To know something about antique jewelry or antique jewellery one really has to dig into many (sometimes complex) factors. Some of these will be touched upon in future posts. Although we do not intend here to delve into matters in depth, the following paragraphs give a good idea on antique jewelry and what it’s all about. I may also go more in depth in future posts.
The word “antique” comes from the Latin word “antiquus”, meaning “old” and the word “jewellery” (British spelling) or “jewelry” (American spelling) is a derivation of the word “jewel”, which was anglicised from the Old French “jouel” some 800 years ago, in around the 13th century. The word “jouel” itself comes from the Latin word “jocale”, meaning “plaything”. Jewelry can be made out of almost every known material with the purpose to adorn nearly every part of the body.
Antique jewelry is jewelry that has reached an age of 100 years or more and that makes it a witness of a previous era in human history. It is in generally used for previously owned jewelry and for pieces of jewelry made in earlier periods and not necessarily pre-worn jewellery. It is not a dequalifying designation as many pieces of antique jewelry typically feature fine workmanship and high quality stones, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces.
Antique jewelry includes many decades or eras. Each era has many different designs. These eras include Georgian, Early Victorian, Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian, Arts and Crafts era, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro.