Antique and Estate jewelry is a window into our past. A good rule of thumb for using the terms “antique” and “estate:” “antique” is a piece 100 years or older, “estate” is a piece not being sold for the first time but that hasn’t quite reached its 100th birthday yet! Our store has jewelry from every decade for the last 250 years, representing two and a half centuries of style, taste, artistic expression and technology.
How, for instance, did a diamond cutter in the 17th century create a brilliant cut diamond without electricity? They did so with foot pedals, candlelight, superb craftsmanship and a lot of guts. Cameo carvers, working with a much softer material, were able to coax stunningly elegant designs out of shell striations working like Michelangelo by carving away everything that was not necessary.
We often wish we could sit down with a piece of fabulous antique jewelry and listen while it tells us all of its stories! While that would make for one amazing coffee date, let’s not forget that jewelry truly does speak. By carefully studying how, when and where a piece was made along with what it is made of, we are able to place that piece in history and have an excellent idea of whether it was likely worn by a young Victorian bride on her wedding day, an Edwardian Dowager in mourning, or a wild child flapper during a glittering night on the town in the 1920s.
Jewelry was made to be worn and loved. The few surviving pieces bear witness to passion, determination, and masterful art. Their stories resonate with us, filling us with nostalgia for a different time, making us smile with joy that we get to appreciate the present, and lighting up the eyes of future heiresses.