A quick search online for ‘vintage style jewellery’ will result in a myriad of different styles and images. The term is used so broadly it can be difficult to pin down its exact meaning when referring to the look and feel of a jewellery design. In this article we provide a guide to this genre of jewellery style with examples from Haywards bespoke archive.
The word vintage is most commonly associated with the wine making term used to denote an especially good year that a wine was produced. For jewellery, vintage refers broadly the fashionable styles of the early 20th Century. Vintage is occasionally used to describe second-hand jewellery which is old, but not officially classified as ‘antique’ (which is usually at least one hundred years old). When the words ‘vintage’ and ‘style’ are combined, it is typically describing new jewellery designed in homage to bygone eras.
The era that most inspires the vintage style is Edwardian, 1901 – 1915. The end of Queen Victoria’s reign had been somewhat conservative, but there had been what has become known as the Arts and Crafts movement, which inspired the Art Nouveau jewellery style. The Edwardian jewellers borrowed the focus on flowing lines and designing ‘one of kind’ pieces, but moved away from animals and the female form. Instead Edwardian jewellery featured patterns depicting scrolls, lattice shapes, wreaths, ribbons, bows and vines. Advances in jewellery making technology allowed jewellers to become ever more intricate and ornate with the patterns known as filigree and garlands.
This stunning ring designed by Haywards is a great example of a vintage style ring using Edwardian patterns and filigree.
Where Victorian jewellery had been bold and ostentatious, Edwardian styles were distinctive by their delicate and complex look. This was achievable by the more sophisticated cutting of diamonds and the development of tools to work platinum. Lace work of diamond settings, filigree patterns and fine milgrain finishing are hallmarks of the Vintage Style. The preeminence of Round Brilliant Cut diamonds had yet to materialise at this time and so large diamonds were usually cut to the most efficient (least lost) shapes. Pear, Emerald, Marquise and Oval (which are now known as Fancy Shapes) were the popular cuts of the time.
Contemporary bespoke vintage styles often only focus on one or two features of these signature characteristics; a fancy shape diamond, filigree patterns, small diamond accent and fine milgrain. The Edwardian period ushered in platinum jewellery, so a lot of the original pieces were in white metal, but there is no reason not to apply the vintage characteristics in yellow or rose gold jewellery. For more examples of vintage style jewellery visit Haywards Vintage page: http://haywards.com.hk/vintage-rings/
The exciting thing about designing a bespoke piece is the possibility of merging vintage design patterns and motifs with contemporary styles. Creating a piece that celebrates both old and new. Click here to get in touch with our designers and jewellers. Give us your ideas and wishes!