Jewelry History

Jewelry Styles: Georgian Period

Period: 1714-1837


  • motifs: feathers, crowns, leaves, flowers; cornucopia, cross, bow, crescent, ribbons
  • Stones: garnet, topaz, emerald, ruby, turquoise, translucent agates, carnelian, coral, amber, ivory, pearls
  • pinchbeck and tombak costume jewelry
  • techniques: enameling, portrait miniatures, stamping, beading
  • backs of the jewelry were closed to intensify the shine of the diamonds
  • paste rhinestones, opalescent glass, artificial pearls, porcelain, beads
  • 18-karat gold
  • pear cut

Spun thread

A twisted, spiral thread of gold or silver. It has been used since the beginning of the 19th century in jewelry, embroidery and decoration.

The Georgian period begins with the reign of King George I of England in 1714 and ends with the advent of Queen Victoria. Although the historical framework is clearly delineated by the reign of the Georgians, the Georgian style itself was adjacent to that of Louis XV and the Empire.

“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” of the French Republic did not immediately appeal to the English. Until the mid-18th century, the nobility tried to reclaim class boundaries. The laws specified what clothes and jewelry were allowed to be worn according to position and income.

After these restrictions were abolished, there was a huge demand for jewelry. The range became wider to meet the needs of people of different income. At this time, jewelry was created so much that they remain available to this day.

The occasion and time of day determined the nature of the jewelry. During the daytime, women wore a necklace or watch chain, a cameo or lace pin, rings, paired bracelets and earrings. An important element of daytime jewelry was the chatelaine.

Gentlemen did not appear in society without exquisite buckles, buttons, and watch chains. Their jewelry was not inferior to women’s and was decorated with precious stones, enamel, rhinestones.

Characteristic jewelry for the Georgian period:

Parures – sets of jewelry in the same style. Often included up to sixteen pieces. Parures with stones, diamonds or pearls were an obligatory part of a wealthy woman’s closet.

Transformer brooches were created with removable pendants and loops that turned them into a necklace.

Luxurious hairstyles were emphasized with appropriate jewelry: diadems, egrets, wreaths, hairpins, combs.

Popular neck ornaments: chokers, short necklaces-riviers – necklaces made of uniform or identical stones without long links for fastening.

Chatelets – functional jewelry in the form of chains with clips, pins or hooks – are in fashion. Necessary handy things were attached to them: watches, writing objects, scissors, glasses, etc. The accessory itself was fixed on the belt.

Such an accessory is considered the predecessor of purses and pockets, and was popular mainly among middle-class women.

Men also wore shawlens, but were limited to keys and watches.

It is worth noting that shatlenes are not an invention of the Georgian period. They are known already in the Middle Ages and Baroque epoch. But they became widespread and were used functionally in the 19th century. You can read about them in a separate article.

Ornaments did not turn from “Georgian” to “Victorian” as a result of the coronation of the new monarch. Elements and themes of Georgian jewelry continue to be used, and some are evolving. This is what happened with memorial and mourning decorations. They are considered a striking feature of the Victorian period, although they were created and worn in the 18th century.