisette solid silver pieces. Hard to come by these days. I find the art deco pieces especially interesting.

  5. Another interesting topic! Me and sisters love fine jewelry and usually get them customized. I can’t believe they were initially made for men! Very intricate details in the jewelry during this time. Pretty. 💕 thanks for sharing this

  6. Cool detail about the foil backing on the gems! I’ve always wondered about that. Wow, woven hair! I had never heard of that. Very interesting information Jill.

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